Remember When the music…
Harry Chapin died forty years ago yesterday, July 16, 1981. (Sorry, missed this by a day.) He was not only a great songwriter, singer, performer but also a wonderful humanitarian—many of his concerts were benefits and he donated a ton of money to worthwhile causes, and was the co-founder of World Hunger Year. Per wiki:
One report quotes his widow saying soon after his death – “only with slight exaggeration” – that “Harry was supporting 17 relatives, 14 associations, seven foundations, and 82 charities.
I saw Harry Chapin in concert many times—each more special than the last. I owned all of his albums and was horribly sad when this great man died. I wrote this poem in 1981, and still feel the loss.
It was almost like I knew him
Hundreds of thousands of us said
He could reach us with a song, a word,
A smile, a joke, or a story that he’d heard
And only part way through his circle
The minstrel man is dead.
He could stand and sing to thousands
And still be talking one to one
He could make you think and dream and dare
Make you smile and laugh and care
And while he touched al of your senses
He made it all such fun.
He told us all of life’s stories
The ones that we tend to forget
Of tailors and barmaids and mail order brides
Of loving and losing and taxi rides
He’d make them all seem so real to us
The people he’d seen and met.
And while others raised hell about politics
He was out raising food for the kids
And it wasn’t for glory, it wasn’t for show
It wasn’t a fad that would come and would go
It was something he lived and let everyone know
He believed in the things that he did.
Now we’re gonna learn the love songs
And who’s gonna say that they heard
Of everyday people living everyday dreams
It seems unimportant but strange as it seems
The you that is you and the me that is me
Depended so much on his words.
We’ll never forget you, songman
Your stories will live on and on
We’ll sing to our children of everyday lives
Of loves and old ladies and husbands and wives
And the man who gave them all meaning
Will be with us forever in song.
‘Cause we loved you, Harry, we all loved you so
And part of you’s with us wherever we go
And wherever you are
I can’t help but feeling
That’s something you already know.