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Harry Chapin


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Harry Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) was an American singer and songwriter. Chapin’s debut album, Heads and Tales (1972), was a success thanks to the single “Taxi”. His follow-up album, Sniper and Other Love Songs, was less successful; but his third, Short Stories, was a major success. Verities & Balderdash, released soon after, was even more successful, bolstered by the chart-topping hit single “Cat’s in the Cradle”. He also wrote and performed a Broadway musical, The Night That Made America Famous.

In the mid 1970s, Chapin focused on social activism, including raising money to combat hunger in the United States and co-founding the organization World Hunger Year, before returning to music with On the Road to Kingdom Come. He also released a book of poetry, Looking…Seeing, in 1977.

His fellow Long Islanders loved him for his support of local artists, as well. He and his wife Sandy raised funds for the Performing Arts Foundation, a now-defunct local theatre group. They also supported the Long Island Ballet. The band shell at Huntington’s Hecksher Park is named for Harry Chapin.

Chapin died on July 16, 1981 in an automobile accident on the Long Island Expressway at the age of 38. He was headed west from Huntington Bay, where he lived with his wife and three children, to perform a concert in Eisenhower Park in Nassau County when his car was struck by a truck.


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  • at5-5


    24 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Big_Wigs

    Wow, I expected him to have more listeners on here! Brilliant songwriter, love his music.

    23 Feb 2014 Reply
  • RedArmada

    His only worthwhile song is "The Sniper", but what a fucking song- a deranged, surreal psychoanalysis of a lonely misfit's killing spree, it's incredible

    24 Jan 2014 Reply
  • jazzthieve

    Spotify playlist: Classic Rock

    4 Apr 2013 Reply
  • madeira_sensei


    4 Feb 2013 Reply
  • HighandMighty13

    This guy is so much more than just Cats in the Cradle. One of the greatest story tellers ever, he has some of the best songs I've ever heard. A true legend, underrated. [2]

    19 Nov 2012 Reply
  • philshan

    Saw him 3 times on his UK tours. Actually managed to receive a handshake at one of his concerts. The man was tremendous and a complete entertainer. He still gets played quite a lot on BBC Radio 2 over here thankfully

    18 Sep 2012 Reply
  • reagan0

    I'm converting my vinyl collection to digital. I've just converted "Verities & Balderdash". Wow... What a great album.

    26 Jun 2012 Reply
  • vashta1

    one of the most underrated musicians of his time.

    21 May 2012 Reply
  • hashcake77

    I'm in the dance baaaand, on the titanic. Sing "Nearer, my God, to Thee". The iceberg's on the starboard bow, won't you dance with me?

    28 Sep 2011 Reply
  • Karmageddonx

    I am stunned by how few plays this amazing artist has. I had no idea he was so underrated. Kind of sad, actually.

    27 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Stoosie

    I like his music it's asshame he died so young

    9 Jun 2011 Reply
  • Nagsworth

    UNDERRATED HERO. One of the great American story-tellers, and an incredibly noble and charitable human being, I started listening when I was about 3 years old in my grandpa's car and I'm still listening today at age 24. His songs bring a chill to my bones.

    23 May 2011 Reply
  • Early_Birds

    Sniper is fantasticly haunting.

    25 Mar 2011 Reply
  • Fitzer48

    I was lucky enough to see Harry live twice on the U of Illinois campus during the 1970s. He said, they were Champaign-Urbana's house band...the campus loved him.

    15 Mar 2011 Reply
  • bfmets

    harry is the best ever telling stories with a horse voice and the acoustics behind him

    11 Feb 2011 Reply
  • swollenappetite

    Along with Phil Ochs, the finest protest singer of all time, although he specialised more in the loneliness and unconnectedness of humanity (There's A Lot Of Lonely People/Easy/Better Place to Be). He was the one who put me on to Phil Ochs, a now virtually unknown singer but - like Harry - one of the finest lyricists around. I too saw him live in England, where he sang Mail Order Annie absolutely unaccompanied and brought the house down. Favourite story about him: how he played Sniper at a concert where the father of the subject of the song was present and walked out; he made inquiries, found out who he was and went round to his house and said he would never play the song in public again... our loss, but what a sensitive man!

    26 Dec 2010 Reply
  • Dirtguy4halos

    Hell now i'm 50 and I like this song even more now that i'm a dad. Sorry had to wipe a tear, my young boys were calling!

    24 Dec 2010 Reply
  • s_sourabh

    He is undoubtedly under rated. *respect*

    16 Jul 2010 Reply
  • Tr1xx

    Surprised to see W.O.L.D isn't higher up the stats. It's just such a great song.

    26 Apr 2010 Reply
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