Joan Baez Dedicates ‘Hello in There’ to John Prine
After the announcement of John Prine’s hospitalization due to COVID-19 on Sunday night, Joan Baez performed her classic cover of his song “Hello in There,” dedicating it to the singer-songwriter.
“I want to sing a song for John Prine — who is a friend and a fellow singer-songwriter — and his wife, Fiona,” Baez told the camera. “John is in critical condition on a ventilator from COVID-19, and his wife has also been tested positive. John, this song that I’ve sung of yours has been one of the most requested songs in my repertoire for over 40 years. So let me sing it to you and send along my best wishes and prayers.”
Wearing a black turtleneck in her kitchen, Baez sang the track, which she originally covered on her beloved 1975 album, Diamonds and Rust. “Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger/And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day,” she sings, strumming the acoustic guitar. “Old people just grow lonesome/Waiting for someone to say, ‘Hello in there, hello.'”
Prine was initially hospitalized on Thursday and intubated on Saturday evening. “This is hard news for us to share,” his family wrote on Twitter. “But so many of you have loved and supported John over the years, we wanted to let you know, and give you the chance to send out more of that love and support now. And know that we love you, and John loves you.”
Since wrapping up her 60-year career with a final show in 2019, Baez has been relatively quiet, enjoying retirement by painting and recently performing “Diamonds and Rust” onstage with Lana Del Rey. “I’ve never taken much time to do nothing, which I think is pretty important, especially at my age, and sort of contemplating what is coming,” she told Rolling Stone during her farewell tour. “In this culture, we spend most of our time trying to avoid it. I would like to have more of a Buddhist approach.”
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