Talk:Harry Chapin

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Can't attribute it, but I heard Harry was a morning DJ at WOLD. Trekphiler 10:43, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

No, he was never a DJ. The call letters WOLD are a reference to getting OLD. He also was never a Taxi driver, although he did apply for a hack (Taxi Driver's) license before his music career took off.

OFG I love Harry Chapin sooooo much. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:56, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

16 Parkside Lane[edit]

I know Harry lived in Point Lookout, NY and I am almost sure he lived at 16 Parkside Drive. This is where he got the address in Taxi. 18:31, 15 February 2006 (UTC) According to Harry's wife Sandy, he made that address up. The song "Taxi" was based in part on Chapin's brief foray into cab driving when he was between jobs before his recording career picked up and the female character Sue was a real life ex girlfriend of his, although the setting in San Francisco was fictional as their entire relationship took place in NY. The interview was with Song Facts website

Chapin showed Compassion for less fortunate; Same cannot be said of today's American recording artists...[edit]

For some reason I started thinking of the Taxi song today; then 'Cats in the Cradle' as well. It's been soooooo long ago since Harry Chapin died, and today the world hurries on ever faster, more materialistic and self absorbed than ever before. When I look at Harry Chapin, performing celebrity of the 70s: he actually cared about other people! He cared about people going hungry and did something about it. So did George Harrison with his Bangladesh concerts. Now let's fast forward to 2006: comparable young performers of our day include Britney Spears; Ashlee Simpson; or Eminem. It appears we have actually 'devolved' as a society, as the popular artists of the day are a certainly a reflection of who we are collectively. Zamboni driver 03:03, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Poor driver--source[edit]

According to the biography by Peter M. Coan, he lost his license many times and had to be driven around by others, and was widely regarded as a poor driver. JJL 13:36, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

ur soo right, that should be in the article because it's all true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:00, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

The man obviously had some sort of medical emergency. So why sue the owners of the truck? Typical American love of law suits (i.e. greed).

Why does it say "Even though Chapin was driving witout a license...Sandy won...negligence lawsuit". I don't understand how driving without a license has anything to do with this. Is there some kind of political point being made? Are other peoples driving irrelevant if a party doesn’t have a license? Is nobody at fault if neither have a license? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:43, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

The act of driving without a license would be legally relevant in a case against the owners of the other vehicle. (talk) 01:52, 24 November 2012 (UTC) ' I think it is unjust to sue the company of the driver that risked his own life to try to save Chapin's particularly when Chapin was not even a licensed driver. The family seems ungrateful.

Billyboy5260 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Billyboy5260 (talkcontribs) 04:43, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

The Peter Morton Coan book[edit]

Why did the family try so hard to stop this book? Harry and the family fully co-operated with the writer during Harry's lifetime so why should the resulting book be inaccurate? Is the truth really the opposite, it is too honest? Harry seemed the sort of person who would insist on the biography being an honest, "warts & all" account. After his death such an account would not fit well with his portayal as some kind of saint. Is that why the family didn't want the book to be published? Any thoughts on this theory? Keithmall 21:42, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

This might be a better discussion for a newsgroup or web forum. JJL 00:04, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if this is the correct place to write this but it seems relevant. My father knew Peter Morton Coan personally and apparently he was very jealous of Harry and they had a very bad fight one time. I am almost certain it was about socks, that's what my father said I think. I tried to look this information up on the internet but I can't find anything solid to back it up. Does anyone else know anything about a sock fight, or why Peter Morton Coan was so jealous of Harry, or his socks? I have tried to find pictures of Harry's socks because I think there might be a clue but I cannot find any pictures. I hope this is helpful though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I believe Sandy had a competing book in the works at the time. That is why the family tried to stop it. -- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Relation to Kenneth Burke (Philosopher)[edit]

According to second-hand personal sources, Harry Chapin was a close relative, perhaps by marriage, to the philosopher Kenneth Burke, who was greatly saddened by Chapin's death. Can anyone clarify and document their relation? 22:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Grandfather--maternal, I presume [1]. JJL 01:56, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Address in Ithaca[edit]

Chapin lived at 311 Dryden Road in 1963. I leave a white rose on the porch whenever I'm up there. RahadyanS 18:58, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Cat's in the Cradle[edit]

Does anyone have a source about CitC not being about Harry? I've never heard that, I'll have to find my copy of "Taxi:The Harry Chapin" Story to see what it says there. For the time being I've marked it for citation needed. CitiCat 02:25, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

It is about Harry, or rather Harry and his son Josh. Before singing the song in concert, he sometimes offered an introduction. [Here] he is heard to say "It's 'Cat's In The Cradle' and it's about my boy Josh... and frankly, the song scares me to death." The song was based on Chapin's fear that he was spending too much time on the road and would not be a good father to Josh. Eliot Fisher (talk) 22:30, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Although Chapin would say in interviews and sometimes in concert the poem that inspired the song was about him, it was actually about the strained relationship his Wife Sandy's first husband had with his father. She explained this in great detail in an interview a few years ago with Song facts website

Citations & References[edit]

See Wikipedia:Footnotes for an explanation of how to generate footnotes using the <ref(erences/)> tags Nhl4hamilton (talk) 08:53, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone have a better picture of Harry? Maybe less "spur of the moment"? Its been bothering me for a while. M173627 (talk) 04:21, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Return to the Academy[edit]

Harry had the opportunity to perform at the Air Force Academy -- which he attended -- for a concert in '77. "She was gonna be an actress, and I was gonna learn to fly."

He rushed the stage dressed like (and acting the part of) a "doolie"...the Air Force Academy verion of a West point "plebe". He had great fun and delivered a wonderful concert, interacting with the cadets throughout. Of course, that kind of focus on his audience was a hallmark, but it was a special evening...for Harry and for us. —Preceding unsigned comment added by USAFA76 (talkcontribs) 12:24, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Mail Order Annie[edit]

Harry performed this song solo at Edinburgh's Usher Hall in mid 1979. He led off with a few bars on a harmonica, then the verses and chorus, without using a mic, then finishing it off with a final burst on the harmonica. I hadn't really rated the song previously, but that night gave me a different perspective on the song.Ragnartheviking (talk) 19:41, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Band Member Links[edit]

The Doug Walker link is for the wrong Doug Walker....the one you have is for some British musician —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:49, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Fixed, thank you. We don't yet have an article on the right Doug Walker so the revised wikilink is still red. JamesMLane t c 05:06, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Philanthropic Work section needs citations[edit]

Is there a source for the statement that Chapin's philanthropic work caused friction with his band members and manager? Also, there's an incomplete sentence fragment -- "Mike Rendine played Bass during the years of 1979".... WetcoastBC (talk) 01:31, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


Someone keeps adding that he was born into a Jewish family, which would be fine, if in fact he were. Can we get some sort of reference on this before adding it again? This article Not Jewish, 'but of our faith' states that Harry's brother Tom is not Jewish. Here's what Coan's book has to say - "Both the Burke and Chapin families were of old American ancestry, with strains of New England aristocracy. The Chapins originally came from England in 1635, and we descendants of Deacon Samuel Chapin, who founded Springfield, Massachusetts". CitiCat 06:08, 15 February 2011 (UTC)