Shades of D.B. Cooper


“What’s really hurt the guy in terms of turning it into a PR coup, another D.B. Cooper, is his name’s so dull. Philip Johnson. Even I can’t remember it,” says Al Wells, who wrote a song about Johnson’s heist for a Jacksonville, Fla., radio station.

Twenty-six years ago, Cooper parachuted from the airliner he hijacked with exactly 1% of what Johnson stole. Cooper struck on Thanksgiving eve, dropping into a stormy night with his $200,000 ransom somewhere between Portland, Ore., and Seattle. He may have survived. He may not.

Wells figures that what Johnson’s heist lacks in flamboyance it makes up for in economic theory. He hears in it a deep rumble from the growing gap between America’s rich and poor.


Seven dollars an hour, that’s what Philip Johnson made

Driving a Wells Fargo truck, he handled millions every day

But you can’t be much of a player on 56 bucks a day

Seven dollars an hour, that’s what Philip Johnson made.

--”Seven Dollars an Hour,” by Al Wells (Fat Chance Music)