“Sam Stone”: Top Ten Saddest Song?

My mother-in-law and her husband had a grand old time at John Prine’s concert Saturday night at DC’s stately National Theatre.  The next morning we remarked on Prine’s “country outlaw” cred (as evidenced by the turnout of the biker-American community), and I thought to myself, it’s about time I put together a John Prine piece.

As it turns out, John Prine’s first 45 as an Atlantic recording artist would be “Sam Stone,” and what an interesting career move:  “Sam Stone” would go on to rank #8 in a Rolling Stone readers poll of “The 10 Saddest Songs of All Time.”

“Sam Stone”     John Prine     1971

Some controversy around the “Sam Stone” / “Blue Umbrella” single and whether this non-promo 45 was actually released in July, 1971 — so says this 45Cat contributor:

“While ‘Sam Stone’ was featured on Prines’ 1971 debut album, this promo single isn’t from that album.  As Spock would say, ‘logic dictates’ that ‘Sam Stone’ couldn’t have been released with ‘Blue Umbrella’ as the B-side, since it wasn’t released until 1973, on his Sweet Revenge album.  That puts its release post-Sweet Revenge, or at the very least just before it came out.  While I suppose ‘Blue Umbrella’ could come from 1971 in a demo or other early version, my guess is, not.”

“Blue Umbrella” – ahead of its time?

John Prine 45