Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Remembering Harry Chapin December 7, 1942 - July 16, 1981

When we think of "singing storytellers" one of the first names that comes to my mind is Harry Chapin.

Chapin was born into a family of artists in Greenwich Village, New York City. His dad was a jazz drummer who played with Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman, his uncle a filmmaker who Harry worked with before making his Oscar nominated film "Legendary Champions"

Harry was an American troubadour and toured (with his band that included his brothers) to small towns and cities all across the US. He had many interests having done a series of documentary films, twelve albums, three Broadway shows, and an Emmy award winning children's television series "Make A Wish"  He used the events and experiences in his life to create his memorable songs including "Taxi" "WOLD" "Cat's In A Cradle" and "Sequel" along with numerous others.  He had the gift of creating meaningful lyrics to great harmony.

Just as importantly, he was a "HUGE" humanitarian.  He cofounded "World Hunger," "Long Island Cares" and supported dozens of organizations and causes throughout the world.  He received (posthumously) the Congressional Gold Medal for his philanthropic work.

Chapin was never in it for the money. Many of his performances were charity benefit concerts that aided a special need.

Harry Chapin left us on July 16, 1981 while traveling in his Volkwagon Rabbit on Long Island Expressway to a free concert that evening in Eisenhower Park in New York. It is believed he was having some difficulty and slowed down and went left of center into the path of a tractor-trailer.  It is believed he might have suffered from a heart attack and died of cardiac arrest.  Chapin was 38 years old.

Following Harry's memorial service, (program and acknowledgement card pictured)  he was laid to rest in an oak casket at the Huntington Rural Cemetery in Huntington, New York.  The epitaph on his monument reads "Oh if a man tried-To take his time on Earth-And prove before he died-What one man's life could be worth-I wonder what would happen to this world"

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