BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted October 12, 2004)
I was reading over a list of historic events that happened on this date, and was reminded that on October 12, 1997, John Denver died when his small, experimental plane crashed into Monterey Bay in California.
I’ve always enjoyed John Denver's music.
In fact, one of my daughters is named Darcy, taken from a beautiful song titled "Darcy Farrow" on a 1970's John Denver album. I was smitten with that name from the first time I heard it.
The reason I bring this up is because when John Denver comes to mind, I'm reminded of how he received a "snub" of painful proportions.
In January of 1985, to raise money to help end hunger in Africa, a group of American singers gathered and recorded a song called "We Are the World".
I'm sure you remember the song and video.... it was a huge success. Not only did it raise money and awareness for Africans, it won Grammys in 1985 for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Those participating were a Who's Who of America's popular singers: Harry Belafonte, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Hall & Oats, Dionne Warwick, Bette Midler, James Ingram, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Cyndi Lauper, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Lionel Richie and many others.
Even Dan Aykroyd was there!
But John Denver..... who probably put more effort into solving world hunger than any artist, ever..... wasn't asked to be there.
John called himself a "concerned citizen of the earth".
He was asked to serve on the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger.
He was one of the founders of The Hunger Project, an organization committed to the sustainable end of chronic hunger.
John Denver toured African countries devastated by drought and starvation as a representative of UNICEF. He performed benefit concerts for global hunger and environmental efforts, and was even awarded the Presidential "World Without Hunger" award.
Yet, astonishingly, he was not even invited to participate in that "We Are the World" campaign.
And from what I read, it was not an oversight. It was probably because the popularity and sales of his records had slipped during the 1980's.
In his 1994 autobiography "Take Me Home", John wrote, "It broke my heart not to be included...."
Today, I was just thinking, he should have been there.________________________________________________