Talk:Cat's in the Cradle

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An infobox was requested for the 1975 Harry Chapin version of "Cats in the Cradle" at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Missing_encyclopedic_articles/List_of_notable_songs/3. —Preceding unsigned comment added by InnocuousPseudonym (talkcontribs) 06:55, 29 September 2007 (UTC) This song was NEVER recorded by Guns N Roses!!! As a cover song, or an original!!! Yes, he is right. Guns N' Roses never recorded this song, or even played it live. It has just been falsely renamed on p2p networks and such. Jim Croce never recorded this song. I've removed them, and Cat Stevens (again), per [1]. Frencheigh 20:42, 18 October 2005 (UTC) I had to remove Jim Croce, again. Jim Croce died in 1973, but Verities and Balderdash (the album which the song was on) wasn't released until a year later. Let's hope Jim Croce doesn't show up on there again. MrCheshire 08:25, 15 January 2006 (UTC) Removed the mention of Cat Stevens yet again. Anyone who disagrees can check out number 12 on this FAQ- http://catstevens.com/faq/index.html I have searched the Internet thoroughly and I have found nothing to suggest that Guns N' Roses ever recorded this song. DJMalone 10:19, 10 February 2006 (UTC) I added a mention about Guns N' Roses. The misconception that it's their song is, I think, quite common. I really don't see why we can't metion that there is a parody of the song, I do not see what is wrong with that info, but it keeps getting deleted.

Origin of the phrase (not the song)[edit]

What is the origin of the phrase "Cats in the Cradle"? Does it refer to the situation where a baby has grown past cradle age, and therefore the cat is free to sit in the cradle? The other lyrics make sense:

--70.57.151.211 03:54, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

I always thought that it was a cliche which I just did not know... but I've asked around and nobody knows, either! Anyway, it's a heck of a stretch, but maybe it's a reference to Cat's Cradle? --Doc Sigma (wait, what?) 03:28, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

My name is Chuck; my email is ckrauseesq@aol.com. To my knowledge, "Cat in the cradle" is a 2 person game(usually a parent at first) played with string...a tied loop of string(about 24"diam) is wound around the upheld palms of the 2 hands and held taut..then wound around each hand..then the middle finger of each hand engages and pulls out the string circle from the opposite hand. This creates a sort of "cradle"; the other person can then participate by taking the "cradle" from the first by removing the loops from the hands of the first person in varous ways, etc, etc. Typically, a parent and child will play this game after the child is taught this game of skill.

Incorrect[edit]

This is all very wrong as I have the GNR cover of cats in the cradle and I am listening to it right now!! it has been recorded by them!! Use the force 15:38, 10 December 2006 (UTC) @

lol...idiot, your the one thats actually wrong! Insaneassassin247 17:53, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Under 'covers and use in popular culture', the first bullet point says cat stevens covered the song... the second says he didn't. I don't know whether Cat Stevens sang it (and the faq link above doesn't work), but it's kind of silly for the wikipedia article to contradict itself. Inhahe 16:22, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

I can believe that P2P networks have falsely labelled the song by GNR (it wouldn't be the first person) however it states in this article that this is often confused with the Ugly Kid Joe version. I remember once downloading a terrible cover that sounded akin to GNR and it was certainly not the glorious UKJ one as it was much more rock/metal influenced and had an Axl Rose like sheering voice. There must be another version of this song that it is confused with.Tony2Times (talk) 17:45, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

It was quite a long time ago but I swear I've seen this song labeled as Cat Stevens on VH1 in the 90's. I, as well as quite a few people I know, because of this have thought that this song was Cat Steven's long before mp3s were popular or Napster was even invented. This was also before pop-up video Whether he did a cover that was played on VH1, or it was mislabeled, or other reason, the origin of the confusion being due to Mp3 mislabeling on peer to peer programs is not accurate. I wish there was some way to find that instance where I saw the mislabeling, but for now it's just my word. Oh well. 75.145.39.162 (talk) 19:50, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Kids have the flu?[edit]

These lyrics are mentioned in the article. I could swear I've always heard Harry Chapin sing, "the kids are the flu" rather than have the flu. This could mean that the kids were a handful and it took lots of patience to deal with them. I think back in the 70's the term "the flu" did have a popular meaning aside from the sickness, maybe to mean that something was undesireable and it might have caused you great disappointment or hardship.

