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 #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."
Lyrical story 
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 are a reverse of the roles, where the father asks his grown-up son 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." The song's chorus uses imagery related to childhood Cat's in the Cradle, Silver Spoon, Little Boy Blue, Man on the Moon.
Popular culture 
This song is mentioned in Modern Family Season 4 in the episode 'A Slight at the Opera' where Phil Dunphy learns about the song during a golf-off with Jay, Mitch and Jay's friend Pepper and later gets emotional while listening to the song. It also appears in Season 4 episode of How I Met Your Mother "Not a Father's Day" sung by Neil Patrick Harris, in the first season of 'Til Death sung by Brad Garrett, and also appears in the Season 6 episode of The Office "St. Patrick's Day" sung by Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms. It was also featured in the first-season episode of Family Guy, "The Son Also Draws" sung by the talking trees that Peter and Chris encounter on their vision quest in the forest. The song also appeared in episode 20 of the first series of Cougar Town and in episode 11 of the fourth season of Scrubs (TV Series) the song also appears in an episode of "King of the Hill", "What Happens at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis Stays at the National Propane Gas Convention in Memphis" The short-lived comedy series The Knights of Prosperity also featured a rendition of the song.
A cover of this song was sung by the hard rock group Ugly Kid Joe on their album America's Least Wanted. It sold over 500,000 copies in Australia. The song also appears twice in The Simpsons, in the Season 3 episode "Saturdays of Thunder", and in the Season 6 episode "Bart's Girlfriend". 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.
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.
- 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.
- "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