Another point of view
April 10, 2002
I applaud Barney Wykcoff in his letter to The Aspen Times for prying open a much-needed venting.
The emetic version of “The John Denver Story” viewed on TV awhile back, I’m sure left those of us who worked with and knew John intimately with a sad feeling in our hearts. There are just so many movies that can be made about a person’s life, and it’s a crime that more sensitivity and thought was not put into this version.
In reality, some of the richness in John’s life were friends like Tom Crum, who co-visioned and co-created Windstar. Tom was quite integral to stimulating John’s world view.
Joe Henry used to wrestle John to the ground in his influence of lyrics to some of John’s popular songs. Barney Wyckoff was a solid friend of John’s who was never afraid to look John in the eye and speak his truth.
Just for the record, John did not die harboring betrayal from Barney, as indicated from Hal Thau’s response. Barney was one of John’s most dynamic friends and they worked out their differences. It would be healing for Hal to take some responsibility in their apparent schism.
Roger Nichols engineered and produced five of John’s records. Had Hal Thau been on top of his managerial/accounting skills, Roger and others would never have had to go to court to endure the needless pain caused by filing suit. Despite the poor management, Roger and John always came out on top as friends.
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Malcolm MacDonald was responsible for a lot of John’s family healing and made it a priority for John to stay in communication with his children. Annie and the kids should be grateful for Malcolm in John’s life.
I personally have experienced John molting through a few transformations that few people know about, and the list can go on throughout John’s life of people who were truly there for him. The richness of the stream of untapped, untold and forgotten history of the essential John Denver still lies waiting to be heard.
Now Hal Thau has a new book and a Broadway play with total license of expression, creating new avenues of income heralding his friendship with John.
In most circumstances it wouldn’t bother me because I have accepted my non-entity role in the aftermath of John Denver. But speaking of friendship, I knew what John held sacred, and a good part of that sacredness was his family, his mother Erma and his brother Ron. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they were not part of the inheritance and they have suffered immensely.
Without Erma there would not have been John Denver. Without John Denver no songs of peace, and the world would have been a little more deprived than it is.
Hal Thau’s family continues to prosper, Annie and the kids are prospering, but John’s family is hanging out to dry. Where is the friendship?
It would be so healing if some of the money that is being made in the name of friendship were allotted to John’s mother and brother. Only then, Hal, would I believe that John saw you as his friend. Until then, you’re not walking your talk.
Ron H. Lemire