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Home > Stories > Tribute to Harry

Having read others and hearing of tributes to Harry triggered for me a poem I wrote within days of his death. I first heard of his passing around 9 or 10 p.m. that night on the F.M. station I listened to while staying at the family cottage. Later that evening they played an hour tribute covering all the favourites. It stands out as one of the first true losses I ever experienced. Anyways, I wrote this poem in memory of Harry. Be kind I was only 15 at the time :)

Your death came as a surprise I was shocked, confused; I thought it was a dream. My life stopped seemingly the moment yours did. Yet, it will always be your music kept me alive just to have your memory.

You showed me there was something other in the world than broken dreams. Your words told more than a story, but of a life as no other can.

You showed me your best and your worst. Unforunately, the best die first and the worst, of course, last. But only this one time I wished you the worst there ever was just so you could be near my heart once again forever more.

Well, certainly not Keats. Thankfully Harry has always been close to my heart through his actions and words. Long may his memory shine....and thanks for listening.


From: James Cove


Layout, design, images, and user-contributed text are © Copyright 1996-2009 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]
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!