Harry Forster Chapin (December 7, 1942 July 16, 1981) was an American [[FolkMusic folk rock]] musician and philanthropist in the 1970s and early '80s, and creator of such famous songs as "Cat's in the Cradle" and "Taxi".

He was killed in 1981 in a traffic accident while on his way to a free benefit concert he was giving, although he may have already been dead; the autopsy and his driving patterns, which caused the accident, are consistent with him having suffered a heart attack behind the wheel.
!!Harry's work provides examples of:
* AgeProgressionSong:
** "Cat's in the Cradle" goes from the birth of the narrator's son, through young childhood and college years, to his own adulthood.
** "Dreams Go By" is about a couple who puts off their dreams until they're too old to dream anymore.
** "The Rock" is about a man who spends his whole life averting disaster.
** "I Don't Want to Be President" goes through the life of a person -- baby, child, college grad, congressman -- to the point where he becomes President.
** "She's Always Seventeen". The story of a woman who lives through 1961-1975, but retains the spirit of a 17 year old.
** "Basic Protest Song" (13, 20, 30).
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: The "she" of "She Is Always Seventeen" is basically one of these for the youthful idealism of TheSixties.
* AssimilationAcademy: "Flowers Are Red" is about a young child being punished for making his flowers all red and the effect this has on him. In it, the kid is forced to sit in a corner until he believes that "Flowers are red, and green leaves are green. There's no need to see flowers any other way than the way they always have been seen."
* AudienceParticipationSong: Live performances of "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" had the audience joining along in the choruses of the song.
* AutoErotica:
** In "Taxi", the singer mentions that he and Sue "learned about love in the back of a Dodge".
** In "Northwest 222", his SO would pick him up from the airport in the van and they'd "find a place for parking when the loving would not wait".
* BasedOnATrueStory:
** "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" was inspired by a real truck crash.
** "Sniper" is loosely based on Charles Whitman's shooting spree at the University of Texas in 1966.
** "Mr. Tanner" is based on a concert review Harry read in ''The New York Times''.
** "Flowers Are Red" is inspired by a report card one of his acquaintances received about their son, saying "Your son marches to the beat of a different drummer, comma, but don't worry we will have him joining the parade by the end of the term."
* BlackComedy: "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" is a humorous song about a truck driver who loses control driving down a hill and is [[LosingYourHead decapitated]] in the ensuing crash.
** "Dance Band on the Titanic" is about the sinking of the Titanic and spends a lot of time poking fun at the people who said WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong.
* BSODSong: "Sniper".
* CassandraTruth: "The Rock"
* CausticCritic: The title character of "Mr. Tanner" receives such caustic reviews of his first public performance that he gives up singing entirely, even alone around the house.
* CheapHeat: In live performances, Chapin would often substitute the callsign of a local radio station in the final verse of "W*O*L*D".
* DanBrowned: "She Is Always Seventeen" features this verse:
-->In 1963, Black and White upon the land\\
She brought me to the monuments and made us all join hands\\
And scarcely six months later, she held me through the night\\
When we heard of what had happened in that brutal Dallas light
** The march on Washington was in August 1963, three months -- not six -- before President Kennedy was assassinated.
* DirtyCop: The lead of "Copper".
* DontFearTheReaper: "Corey's Coming" could be interpreted this way.
* [[DontTellMama Don't Tell My Son]]: "Copper" starts when a DirtyCop is almost exposed as dirty in front of his kid, and the first two verses are him unloading on the person who tried to bribe him. He actually hopes that his son grows up to become police chief and kicks him out for corruption.
* DownerEnding: Most of Harry's works.
** "The Day They Closed the Factory Down".
** "Cat's in the Cradle" is about a father who's too busy to spend time with his family, despite which his son declares that he's going to grow up just like his dad. It ends with the father discovering that his now-adult son ''has'' grown up just like him, in that he's now too busy to spend time with his family too.
** "The Shortest Story" is about a baby being born and then starving to death. It's about two minutes long including the instrumental bits.
** "Mr. Tanner" is about a man who gives up everything to sing, which is what makes him feel whole, only to get poor reviews and his dreams crushed so completely that he never sings again.
** "The Rock": The main protagonist pulls a HeroicSacrifice to save his town from disaster, but the last line of the song hints that he was merely delaying the inevitable.
* DualMeaningChorus: The chorus of "Cat's in the Cradle" ends with the son asking his father a question, and always receiving the same reply -- except the last time, when (with a slight wording change), it's the father asking the question and the son giving the same reply he always received.
* DyingTown: "The Day They Closed the Factory Down"
* {{Eagleland}}: "What Made America Famous?" is about the tension between type one and type two -- it describes a mild type two, but ends with a plea to make the country a type one.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: "Sequel" is, in fact, a SequelSong to "Taxi".
* GenerationXerox: The narrator of "Cat's in the Cradle" laments that his son ends up just like him. He's arguably wrong about that, though, as his son IS taking time out to help his sick kids.
* GiftedlyBad: "Six String Orchestra" is about a hopeless musician who refuses to give up the dream.
-->I sent a demo tape I made to the record companies\\
Two came back address unknown, one came back COD\\
Of course I got form letters all saying pleasant things\\
Like suggesting I should find a trade where I would not have to sing
* IAmNotPretty: The waitress in "A Better Place To Be": "I wish that I was beautiful, or you were halfway blind..."
