Behind the Meaning of John Prine’s “I Remember Everything”

Toward the end of his life, John Prine gifted the world one last stunning, introspective song, “I Remember Everything.” Prine has many songs in the spirit of reminiscing, but this one remains the most profound and touching–likely because of it proximity to his death in 2020. Revisit the meaning behind “I Remember Everything,” below.

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[RELATED: John Prine Died on This Day in 2020, But His Legacy of Joy Lives On]

Behind the Meaning of “I Remember Everything”

I’ve been down this road before, I remember every tree
Every single blade of grass, holds a special place for me
And I remember every town, every hotel room
Every song I ever sang on a guitar out of tune

Prine unveiled “I Remember Everything” over dinner to his closest friends and family.

Producer Dave Cobb recalled what it was like to hear the song in the room, “When you hear a new song from somebody, you’re always prepared to hear something that may not be as good as the last. But then he whips out that song and plays it, and just melted everyone at Thanksgiving … when he pulls out those songs, they just sound like songs you’ve always known. It just sounded like a classic Prine song in the best possible way.”

We have to agree with Cobb. There is something classic about this track, not just musically but sentimentally. The lyrics saw Prine looking back on the good moments in his life–the small things that add up to a greater existence.

I remember everything, things I can’t forget
The way you turned and smiled on me on the night that we first met
And I remember every night your ocean eyes of blue
I miss you in the morning light like roses miss the dew

In hindsight, the regrets of his life feel small and inconsequential. Got no future in my happiness, the regrets are very few / Sometimes a little tenderness was the best that I could do, he sang.

Like many of his songs, there is a comfort to be found in Prine’s “I Remember Everything.” He managed to inject a truthfulness into his songs that was both sobering and yet oddly reassuring.

I remember everything, things I can’t forget
Swimin’ pools of butterflies would slip right through the net
And I remember every night your ocean eyes of blue
I miss you in the morning light like roses miss the dew

Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

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