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Illegal Smile Chords
On The Acoustic

Illegal Smile Chords and Lyrics Page

Welcome into my Illegal Smile chords and lyrics page featuring this classic from John Prine. If you just need to scrape the lyrics, they are near the bottom of the page. I also have a free pdf downloadable sheet and check my demo below. There is a rhythm tip on this page as well. 

Illegal Smile Chords
Demo Lyrics & Pdf

This song hails from John Prine's debut album "John Prine" from 1971. This song isn't about smoking dope. John said he wrote the song about himself smiling at things that many people never smiled at while he was growing up.

But it happened to fit well with the hippie movement who sort of adopted the song and John never bothered to explain the true source of the song.

A little unusual to have two different patterns in a song from JP but he put two into this song. The first is a root down up root up down up while sing the faster verse and then changes to a root down down up root down down up in the chorus.

The Illegal Smile chords are:

  • C
  • G6
  • Am
  • F
  • G

There isn't any picking break in here either.


Illegal Smile Song
Free Illegal Smile Chords & Lyrics Sheet
- Buy Full Lesson

Illegal Smile  - John Prine Live With Todd Snider


Illegal Smile Lyrics

When I woke up this morning, things were lookin' bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down... and won
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized that I was havin' no fun
But fortunately I have the key to escape reality

And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun

Last time I checked my bankroll - It was gettin' thin
Sometimes it seems like the bottom - Is the only place I've been
I chased a rainbow down a one-way street - dead end
And all my friends turned out to be insurance - salesmen
But fortunately I have the key to escape reality

And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun

Well I sat down in my closet - with all my overalls
Tryin' to get away from - all the ears inside my walls
I dreamed the police heard everything I thought... what then?
Well I went to court and the judge's name was - Hoffman
Ah but fortunately - I have the key to escape reality

And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while
Won't you please tell the man I didn't kill anyone
No I'm just tryin' to have me some fun
Well done, hot dog bun, my sister's a nun

So at the end of a Todd Snider show in Nashville, John Prine shows up for his encore. How cool would that be.

A free Illegal Smile chords and lyrics sheet and some tips on strumming, a video demo a live version of John Prine should get you over the hump on this one. If you found this page helpful, feel free to share. 

Official John Prine Website

Acoustic Guitar Folk Music --- John Prine Chords
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