I was a late comer to Harry’s music. Oh, I’d heard “Taxi” in the early 70’s, and loved it of course, and “Cats In The Cradle” got more air play than any of his other songs, but I didn’t really discover the man behind the vast volumes of words and music until 1979 when a friend of mine got to go to one of his concerts for the first time, and came back raving about what a great show it was.
I finally got my chance to experience the “Harry Chapin experience” for the first time myself the following year at Celebrity Theatre in Tempe Arizona. I was immediately hooked!
Couldn’t wait to see him again, the following year at Symphony Hall in Phoenix. I had brought a poster sized paper with a poem I’d written for him, and not knowing if I’d get to give it to him personally, tossed it up on the stage before the concert started. Harry almost stepped on it as he walked out on to the stage. We were way up in the cheap seats, and by this time I knew all the words to every song he sang, and I belted them out full throttle right along with him. My friends were probably embarrassed by me singing so wholeheartedly, but I was in heaven, and oblivious to anything except Harry and the music.
When I realized the concert was coming to a close, and that he was going to be out in the lobby to sign autographs and meet his fans, I bolted down the stairs so I could be sure to get an autograph. My friends joined me a few minutes later, and asked me if I’d heard what he had said at the end of the concert? Since I had headed downstairs before Harry left the stage, I didn’t hear what he’d said.
Apparently he thanked the “soloist in the cheap seats” for singing along! I did get an autograph from him and let him know I had written something for him and had tossed it on the stage. He just had one of the warmest, humblest looks on his face, shook my hand, and thanked me. Needless to say, I didn’t want to wash that hand ever again… but I did… eventually!
It will always remain one of the brightest moments in my life, and even 20 years after his passing, we still miss him so much, don’t we?
Thank you for creating this site! It has been quite a gift reading everyone’s stories!
Harry, thanks for all you shared with us, and all you taught us about ourselves, and the human condition. Blessings to you all!
(Mr.) Kim R. Lee
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