Cat's in the Cradle

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"Cats in the Cradle"
Single by Harry Chapin
from the album Verities & Balderdash
B-side "Vacancy"
Released 1974
Recorded 1973
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:44
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Harry Chapin
Sandra Chapin
Producer(s) Paul Leka
Certification Gold

"Cats 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.

Background[edit]

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.[1] Harry also said the song was about his own relationship with his son, Josh, admitting, "Frankly, this song scares me to death."[2]

Lyrical story[edit]

The song is told in the first-person by a father who is too busy with work 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 behavior, 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 college 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."

The song's chorus references several childhood things: The Cats in the Cradle string game, silver spoons that are given to babies as christening gifts, and the nursery rhymes, Little Boy Blue, and Man in the Moon.

Covers[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • There is a known mistake thinking Cat Stevens Covered this song, but he did not. Any version of him singing this song is actually the original Harry Chapin version. The mistake is probably a confusion caused by one of Cat Stevens's albums - "Cat's Cradle"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Grayeb. "Behind the Song: Cats in the Cradle". Harrychapin.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  2. ^ "Chapin's introduction in a live performance of the song: "Cat's In The Cradle"". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ugly-kid-joe-mn0000174007/awards
  4. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - August 21, 2010: Ugly Kid Joe certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8. 
  6. ^ "British Government Public information film from 1980s". Youtube.com. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
Preceded by
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 21, 1974 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Angie Baby" by Helen Reddy

External links[edit]