Oh Boy Records will release John Prine – The Oh Boy Singles, a special 7-inch box set, on November 24. Modeled precisely after Prine’s 1935 Wurlitzer Jukebox, the collection features the eight singles Prine released throughout his career on Oh Boy Records packaged in their original artwork as well as working lights that illuminate the jukebox, a booklet with a forward written by Jim Rooney, two “Handsome Johnny” jukebox coins, a vintage Oh Boy Records catalogue, and more.
One of Prine’s beloved possessions, the jukebox was a gift from his friend and fellow songwriter Steve Goodman as a thank you for co-writing Goodman’s first country hit, “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” after Prine refused to take credit or accept any royalties for writing the song.
Of the collection, Oh Boy Records’ Jody Whelan shares, “This collection took quite a bit of time and effort to put together, and perhaps some version of it could have come out a year or two earlier, but the guiding principle for us always was: ‘Would John have thought this was cool?’ So, after many revisions and additions we can finally say, ‘John would have thought this was cool (or at least Pretty Good).’”
The jukebox was donated to the permanent collection of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum this past weekend in conjunction with the second annual “You Got Gold: Celebrating the Songs of John Prine” event. The three-day celebration raised over $150,000 for the Hello In There Foundation and featured performances by renowned artists including Amanda Shires, BJ Barham, Devon Gilfillian, John Oates, Joy Oladokun, Katie Pruitt, Lukas Nelson, Rita Wilson, Rodney Crowell, Ruston Kelly, Susan Tedeschi and Tanya Tucker as well as special appearances by Walton Goggins and Steve Zahn. Established by the Prine family, the work of the Hello In There Foundation is inspired by John’s simple song title, “Hello In There.” The Foundation aims to identify and collaborate with individuals and communities where people are marginalized, discriminated against or, for any reason, are otherwise forgotten.
Benefiting organizations for the 2023 “You Got Gold” concerts include the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Porter’s Call, Renewal House and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Additionally, proceeds from the event’s CMA Theater show benefitted the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Words & Music” program, which is expected to reach more than 10,000 students through a songwriting curriculum that improves literacy and social-emotional learning. In addition to supporting the museum’s educational mission, the gift will honor the memory of Peter Cooper, who served as the museum’s senior director, producer and writer, and was also an award-winning music journalist, author, Grammy-nominated producer, recording musician, songwriter and father.
Regarded as one of the English language’s premier phrase-turners, Prine is a four-time Grammy-winner, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, a seven-time Americana Music Award-winner, a PEN New England Lyrics Award recipient and member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.