Cat's in the Cradle
|"Cat's in the Cradle"|
|Single by Harry Chapin|
|from the album Verities & Balderdash|
"Cat's in the Cradle" is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin's only No. 1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music.
The song's lyrics began as a poem written by Harry's wife, the former Sandra "Sandy" Gaston; the poem itself was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father, a New York City politician. She was also inspired by a country music song she had heard on the radio. Harry also said the song was about his own relationship with his son, Josh, admitting, "Frankly, this song scares me to death."
The song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son. Though the son asks him to join in childhood activities, the father always responds with little more than vague promises of spending time together in the 'future'. While wishing to spend time with his father, the son starts to model himself on his father's behaviour, hence the verse wishing to be "just like him."
The final two verses reverse the roles, where the father asks his grown-up son to spend time with him after his graduation, and then later come to visit, but the son responds that he is now too busy to find the time for his father. The father then reflects that they are both alike, saying "my boy was just like me."
Ugly Kid Joe cover
|"Cat's in the Cradle"|
|Single by Ugly Kid Joe|
|from the album America's Least Wanted|
In 1992, the hard rock band Ugly Kid Joe included a cover of "Cat's in the Cradle" on their debut album America's Least Wanted. The cover was issued as a single in 1993 and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, the group's highest ever position on that chart. The song also peaked at number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Chapin's and Ugly Kid Joe's singles were both certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Ricky Skaggs cover
In 1995, country music artist Ricky Skaggs covered the song on his album Solid Ground. The cover was released as a single in 1996 and peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Rex Allen Jr. album name and cover
The song also appears three times in The Simpsons, in the Season 3 episode "Saturdays of Thunder", in the Season 6 episode "Bart's Girlfriend" and in the Season 25 episode, "Labor Pains". The song also appears in Shrek the Third, sung by Donkey. This song is also sung by Alan in the chapter of Two and a Half Men that Charlie is suspected to be the father of the son of an old ex-girlfriend. It was also used in the British government's public information film asking people to report suspected terrorist activity. It was only broadcast in the Ulster Television region. The song also appears in Family Guy, in the Season 1 episode "The Son also draws," and in the season 4 episode of Modern Family, called "A Slight at the Opera."
The song was also covered by Celtic Thunder on the 2012 "Voyage" album.
In the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/PC game, Mass Effect 2, there is an unlockable trophy/achievement titled "Cat's In The Cradle", unlocked when the player earns the loyalty of Thane Krios after he/she helps him find his son on the Citadel.
The song has been spoofed by the Capitol Steps (both as George Bush Sr and Jr, and Kim Jung Il and Un) and also by Aaron Wilburn as "There's a Cat in the Kettle at the Peking Moon."
Despite completely opposite political views from Chapin, James Dobson frequently quoted the song's entire set of lyrics to illustrate dynamics of modern American families.
- Mike Grayeb. "Behind the Song: Cat's in the Cradle". Harrychapin.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "Chapin's introduction in a live performance of the song: "Cat's In The Cradle"". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - August 21, 2010: Ugly Kid Joe certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
- "British Government Public information film from 1980s". Youtube.com. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 21, 1974 (one week)
"Angie Baby" by Helen Reddy
- Lyrics at The Harry Chapin Archive
- Guitar Tabs and Chords at Fretbase
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics