View Full Version : John Prine's "Lake Marie" - true story?

03-29-2003, 11:49 AM
Finally got to see John Prine in concert! What a treat. On the way home from the show, my wife was asking just what exactly is the song "Lake Marie" about. My impression is that Prine is telling a story about how he met a former wife. But the last verse of the song paints a pretty graphic picture of a gruesome murder scene involving, I assume, the ex-wife.

Question #1, is this a true story? Was his (ex-?) wife horribly murdered? What happened?

Question #2, there were two bodies, who was the other person?

03-29-2003, 02:09 PM
Prineís first experience with the song came while talking to a crew member in Wisconsin after a show. The subject of the conversation turned to some local lakes. He told Prine of Lake Marie, which was an interesting tale. The lake was tangled with mystery, and this persuaded Prine to want to visit it. The crew member and Prine decided to travel toward Lake Marie, which was only about twenty-five minutes away. Later, John and his brother did a little investigative reporting. They ended up in a library, reading old stories about the lake. It turned out to have a sister lake, named Lake Elizabeth. The two lakes were named after two abandoned babies that were found by a tribe of Native Americans. Prine began to write the song, basing the first verse after the discovery of the babies. But after that, John went into some fictional story-telling about a marriage on the rocks, and a shadowy double murder that took place in the proximity of Lake Marie. "When I was done, it was exactly what I wanted. I guess the point of the song is that if the Indians hadnít named the lakes after a couple of white girls, they would still be peaceful waters."


03-29-2003, 02:38 PM
Cool, thanks. I had tried to google for some info but about all I was finding was the lyrics, no background on the story. The thing is, I've seen him perform this before on "Austin City Limits" and/or "Sessions at West 54th" and he seems to get very emotional when he plays it, so it almost does make it seem like there is some truth to it.

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