Flowers Are Red
|"Flowers are Red"|
|Song by Harry Chapin from the album Living Room Suite|
|Released||September 10, 1978|
The song tells the story of a little boy who on the first day of school started drawing pictures of flowers using many different colors. The teacher tells him that he's coloring the flowers all wrong and that he should paint them red and green, "the way they always have been seen." The boy disagrees and continues to color them from his imagination until the teacher punishes him by standing him in a corner. Finally, the little boy gives in and tells the teacher that "flowers are red, and green leaves are green." When he goes to a different school, he continues mechanically painting flowers red and green, to the dismay of his new, kind teacher.
In the live concert versions, Chapin extended the song's ending to: "There still must be a way to have our children say..." before featuring the little boy's chorus again and bringing the song to a better conclusion. A version of this is featured on his album Legends of the Lost and Found.
The idea for the song came to Chapin when his secretary told him about her son who brought his report card home from school one day. The teacher had written a note in the card saying: "Your son is marching to the beat of a different drummer, but don't worry we will soon have him joining the parade by the end of the term." The quote was often used as an introduction to the song during live performances, with the comma after "drummer" being pronounced as a word because of the educational theme.