Is there a better song writer than Harry Chapin? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-19-2005, 09:15 AM
Yeah, I'm sure that there is. I can name a few on my own. But damn if he isn't high on my list.

I'm listening to Harry Chapin's The Gold Medal Collection, which is a collection of greatest hits. I don't listen to this disk very often, but something I heard on TV last night prompted me to want to hear Taxi. The songs on this disk are all so well written that even the songs that I don't particularly like have to be admired for their craftmanship.

I've never spent enough time getting to know Chapin's music. I was a little too young to be interested when he was releasing albums and he was dead by the time I was old enough to care. I definately feel that I missed something due to this unfortunately timing.

It's never too late to appreciate and enjoy the music. But I would sure have loved the opportunity to see him perform live.

Any other Chapin fans here?

09-19-2005, 11:30 AM
It's never too late to appreciate and enjoy the music. But I would sure have loved the opportunity to see him perform live.

Any other Chapin fans here?

You can borrow a couple of Harry DVDs that I have anytime.

Saw him live about five or six times, including the last tour before his untimely death by transport truck. He used to sell his book of poetry after each concert and come out to meet and greet fans and sign the book and kiss the women with his slobbery lips - yech.

I have a guitar pick he gave me, but there's nothing on it to identify it as his.

He was the master of the sentimental story song. He knew how to write a song with a plot, usually of an overly sentimental and corny nature. He wasn't that good a singer, but he had chutzpah. He knew how to make a concert fun, even if a fifteen minute version of 30,000 pounds of Bananas was about 12 minutes too long. I have a great biography about him and his career called Taxi, written by a fan who would meet with him and record their conversations.

It was a sad day when I learned that HC died, back in 1982 I think, and I still mourn his death probably more than any other musician I can think of.

I can remember having a party when I was in university and before too many people arrived, I was playing playing his album Portrait Gallery. About half way through it I turned it off because it was too mellow and I thought nobody was listening to it. I had to put it back on. The English Beat and Talking Heats etc. would just have to wait.

If you want to feel sentimental one cold and lonely winter night, just play Old College Avenue. Songwriting doesn't get much better than this.

Of course, if you have kids, you'll want to discover his brother, Tom Chapin, who you may remember from a T.V. show called Make A Wish. His kids albums are outstanding, and extremely tolerable to adults.

09-19-2005, 02:05 PM
:D Yes, I point out the obvious. Harry was a pretty fine story teller, if you like songs that go on and on with many verses, kinda like that guy up there in the United States of Canda with his Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and so forth. Some of his toons are entirely too long to hold my attention, and one I heard it that kazillionth time, I'm kinda tired of it if ya know what I mean. As for Harry, I kinda like a few of his, but was never a huge fan. I would lean toward someone like Van Morrison, or even Randy Newman.

Swish Daddy

09-19-2005, 06:50 PM
I remember when he passed away -- I was fully bummed out.
His music still makes my hair stand on end, especially such well-worn lines as, "I stuffed the bill in my shirt!" from Taxi.

I only had the opportunity to see him live, at the old revolving stage at Ontario Place -- what a great & intimate venue that was... he was there performing with his brother (his bro used to be a children't performer -- you might remember him).

Time to play some Harry.

Thanks for reminding me, ForeverAutumn.