Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin – 1974

Harry Chapin Cat's in the Cradle - 1974The late Harry Chapin is one of the great 70’s poets/songwriters.  Cat’s in the Cradle (1974) was his only #1 hit.

Harry Chapin 1harry chapin fax

  • Harry Chapin was born into music – his father was a big band drummer playing with acts such as Woody Herman.
  • As a teenager Harry performed with his brothers as a trumpeter, however, hanging out with the folk singers of Greenwich Village caused Harry to turn his attention to the guitar and pretty soon he and a few mates were playing local nightclubs around New York.
  • Harry’s first album – with his brothers Tom and Steve, was a flop.
  • For his second album, Heads and Tales, Harry went it alone.  It contained his first single, Taxi, which peaked at #24 on the US charts.
  • Harry Chapin 2On the strength of this first solo album, Harry signed with Elektra Records.
  • It was his fourth album, Verities & Balderdash, that contained Harry’s only #1 single, Cat’s in the Cradle (Harry’s only UK hit was W*O*L*D.  It peaked at #34 in 1974).
  • Harry was somewhat renowned for his philanthropic work.  He served on the boards of a number of local arts societies and organisations.
  • In the mid-70s, Harry began his crusade to raise money to combat hunger in the United States. It’s said that he donated a third of his paid concerts to charitable causes and often performed alone with his guitar to reduce costs.
  • Harry was killed in an automobile accident on Thursday, July 16, 1981 on the way to perform at a free concert at Eisenhower Park, New York.
  • On December 7, 1987, on what would have been his 45th birthday, Harry was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his campaigning on social issues, particularly his highlighting of hunger around the world and in the United States.
  • The Lakeside Theatre at Eisenhower Park in New York, was renamed Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre and a number of other Long Island landmarks bear his name.

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  • Harry Chapin 3Cat’s in the Cradle was written by Harry Chapin and released on October 1, 1974 on his album, Verities & Balderdash.
  • In December 1974, Cat’s in the Cradle became Harry’s only #1 US single.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandy Gaston and was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father.  Harry later said the song was also about his relationship with his own son, Josh.
  • In 2001, Cat’s in the Cradle was ranked number 186 of 365 on the RIAA list of Songs of the Century.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle has been used a number of times in modern movie and television culture, including the following television series: The Simpsons (three episodes), King of the Hill, Scrubs, Modern Family, The Office (US version), How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Californication, Cougartown and Two and a Half Men.  Also the movie, Shrek the Third.
  • US hard rock band Ugly Kid Joe included a cover of Cat’s in the Cradle on their 1991 debut album America’s Least Wanted – in 1993 it peaked at #6 on the US singles chart.
  • Other cover versions include: Judy Collins and Johnny Cash.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle lyrics – Harry Chapin – 1974.

cat’s in the cradle – harry chapin – 1974 – video

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