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"More than any other entertainer in his generation, Harry was a citizen-artist."
   - Ralph Nader & Mark Green

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Archive FAQ

Introduction

I love getting e-mail from you guys. Nothing motivates me more to work on this site than hearing from the thousands of Chapin fans from all over the world. Please continue to send e-mail to me. However, since I can be a little slow at responding to specific, detailed questions on Harry's music or where you can obtain Chapin music, I've developed this FAQ to provide accurate and fast answers to your most common questions. I'll try to update it frequently with answers to the questions I most often get.

1. I've got five minutes to look at this site. What should I look at?
The Articles section is good, but long. I'd at least suggest reading part of Tony Kornheiser's "A Day With the Most Overground Underground Singer." This piece will give you a pretty good insight into how Harry lived his life. The photography section is cool. Also check out the latest news. Other than that, this site is meant as more of a research library to preserve information on Harry; there's not too much that is quick about it.

2. How did Harry die? Were drugs/alcohol involved?
You might want to read The New York Times obituary. It gives an overview of the events surrounding Harry's death in a car accident on the Long Island Expressay. Drugs and alcohol were not involved. The exact cause of the accident remains somewhat of a mystery, at least to the best of my knowledge. On his way to a benefit at Eisenhower Park, Harry's vehicle lost power. As Harry tried to change lanes, his vehicle was run down by a tractor-trailer and caught fire. Somewhere in there, Harry had a massive coronary; there's some controversy as to whether the coronary came on as a result of the trauma of the accident, or whether Harry was having a heart attack on the highway, which may have helped lead to the accident. If you have a definitive source on this, contact me.

3. I've heard about Chapin videos being available. What's out there?
Two publically-available releases. The PBS Soundstage Special Book of Chapin can be found at CDNow, along with Cotton Patch Gospel, a musical featuring songs by Harry. (Not that Harry doesn't perform in CPG; he "just" wrote the music.) Also a great video, You Are the Only Song is a recording of a concert from late in Harry's career. The Harry Chapin Foundation offers a number of Harry-related products, including that video.

4. I've heard that Harry's daughter is performing. What's the story?
Jen Chapin is excellent! I've caught her 5 times so far, and she's awesome! Her urban folk mixes the story telling of Harry Chapin with a funkier, jazzier musical context. You can catch information about her upcoming performances at http://www.jenchapin.com.

5. I have a photo/article/something else on Harry that I've always wanted other people to be able to enjoy. Can I contribute it to the Archive?
You bet. A large number of what's here now has come from user contributions. The one restriction: due to my time constraints, I can only take submissions in digital format. For example, if it is an article or photo, I would need you to e-mail me the text of the article or a digital scan of the photo. Time constraints currently do not allow me to type/scan submissions myself for the archive. Nonetheless, if you want to send me something via U.S. Mail, we can talk about it being added in the long-term. In any case, be sure to get in touch with me!

6. What Harry Chapin material is available, outside of widely available CDs and the two videos?
Harry's family has begun to offer a whole bunch of stuff, including re-releases of two out-of-print albums. Definitely stop by their web site and see what they have to offer!

7. Is Harry Chapin related to Mary Chapin-Carpenter?
No relation.

8. Are Legends of the Lost and Found, Short Stories, and Sniper available on CD?
YES! While these albums were not available on CD for a long time, they have since been re-released!

Please visit harrychapinmusic.com, where you will find the Family Store -- a place to buy these albums and more from Harry's family.

You have to buy Legends of the Lost in Found in particular. It is Chapin music at its best!

9. Who are you and how did you get into Chapin music?
A recent graduate of Connecticut College, I became hooked on Harry's music after hearing Greatest*Stories*Live many years ago. After creating alt.music.harry-chapin (a Usenet newsgroup) in February, 1995, I realized I was not alone in being a big fan of Harry's, and not at all alone in being a younger Harry Chapin fan. I developed this page in late 1996 and only seem to value Harry's music more as time goes by.

10. Where can I find Harry Chapin song lyrics?
Look here.

11. Did Harry Chapin record "Please Come to Boston?"
No. The song mistakenly floats around on Napster, Bearshare, and the like with Harry Chapin's name attached to it. The song was recorded by Dave Loggins in 1974. As far as I am aware, Harry Chapin never performed the song.

12. What's the story behind "Cat's in the Cradle?"
Circle!, a quarterly newsletter put out by Harry Chapin fans who seek to inspire others to continue Harry's charitable work, explaisn the story behind Cat's in the Cradle in its Winter 2004 issue.

13. My teacher or professor asked me to write an essay relating to Harry Chapin. If I write to you, will you write it?
Of course not! What fun would that be? It is pretty easy to spot an assignment that someone is passing on to me. I won't do the assignment for you, but you'll find a lot of material on harrychapin.com to help get you going. Have fun with it!

14. What's Jon Wallace, the man with the amazing vocal range featured throughout Harry's songs, up to these days?
Find out here. And go see a Steve Chapin Band show sometime to see for yourself!

 

Layout, design, images, and user-contributed text are © Copyright 1996-2017 HarryChapin.com: The Harry Chapin Archive.

"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?" -- Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.

 

 


Harry's Music
Bottom Line Encore Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Chapin Music
      [iTunes]
Cotton Patch Gospel
      [iTunes]
Dance Band On The Titanic*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Essentials
      [Amazon]
Gold Medal Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Greatest Stories Live*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Harry Chapin Tribute
      [Amazon]
Heads & Tales
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Last Protest Singer
      [Amazon]
Legends Of Lost & Found*
      [iTunes]
Living Room Suite
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
On The Road To Kingdom Come
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Portrait Gallery
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Sequel
      [iTunes]
Short Stories
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Sniper & Other Love Songs
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Songwriter
      [iTunes]
Story of a Life
      [Amazon]
Verities & Balderdash
      [Amazon] [iTunes]

* = Highly Recommended

The Latest Release

Sniper & Other Love Songs

 
[iTunes]

In 1972, Harry released Sniper & Other Love Songs. Thirty years would pass before the album would ever reach the CD format. Sniper was finally re-released in June, 2002.

Originally given a working title of Sweet City Suite, the album tells the story of various characters one might run into in a city. The album features the original studio versions of Chapin classics "A Better Place to Be" and "Circle." But perhaps more importantly (as those songs are already well-distributed on compilation CDs), the album features seemingly lost Chapin stories, including "And the Baby Never Cries," "Burning Herself," "Barefoot Boy," and "Woman Child."

Sniper is for the seasoned Chapin fan. New fans would do better to check out Greatest Stories Live. But for Chapin fans who have reached the level of the Dance Band on the Titanic album, this is the next step. Slightly over-produced and having a little of the "forced" feel that some of Harry's studio albums possess, this album does not capture the powerfully live Harry Chapin. Nonetheless, it captures Harry's great iconoclastic songwriting--Harry takes the story song to new heights here. But the album works best for those ready for it; don't buy it until you are ready to appreciate it!