Also, I'm not sure any dads aside from single parent dads ever did much to take care of sick kids, as they have traditionally been the breadwinners. So he could've left the kids with his wife to go spend time with his dad.

-- The line is definitely "and the kids have the flu". Don't you think the line "the kids are the flu" is a little unlikely in a song with this message?

Of course, no one would put that in a song!! And if they did it wouldn't be on the charts.

To spell it out, the importance of these lines is that the son is now the one making the same kind of excuses for not spending time with his father, and probably isn't spending much time with his own kids either- whether they have the flu or not. Overall, the song reflects on our society's (and our own) priorities: that we focus on money, work, etc. thinking these are the most important things in our lives, but eventually we look back and realize that, although we didn't see it then, relationships with people were much more important and sadly neglected. I think the song is something of a lament, because once we realize this, it's too late. Prosebuster 23:22, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Infobox[edit]

Have a look at the infobox, does it seem wierd that its a cover version rather than the original which seem to be occupying the infobox.KTo288 20:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that box should be replaced with information for the original... 60.242.88.86 19:50, 18 September 2007 (UTC)


Title[edit]

There seems to be some incongruity between the title of the article and the title of the song. Is it Cat's In The Cradle (suggesting there is one cat) or Cats In The Cradle (suggesting mutliple cats)?Tony2Times (talk) 17:53, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Song in Married with Children[edit]

I remember the song being played in Married with Children. I dont know which episode but i remember the scene: Al sits in the garage and listens to the radio when the song is played. He then starts to cry due to the sad lyrics. It might be a cover version (probably by UKJ). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.41.65.2 (talk) 10:25, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Lyrics[edit]

There is no mention in significant change in lyrics from Chapin's original song to some of the most present versions. In Chapin's version, the first two periods of time end with:

When you coming home, dad?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, son.
You know we'll have a good time then.

The final two time periods end with:

When you coming home, son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then.

However, the version I'm accustomed to listening to has only one chorus:

When you coming home, son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then.

I find it rather significant that the chorus fits in Chapin's song as would be expected, while present versions seem to ignore what question is asked because it doesn't make sense in the first two stanzas. Bravosfan567 (talk) 05:42, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

That is Ugly Kid Joe's version. It makes sense because they changed a line break and cut a word:
When you comin' home?
Son, I don't know when
We'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then.
See? In this case, it is always the kid asking and his dad replying. -- Stormwatch (talk) 19:15, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Interpretation of lyrics[edit]

I have a different interpretation of the lyrics to that presented here. To me, it seems that the song is about a father who would like to spend more time with a son who finds the demands of life make it difficult for him to give time to his father; only after his retirement does the father appreciate that he was once like this. This is indicated in the final verse, and seems to be how the programme Something Understood took the programme.ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:20, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with this. I obviously have no citations for this (as it is OR), but yeah, I always had a much more optimistic/positive view of both father and son than portrayed in the description of the song - both truly want to see each other, but let life get in the way. Not saying they are blameless, but I dunno, the description in the article makes it seem like the father is just making excuses so he doesn't have to spend time with his son, rather than honestly wanting to but not having time.
I'd also comment that this song is easily among the saddest I have ever heard. --DragoonWraith (talk) 23:03, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Song’s impact, then and now.

In 1980, I worked a bartending job at the college town Madison Wisconsin, where the students played “Cat’s in the Cradle” on the pre-iPod jukebox at least twice a night. It was mostly guys behind the bar and it spoke to us, even though we were supposedly “cool” twentysomethings. Maybe this was how we expressed our homesickness? Unlike today, during the Eisenhower and Johnson years Dads relegated child-rearing to mothers, as Chapin laments in his lyrics. It also echoes the notion of apples not falling far from trees.

