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Local man's "Love Song" travels to music superstar
One Grand Island man's talent as a songwriter and singer brought him face to face with one of music's biggest superstars. NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg has his story as we spend "A Day in the Heartland."
John Henderson is the superintendent of Grand Island's Waste Water Treatment Plant. It's about as far as you can get from the bright lights of Las Vegas, where he used to live. That's also where he worked on his skills as a songwriter and singer.
About 7 years ago, he put 15 of his best songs together on a c.d. called "Highway of Love." He wants it to be his musical legacy.
"I think the reason I really made it was so I could leave that behind for my kids," said Henderson.
The first song, though, belongs to his wife Slyvia. She was — and still is — his inspiration.
"There is no wind here in the night. The moon's full. The stars are bright. Then you appear."
John wrote the song while taking a nighttime walk in the desert near his home outside Las Vegas.
"I went for a walk one night and it was just gorgeous. Great big full moon and it was just dead silent, no wind," Henderson said. "And I thought about my wife and how much I loved her."
That song that John wrote for his wife is called "Love Song" and it's on his c.d. Now he thought one of Las Vegas' top performers, Celine Dion, would also love the song. The trick, was trying to get her to hear it.
"How do we get ahold of Celine Dion? Her number isn't quite listed in the phone book," said Henderson. "So I decided, why not put a billboard with a 'Celine Dion, I've written a song for you. Please call,' and then put my number on it?"
So John spent a thousand dollars and bought the billboard near Celine's home. It got a lot of attention right from the start. The story of John's billboard was carried on radio and tv stations and in newspapers across the world.
"I got calls from Australia, New Zealand, England, all across the country and all over Europe. They would call at one or two in the morning and I would say, 'Yeah, o.k. I'll give you an interview,'" said Henderson.
Then, he got the only call that really mattered to him — from Celine Dion's husband and manager.
"He said, we saw your billboard. We would like you to come to one of our performances to our suite down below Ceasar's Palace. We'd like to play the song and we'd like you to be a guest at our performance," said Henderson.
John and his wife met with the singer and her husband for about a half–hour before one of her concerts. They played "Love Song" for them.
"She actually started singing to the song and whispering to her husband, nodding her head so I thought she liked it anyway," said Henderson.
It's been several years now, and there's been no phone call from Celine asking to record the song. John says that's ok, though. He has his own c.d. and he'll keep "Love Song" for his own love.
"Sometimes just singing a song for my wife is the highlight of my musical career, because she's ... I guess you would call her my biggest fan," Henderson said.
His song may never make the top of the charts, but it's number one in at least one heart.
John said he would like to someday record another c.d. He also enjoys singing with Grand Island's City Singers.
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