Remembering George Dare, who helped us all have ‘Runnin’ Rebel Fever’

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Steve Marcus

Singer George Dare performs at the Las Vegas Great Santa Run in downtown Las Vegas Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Dare, who often performed at events that benefited Southern Nevadans with disabilities, died Sunday.

Tue, Jun 11, 2019 (2 a.m.)

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George Dahir Jr., aka George Dare

You may have heard one of George Dare’s songs at a UNLV basketball game or during a middle-school assembly for the anti-drug D.A.R.E. program.

Dare had a nearly four-decade career in Las Vegas, writing and performing songs for organizations like the city of Las Vegas and UNLV. He would to perform his 1983 hit “Runnin' Rebel Fever” during UNLV basketball halftime shows.

One of his most recent songs, “Vegas Strong,” was written shortly after the Oct. 1 massacre as a tribute to Las Vegans pulling together after a tragedy.

Dare, who also wrote jingles for franchises like McDonald’s and Chevrolet, died Sunday at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson following stroke-related complications. He was 65.

Kristopher Dahir said his father loved all things music. He said his father helped him appreciate singer-songwriters like Jim Croce, John Denver and Neil Diamond.

“His understanding of music went pretty far,” Dahir said.

The composer, originally known as George Dahir, went by the stage name "Dare." He was also a national spokesman for D.A.R.E., the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. It was by coincidence that Dare became the group’s spokesman, because his stage name came about many years prior to the relationship.

Dare was born and raised in Omaha, Neb., and he moved his family to Las Vegas in 1980 to pursue his passion for music.

Dahir said his father cared deeply for people, especially kids and first responders. In his song, “Proud To Be By Your Side,” Dare sings about his admiration for firefighters. The song is played nationally at rookie graduations, award banquets and retirement parties for firefighters, according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

“My favorite memory has to do with our family being together in Omaha, we’d go on picnics on Mosquito Hill and he’d his bring guitar,” Dahir said. “Those are my fondest memories with my dad.”

Dare would also try to keep his children involved in his song-writing process.

“I remember when he wrote 'Runnin' Rebel Fever,' he would ask us what we thought,” his son said. “With the D.A.R.E. song, we actually got to help with that one. He cared about what we thought … Back then, I didn’t think it was always as cool. Looking back, I can tell you what a cool, great thing he offered.”

Dahir said his father showed him the importance of helping others, especially those with special needs.

Dare’s daughter, Shontell Brewer, said her father used to sing at the Jerry Lewis Telethon to help raise money for muscular dystrophy, a cause his children say he was especially passionate about.

“His younger brother was hit by a car when he was 4 years old,” she said. “It permanently changed his trajectory.”

Dare also used his talents to assist other causes and charities like the Autism Association and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“He always had a special place in his heart for kids who struggle, or anyone who needs extra help,” Brewer said.

Dare is survived by his wife, Michelle, and five children: Kristopher Dahir, George Dahir, Shane Dahir and Shontell Brewer; 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial is set for 2 p.m. June 22 at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship located at 5825 W. Eldora Ave.

Family members are asking for donations toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association in lieu of flowers.

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