Young John Denver Oral History
Organized by: Carl Franzen
Prestopino, Danoff, Conner
July 25, 2016
I’m Carl Franzen, author of On The Road, the song John Denver recorded on his Back Home Again album. I want you to help me go on the road again. This time to produce an oral history of Young John Denver.
I want you to help me travel to capture faces and voices of those who worked with John before he became a musical and cultural icon. Songwriters like Bill Danoff—Washington DC. Jim Conner—Alabama. Mike Williams—Ohio. And touring artists Noel Paul Stookey, Tom Paxton.
I’ll pack up my gear to meet with Chad Mitchell Trio members Mike Kobluk in Spokane, David Boise in Houston, backup musician Paul Prestopino in New Jersey. And remember Michael Johnson, the last member to join the trio? He's now a Minnesota boy, just like me.
I’ll set my camera in front of sideman, Denny Brooks, and New Christy Minstrels guru, Randy Sparks, both early mentors of John in Los Angeles. I also want to chronicle what close associates, Milt Okun and Hal Thau, have to say about their early days with John.
The oral history I collect will become part of the Young John Denver Collection, passionate, fun and classy pictures of John before he became a household name. The photography, plus memorbilia from concerts has its roots in St. Peter, Minnesota, the town where John first met, and later married, Annie Martell.
I love this idea, hearing unique voices from John days as an emerging artist. You'll be able to catch updates on the Young John Denver Facebook page throughout the collection process. And you'll be so proud when you see the final result. Watching it in Minnesota, or Aspen, you'll turn to your friends and say, "I made this happen.”
So, wanna give me a push? Maybe a mile or two?