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"... I believe that my brother was a great man. But, unlike most other great men, his greatness did not come from diminishing those around him. He made himself great, in part, by finding the best in those around him."
   - James Chapin

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Home > Music > Basic Protest Song

Basic Protest Song
by Harry Chapin


So your 13 and there's a silent scream out there,
And you can hear it.
Just your basic protest song.

Now your 16 and there's a danger in the air,
And you can see it.
Just your basic protest song.

Turnin' 20 and it's around you everywhere,
And you can feel it.
Just your basic protest song.

Now your 30 and it's to late now to care,
And you can taste it.
Just your basic protest song

Well, I just turned 13 don't know what I wanna be,
I don't have much experience but I'll tell you what I see.
When I hear the record sing and baby, baby I love you,
It seems to me we all got so much lovin left to do.

And at 16 I don't know to much but I'll tell you what I do know,
If you do not give a damn I'll tell you where to go.
There is something truly crazy with our patriotic song,
We know to wave the flag round the week begins a strong.


Oh now that I am 20 got my first full time job,
My boss, upstanding citizen, finds legal ways to rob.
They say forget what you believe forget what you have seen,
But I know I lost the best of me when I forgot my dreams.

I'm passin' on through 30 got two kids of my own,
Got a wife, house, a car, and dog but still I am alone.
And I'm tired of only selling cause it's myself that I sell,
I'm glad of always buying cause I can't buy it ourselves.

I know none of us is perfect I can see myself to well,
If we can't push for paradise we're settled in for hell.

Layout, design, images, and user-contributed text are © Copyright 1996-2017 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
Cotton Patch Gospel
Dance Band On The Titanic*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Gold Medal Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Greatest Stories Live*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Harry Chapin Tribute
Heads & Tales
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Last Protest Singer
Legends Of Lost & Found*
Living Room Suite
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
On The Road To Kingdom Come
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Portrait Gallery
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Short Stories
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Sniper & Other Love Songs
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Story of a Life
Verities & Balderdash
      [Amazon] [iTunes]

* = Highly Recommended

The Latest Release

Sniper & Other Love Songs


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!