In 2020, the Recording Academy chose to honor seven artists with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the recognized artists was John Prine, a country/folk singer-songwriter who has been in the business for five decades.
After being discovered by Kris Kristofferson, Prine released his debut, self-titled album in 1971. That album contained a song he wrote titled “Angel from Montgomery.”
The song became beloved among other artists, and many cover versions followed. But it was a 1974 rendition by blues and rock artist Bonnie Raitt that put the track on the map.
Raitt’s version appeared on her album Streetlights. It was never released as a single, but soon became a fan-favorite song of hers. Today, it remains one of her signatures.
During an interview some years ago with Performing Songwriter Magazine, Raitt explained what “Angel from Montgomery” meant to her fans and why it had such strong staying power:
“I think ‘Angel from Montgomery’ probably has meant more to my fans and my body of work than any other song, and it will historically be considered one of the most important ones I’ve ever recorded. It’s just such a tender way of expressing that sentiment of longing – like ‘Hello In There’ – without being maudlin or obvious. It has all the different shadings of love and regret and longing. It’s a perfect expression from [a] wonderful genius.”
So it came as no surprise when Raitt was tapped to honor Prine’s receipt of the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2020 Grammys.
As expected, Raitt sang “Angel from Montgomery” in tribute to the man who wrote it.
Raitt delivered an acoustic rendition of the song. In doing so, she gave her voice the chance to shine and stand out, since the only sound accompanying her came from her acoustic guitar.
As of press time, the Grammys have not released a full video of Raitt’s tribute to Prine. But we did find a snippet of it to share with you here.
You can relive Raitt’s powerful Grammys salute to Prine by tuning in to the video below. We’re sure Prine was sincerely honored by her performance.