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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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Home > Music > Copper

by Harry Chapin

If you were looking for a way to make me mad it was a sure fire way you found
Acting like a half wit fool, laying your money around
Well I came back here to tell you Lou, 'bout what you almost did
Don't you ever put the cash on the counter Lou, when I'm with my kid
Yeah the kid's thirteen he's growing Lou, two years and he'll be bigger than me
Still he thinks I'm strong as a blacksmith and straighter than the tall oak tree
I raised him alone ten years now since his Mama ran away
And you ain't gonna blow his image of me for the stunt like you pulled today

They took the copper right out of the penny Lou
They got the pig locked up in the pen
But you're in big trouble with me, yes you
If you ever do that again
Ten bucks a week protection don't mean I can't knock you down
You've got to treat me like a living saint Lou, whenever my son's around

Yeah the kid wants to be a policeman just like me
You know he'll be a good one the way I started out to be
And he just might end up police chief, now wouldn't that be something to see?
'Cause then the kid would kick right off of the force all the two-bit grifters like me


I guess it was when my old lady left me and she took off with a salesman guy
I started to see things so differently, cut your own slice out of the pie
Yeah I grew up and it came clear to me all the smart cops on the make
You get a silver badge not an old tin star when you're on the take
It's pimps and whores, punk gang wars, robberies and homicides
When you walk the beat with the creeps on the street, well there ain't no way to hide
I spent half my life without no wife ridin' herd on the scum of the earth
I learned the tricks of the trade from the gutter parade and then I prayed for all I'm worth
Don't you know I appreciate the money Lou, 'cause it all goes into the bank
And when I send my kid to college someday I'll have guys like you to thank
Yeah ten bucks a week on your grocery store means you don't have to worry 'bout crime But hold your money when the kid's with me you can pay me double next time


Ten bucks a week protection don't mean I can't knock you down
You've got to treat me like a living saint Lou, whenever my son's around

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!