Harry Chapin

Recent Role:

Himself - archived on Behind The Music


12/7/1942, New York, New York, USA



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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Harry Chapin was born on December 7th 1942. The second son to his mother out of six followed by 3 more boys and 3 girls to his father's later marriages. Harry grew up the rich little poor kid. With very little in material things, Harry grew up in a family filled with love. Harry grew up in the 1940 in New York and lived in a three-room apartment building that was located between the Maximum Security Federal Penitentiary and the M&M trucking company above a longshoreman's office. In the 1950s things began to change for Harry. Father Jim was a jazz drummer who played with such people as Jimmy Dorsey and Woody Herman, was on the road a lot and the marriage between Father Jim and Harry's mom didn't work out. A new stepfather came into the scene and the family moved to Brooklyn Heights where Harry joined the Grace Church Choir. Accompanied by his younger brothers Steve and Tom. After numerous jobs and a short stint in the Air Force Academy, Harry decided to begin dating. With many failed attempts at that and taking a look at his life Harry decided it was time for a change. Harry and his brothers decided to form a band and get serious with their musical careers. Harry's dad backed up the group with his drums and though they were still new and green at playing they had something different to offer the audiences. Combining Rock and Folk music with 3 part harmonies they were not famous but were heard. That is until September of that summer when Vietnam lay blaring in their faces. Tom and Steve were forced back to college, Harry was at square one again. A job came along and it lasted for the time. In November of 1968 Harry married Sandy Gaston and they lived in Long Island. Working on film documentaries for the time being Harry decided he missed music in his life and began writing songs again. After the passing of Vietnam Tom and Steve formed their own group but were willing to help Harry out playing on a few songs. But still it was not enough. Harry had his daughter Jenna on the way so Harry applied for a hack license. On his way to get his license he ran into an old friend. It was an old girlfriend who married for money instead of pursuing her career as an actress. In his mind he began to swirl around the idea for his first major hit, Taxi. The rest of his story is obvious, fame came to Harry as he always dreamed. Harry was not only a fabulous artist but also a great humanitarian. Dedicating his life to his family and the world hunger issues and his fans. Harry's life and career were cut short in 1981 when he was taken from this earth in an auto accident.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Harold Chapin



    Birth Place:

    New York, New York, USA

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (7)

    • Harry: I've got nothing against selling out, but just let me do it for something that matters. Not so I can be Number One With a Bullet, as it were, but so I can leave this world feeling like I made a difference.

    • Harry: When in doubt do something.

    • Harry: She knows more of love than the poets can say,And her eyes offer something that won't go away

    • Harry: I am a greedy, selfish bastard. I want the fact that I existed to mean something.

    • Harry: Our lives are to be used and thus to be lived as fully as possible, and truly it seems that we are never so alive as when we concern ourselves with other people.

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    Trivia (26)

    • Ralph Nader and Mark Green submitted a letter to the editor of Times Magazine, it was about Harry Chapin and how they felt about him.

    • The release of Harry's album On the Road to Kingdom Come, symbolized his return to focusing on music, because before this he was focusing on social activism.

    • I Wanna Learn a Love Song. by Harry Chapin is about how he meet his wife and their romance.

    • Cats in the Cradle was originally perfromed by Harry Chapin but soon it was sung by Ugly Kid Joe in 1992. Ricky Skaggs in 1995. It was even recorded by Canadian diva Sarah MacLachlan.

    • Harry wanted to become a documentary film maker, and in 1968 directed Legendary Champions (which wa snominated for an award). Althought in 1971 he decided to focus more on music than anything else.

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