* INeedAFreakingDrink: One of the reactions the protagonist of "Six String Orchestra" gets to his enthusiastic but incompetent playing.
* IWillWaitForYou: "Corey's Coming" is about a man who waits his entire life for an old flame to return to him. She finally shows up--[[DownerEnding at his funeral]].
* LastNoteNightmare: "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" ends in an elongated scream.
* LiveAlbum: Several, most notably 1976's ''Greatest Stories Live'', which is his best-selling album.
* LonelyFuneral: At the end of "Corey's Coming":
-->The scene at the graveyard, just three of us were there\\
Me and the gravedigger heard the parson's prayer
* LonersAreFreaks: "Sniper" [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructs]] this. The titular sniper admits when we hear his thoughts that being shunned and treated like a freak for being a loner is what drove him to his rampage.
* LookingForLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces: "A Better Place to Be"
* LyricalDissonance:
** "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" is a cheerful, up-tempo song and a crowd-pleasing favorite... about a real life fatal truck accident. Originally intended to be serious, until Chapin realized how hard it was to keep a straight face while singing about a man being killed by bananas. [[labelnote:Note]]Nonetheless, Chapin always refused to perform the song when playing concerts in Pennsylvania (where the actual accident took place) out of respect for the victim's memory.[[/labelnote]]
** "Dreams Go By" is a bouncy-sounding number masking a bittersweet tale of two people whose childhood dreams are deferred and ultimately discarded by work, marriage, and family.
** "Dance Band on the Titanic" is a happy, peppy song about the sinking of the Titanic.
* MoralityBallad: The vast majority of Harry's songs are this.
** "Cat's in the Cradle": Make time to spend time with your children when they're growing up.
** "The Rock".
** "Flowers Are Red": Forcing children into narrow conformity is bad.
* MurderBallad: "Sniper" is about Charles Whitman and his infamous rampage atop the Texas university tower.
* NonAppearingTitle: The word sniper never appears in "Sniper."
* OnlySaneMan: The protagonist of "The Rock".
* PerspectiveReversal: "Cat's in the Cradle" is all about one.
* RevisedEnding: The ''Greatest Stories Live'' version of "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" has two:
--->Yes, we have no bananas\\
We have no bananas today\\
Yes, We have no bananas\\
Bananas in Scranton, P A
--->A woman walks into her room\\
Where her child lies sleeping\\
And when she sees his eyes are closed,\\
She sits there silently weeping\\
And though she lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania\\
She never, ever eats bananas\\
Not one of thirty thousand pounds of bananas
* SadClown: "The Laugh Man":
-->My ego is a bubble that I realize just broke\\
And alone without a microphone, my whole life's a joke\\
I am the laugh man\\
Half clown and half man\\
Half out and half in, Mister can't you see?\\
I'm supposed to leave you laughing, so why don't you laugh at me?
* SequelSong: "Sequel" is a sequel to "Taxi".
* SingerSongwriter
* StepUpToTheMicrophone:
** John Wallace, the bassist in Chapin's backing band, performs the second part of the "Taxi" bridge (''"Baby's so high that she's skying..."'') in a falsetto voice. He also performs the "part" of the title character in "Mr. Tanner", singing the chorus of "O Holy Night" in his natural baritone overlapping with Harry's singing of the actual chorus.
** "Let Time Go Lightly," which can be heard on the ''Greatest Stories Live'' album, was written and performed by Harry's brother Steve, who was the band's pianist. Harry's other brother Tom, also a guitar player, would frequently sing parts of songs during the live shows.
** During live performances of "Circle", Harry would insist that everyone from other members of the band all the way to the road crew sing a stanza of the song, partly as a novel way to showcase the people who made his band operate, and also to encourage AudienceParticipation, insisting that anyone and everyone is able to sing the song.
* TakeThat:
** In Harry's introduction of the second ending of "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" above:
--->Since it was a [[CountryMusic country song]], maybe I could write a country ending -- something about motherhood, since the song already had a truck in it...
** "She Is Always Seventeen" includes a line about "nineteen seventy-five, when [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon the crooked king was gone]]..."
* TwoFirstNames: John Joseph, the protagonist of "Corey's Coming."
* UnrequitedLoveLastsForever: "Taxi" has Harry encounter Sue; the two knew each other from "a long time ago." Sue went to pursue a career in the theater while Harry tried to become a pilot; neither succeeded. Instead, Sue is acting happy inside her handsome home, while Harry is "flying" in his taxi.
* VillainProtagonist:
** "Sniper" takes about as sympathetic view of the shooter as possible, but he still shot dozens of people.
** "WOLD" is about a guy who dumped his wife and family and then turns up eight years later, expressing no concern at all for how the kids are doing or what his absence did to them -- he just wants to talk about himself, and for good measure he hints at his ex that he wants her back. (She's smart enough to decline.)
** "If My Mary Were Here" is about a guy who calls his ex in the middle of the night to whine about how the woman he dumped her for has now dumped him, and he invites himself to her place.
** "Cat's in the Cradle" is about a man who neglects his family.
* WhamLine: The end of "The Mayor of Candor Lied".
--> [[LukeIAmYourFather Of course, dear son, where do you think you came from in the first place?]]
* WhenYouComingHomeDad: "Cat's in the Cradle" is the trope namer, and a unique case, in that [[PerspectiveReversal the story is being told by the distant father]].