Since then, more than one Dad has told me it changed his fatherhood, and yesterday I overheard two seven-year-old boys singing along in the back seat of a car. It still resonates and teaches. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.175.191.130 (talk) 16:31, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Cat's or Cats?[edit]

Is it Cat's in the Cradle or Cats in the Cradle? The Harry Chapin article says Cat's, but this says Cats. Looking at the lyrics, I'd assume Cat's, but it could be plural. KeithD (talk) 09:31, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

You're NOT wrong. Take a look here: http://www.discogs.com/Ugly-Kid-Joe-Cats-In-The-Cradle/release/1756642 This shows that the Ugly Kid Joe version does INDEED omit the apostrophe (but they did leave it in on some releases). I've now added this information to the article because, with no doubt, this will change the meaning a bit, since one cat and multiple cats is not the same kind of thing. -andy 92.229.75.192 (talk) 23:04, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Cat Stevens[edit]

This song is VERY often attributed to Cat Stevens, even though on his website he states he did not sing it. Should this be mentioned at all? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.17.231.119 (talk) 15:14, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

I just removed a reference to this, in my opinion, it's worth mentioning. Here's a link to Stevens' site, explaining he has no attachment to the song: [1] Scarborough Res (talk) 19:45, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Hey, Diddle Diddle? WRONG![edit]

"Silver Spoon" is not a reference to "Hey, Diddle Diddle." In the nursery rhyme, the line is "And the dish ran away with the spoon." No reference to the spoon being silver, wooden, metal or whatever else spoons were made of. "Silver spoon" refers to children born to affluent families. A child born to a privileged upbringing is said to be born "with a silver spoon in his mouth." Probably a reference to the father narrating the song being a workaholic and not having time for his son. 70.126.99.61 (talk) 22:41, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Guns n Roses[edit]

Pretty sure they never covered this. Every reference to Guns n Roses covering it is actually the Ugly Kid Joe cover. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.209.148.18 (talk) 16:39, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

I heard it was because Ugly Kid Joe on YouTube is blocked in Germany, so if people wish to hear this song or other songs by UKJ they need to listen to the "mislabelled" YouTube videos. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.10.139.210 (talk) 00:50, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
The mix-up probably precedes YouTube and stems, somewhat likely, from a mislabelled MP3 that was (and supposedly still is) in circulation in the dawn of peer-to-peer filesharing. Back in the nineties, making a mistake like simply mislabelling a song could cause quite a lot of confusion because it was harder to find out whether it was correct or not as well as there simply not being as many sources to acquire a song from. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.58.48.18 (talk) 02:26, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

The Simpsons[edit]

Has anyone mentionned this? There was an episode in The Simpsons "Saturdays of Thunder" (I think) where Homer feels like a loser father and so he calls fathers anonymous (or something) and he is put on hold and the hold music is Cat's in the cradle, and then I think he starts bawling. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gljsd (talkcontribs) 23:45, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

References: Mass Effect[edit]

Mass Effect 2 contains an Achievement called "Cat's in the Cradle" awarded for completing a mission where an assassin is trying to prevent his estranged son from following in his footsteps. Considering it is a bit more of an oblique reference and doesn't actually feature the song, I'm not sure if it should be thrown in here as one of the popular culture references. Thoughts? --Forgottenlord (talk) 16:30, 23 September 2011 (UTC)


Northern Ireland[edit]

Source for use in PSA:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/eerily-prophetic-troubles-ad-that-shocked-us-in-1993-gets-500000-views-in-one-day-34407900.html

©Geni (talk) 13:38, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Cat's cradle and silver spoon[edit]

It should be noted that there is a Dutch fairy tale called [The Cat And the Cradle](http://childrens-stories.edigg.com/Ethnic_Fairy_Tales/Dutch_Fairy_Tales/The_Cat_And_The_Cradle.shtml). This seems like a more likely source of "cat's in the cradle" than the story about cats sucking the breath out of infants.

As to "silver spoon", it was once common even in families of modest means for some relative (generally a grandparent) to award a new infant with a silver spoon engraved with the name and birth date of the child. This is the sort of "keepsake" which tends to get lost over the years, a fact that would feed into the theme of the song. drh (talk) 19:05, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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