Tom Chapin

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For the American saxophonist, see Thomas Chapin.
Tom Chapin
Tom Chapin portrait edit.jpg
Tom Chapin
Born (1945-03-13) March 13, 1945 (age 75)
New York City
ChildrenAbigail, Lily

Tom Chapin (born March 13, 1945) is an American musician, entertainer, singer-songwriter, and storyteller.

Chapin is known for the song "Happy Birthday",[1] release in 1989 in his Moonboat album.[2] It takes its melody from the song "Love Unspoken" in the opera The Merry Widow, by Franz Lehar.


Chapin is the son of Jim Chapin and the brother of the late Harry Chapin. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School.[3] He attended State University of New York at Plattsburgh and graduated in 1966.[4]

From 1971 to 1976, Chapin hosted Make a Wish, a Sunday-morning children's TV series broadcast on ABC. He occasionally appears in Harry Chapin tribute concerts (often with brother Steve Chapin). He has appeared in the Broadway production Pump Boys and Dinettes, among others. Chapin has branched in to the storytelling festival circuit and in 2007 was a Featured New Voices Teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

He is married to Bonnie Chapin (née Broecker), former wife of film director Wes Craven and sister of Wallace Smith Broecker.[5] His daughters and stepdaughter are musicians, as well (the Chapin Sisters).


In April 2008, Chapin appeared at the New York State United Teachers' Convention, where he sang his song "Not on the Test" for delegates in support of the importance of arts and music education in the age of No Child Left Behind. This song debuted on NPR's Morning Edition in January 2007. His album with John Forster titled Broadsides: A Miscellany of Musical Opinion is a collection of socially conscious songs written for Morning Edition; Forster was nominated for a Grammy for his work producing Chapin's 1998 album In My Hometown.

Chapin continues support of WhyHunger (formerly World Hunger Year), a nonprofit organization cofounded by his brother Harry Chapin. He sits on their board of directors.[6]


  • 1997 Kate Wolf Memorial Award (World Folk Music Association)[7]
  • 2001 Grammy Award: Best Spoken Word Album For Children, Mama Don't Allow[8]
  • 2002 Grammy Award: Best Spoken Word Album For Children, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly[8]
  • 2004 Grammy Award: Best Spoken Word Album For Children, The Train They Call the City of New Orleans[8]


  • Life Is Like That (1976, Sundance Music)
  • In The City of Mercy (1982, Sundance Music)
  • Let Me Back into Your Life (1986, Flying Fish Records)
  • Family Tree (1988, A&M)
  • Moonboat (1989, Sony)
  • Mother Earth (1990, A&M)
  • Billy the Squid (1992, Sony)
  • Zag Zig (1994, Sony)
  • Around the World and Back Again (1996, Sony Wonder)
  • This Pretty Planet (1996, Sony)
  • Join The Jubilee (1996, Gadfly)
  • Doing Our Job with John McCutcheon (1997, Rounder Select)
  • In My Hometown (1998, Sony)
  • Common Ground (2001, Gadfly)
  • Great Big Fun for the Very Little One (2001, Music Little People)
  • Making Good Noise (2003, Gadfly)
  • Bring Back the Joy!, compilation (2004, Organic Arts Ltd)[9]
  • Some Assembly Required (2005, Razor & Tie)
  • The Turning Of The Tide (2006, CDBY)
  • So Nice To Come Home (2008, Sundance Music)
  • Let The Bad Times Roll (2009, CDBY)
  • Broadsides with John Forster (2010, CDBY)
  • Give Peas a Chance (2011, Sundance Music)
  • The Incredible Flexible You (2013, Sundance Music)
  • 70 (2015, Sundance Music)
  • Threads (2017, Sundance Music)



  1. ^ "HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Lyrics – International Lyrics Playground".
  2. ^ "Moonboat". Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Tom Chapin to Perform Concert at Plattsburgh State Oct. 18". State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Retrieved August 23, 2009.
  5. ^ "Biography for Wes Craven"., Inc. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  6. ^ "WHY's Board of Directors". WhyHunger. Archived from the original on November 10, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  7. ^ Noble, Richard E. (2009). Number #1 : the story of the original Highwaymen. Denver: Outskirts Press. pp. 265–267. ISBN 9781432738099. OCLC 426388468.
  8. ^ a b c "Past Winners: Grammy". The Recording Academy. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  9. ^ "Bring Back the Joy!". Retrieved February 23, 2020. Bring Back the Joy! featuring Tom Chapin, David HB Drake, George Grove, Skip Jones, Stuart Stotts & Dangerous Folk
  10. ^ "Blue Water, White Death (1971) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved January 15, 2016.

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