Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Harry

I see in Today's Birthdays on my sidebar that Harry Chapin was born today back in 1942.

Unfortunately, Harry left us on July 16, 1981.

I miss you Harry. Happy Birthday.

From Wikipedia -

Harry Chapin (December 7, 1942 - July 16, 1981) was an American singer and songwriter. He originally intended to be a documentary film-maker, and directed Legendary Champions in 1968, which was nominated for a documentary Academy Award. In 1971, he decided to focus on music. With John Wallace, Tim Scott and Ron Palmer, Chapin started playing in various local nightclubs in New York City.

Chapin's debut album was Heads and Tales (1972), which was a success thanks to the single "Taxi." His follow-up album, Sniper and Other Love Songs, was less successful, but his third, Short Stories, was a major success. Verities & Balderdash, released soon after, was even more successful, bolstered by the chart-topping hit single "Cat's in the Cradle." He also wrote and performed a Broadway musical, The Night That Made America Famous.

In the mid 1970s, Chapin focused on his social activism, including raising money to combat hunger in the United States and co-founding the organization World Hunger Year, before returning to music with On the Road to Kingdom Come. He also released a book of poetry, Looking...Seeing, in 1977.

Harry Chapin died on July 16, 1981 from cardiac arrest during a car accident on the Long Island Expressway at the age of 38. He was headed to perform a concert in Eisenhower Park in Nassau County the day of his death. He was interred in the Huntington Rural Cemetery, Huntington, New York. His epitaph is taken from his song "I Wonder What Would Happen to this World." It is :

Oh if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man's life could be worth
I wonder what would happen
to this world

Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 1987 for his campaigning on social issues, particularly his highlighting of hunger around the world and in the United States. His work on hunger included being widely recognized as a key player in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977.

His brothers Tom Chapin and Steve Chapin are also musicians, as is his daughter, Jen Chapin.

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