“When I Get to Heaven” by John Prine

In this song, John Prine is fantasizing about his afterlife in heaven. More specifically, he wrote it after undergoing a second cancer surgery, this time to his lung, and being placed under restrictions as a result. Thus in the chorus we see that his fantasy includes drinking some booze and smoking a ridiculously-long cigarette. But there are other notable aspects to his vision also. For instance, he looks forward to thanking God for the life he has been blessed with. He also intends to remain musically active in the spiritual realm. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for John Prine's When I Get to Heaven at Lyrics.org.

In the third verse, we are also made aware that he looks forward to linking up with dearly-departed family members. And overall he envisions heaven as one big shindig where he will finally be free from the shortcomings of the mortal coil.

So conclusively, it can be said John’s likely near-death experience of catching cancer caused him to acknowledge the eventual inevitability of his departure.  But in doing so, to some degree it can be said he actually looks forward to one day experiencing a more carefree existence in heaven.

Lyrics of "When I Get to Heaven"

Writing and Recording

Prine wrote “When I Get to Heaven”, and the track was produced by Dave Cobb.

When this track was recorded, there was actually a small party going on in background consisting of John’s family, friends and other onlookers.

Release Date of “When I Get to Heaven”

This song was released as part of John’s last studio album, “The Tree of Forgiveness”, on 13 April 2018. The label that put it out was one that he founded, Oh Boy Records.

John Prine’s Death

On the 7th of April, 2020, Pine passed away. He was 73 years old at the time of his passing.

1 Response

  1. Brad Salzwedel says:

    Wow, just wow!

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