Bill Murray recalls a story about John Prine, who died Tuesday


Geoff Edgers: Hey, Bill, where are you now?

Bill Murray: Oh, I’m in Charleston, hitting some golf balls at the driving range. I have to wear a mask and stay six feet apart, but I can do that.

It’s 82 degrees, and it’s a beautiful day.

It’s hard to imagine, right? I’m sorry, you tell me your story. I don’t mean to wallow.

Well, that’s all right. If you’re wallowing I’m not going to beat you up for that. But anyway, I just thought because someone sent me a message reminding me of the original story, I thought, well maybe that’s a sign I should tell you the story.

So, anyway. I had my heart broken. The only time in my life [I was] truly depressed, really, really, really depressed and I did not leave the house. I just stayed in the house, and finally I remembered something that Hunter S. Thompson said to me on a very long, long night — “Oh, we’re going to have to rely on John Prine for the sense of humor” — cause we were both deeply dark. And he put on a John Prine record and I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” Maybe he thinks that John Prine is a humorist, and I remembered that in the midst of this dark fog that I was in, and I went and found this John Prine record.

It was a CD that had 26 songs on it, I think, and I listened to it and I listened to it and I listened to it and finally I think it was Song 22. There’s a song called “Linda Goes to Mars.” And I remember reacting to it. I just was, ‘Huh.’ That was all. Just huh, like huh, that’s kind of funny. And that was it. That was it. That was the bottom. I had touched the bottom and it was over, and I was on my way back. But nothing, no person could make me smile, no person could make me glad in any way. I was a really, really unfortunate character for a pretty long time, and that song, that “Linda Goes to Mars” — that was the one that got me around. And it’s just after that I came to know him and really realize what a wonderful gift was given.

You know we do this thing when someone dear to us dies. We listen to them over and over and we think to ourselves, “Did we appreciate them enough when they were here?” What could we have done for John Prine other than tell him how much we loved him?

That last record of his was really a treasure, too. His final record was just, oh, my God.

That’s absolutely correct.

I was going to have me a vodka and ginger ale today, so that’s what I’ll be doing.

Maybe around 5 o’clock. We’ll raise it with John Prine.

Well, that’s pretty late in the day, but they don’t have clocks in heaven.



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