Well… I sat down and looked over the Harry Chapin newsgroup this evening and saw this URL… that was an hour ago… and many tears have flowed as I read all the wonderful stories told and memories shared.

I only saw Harry once in concert, in Champaign, Illinois, must’ve been about 1976 or 1977 or so… I’ll never forget it… I forgot who my date was (sorry!!!), but I’ve never forgotten how Harry sang to ME that night. I know that all the other fans in the auditorium would disagree with the fact that it was my concert, but Harry had a way of making you know that his songs were just for you. The title above was chosen only because it’s one of my favorite Chapin songs.

It is impossible to pick just one. Harry Chapin is unparalleled in his ability to marry music, mood and lyrics into song. No one has mentioned Sniper… truly a dark piece, but an example of his genius with a story and song. I could tell a story for every song, but I won’t. Harry probably had the most impact on my life several years later, in about 1984 or 1985.

I was “dragged” to a party to meet a friend of my girlfriends (now my ex-wife *sigh*) and her friends boyfriend. Desperately seeking some subject to make small talk with this guy, I commented that we had identical answering machines. (Pretty lame, I know) This led to whether we had conventional messages or music on our machine… of course we both had music… and that music was Harry. Rick became a true and fast friend that night and remains so to this day.

Now moving past 40, I still listen to Harry and laugh and cry and hope and learn from the stories he told. I only wish that I could begin to live up to the inspiration of working for the good of everyone that Harry provided. Harry… I hope you have found… A Better Place to Be.
Joe Shields  

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