Chances are it’s been quite some time since you thought about British pop singer James Blunt. That’s totally fair. It’s been 14 years since he dropped his multi-platinum smash debut album Back To Bedlam, that featured the ubiquitous singles “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover” and though he’s released a steady stream of records since then, including one titled The Afterlove, which dropped last year, none have managed to reach the lofty heights of his earlier work. That being said, next time you see James Blunt in a crowded place on a subway, or wherever else, you might want to say thanks.
While many people are aware that Blunt served some time in the British Army, and was involved in the war in Kosovo in 1999 before starting a career in pop music, few are aware of how consequential his time in uniform was. In a recent profile piece in the New York Times about the relationship between Russia and the U.S. as of late, it was revealed that a war between the two countries might have broken out if not for Blunt refusing to heed orders.
From the piece, as noticed by Emily Gould on Twitter.
“Russia was angered by the NATO bombing of Bosnian Serb positions in 1995, by the American insistence that the Russians stop the sale of nuclear technology to Iran and especially by the 1999 NATO bombing — just a few weeks after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland finally joined the alliance — of Belgrade. That conflict almost expanded when a small contingent of Russian troops seized the Pristina airport in Kosovo. If a British officer named James Blunt had not refused to act on an order from Gen. Wesley Clark to clear the airport, things might have turned out a lot worse.”
You read that right, the guy who sang “You’re Beautiful” may have prevented the outbreak of World War III. Now, how about you go listen to The Afterlove a few times and boost the man’s streaming numbers as a sign of gratitude. It’s literally the least you could do.