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Monday, July 4, 2011

Harry Chapin

"Music was his life; it was not his livelihood.  And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good."

American Songwriter, Musician
1942 - 1981

Album Cover
These words come from Mr. Tanner, a song by singer and songwriter, Harry Chapin.  In those brief moments of despair when I doubt whether it worthwhile to continue writing, these words bring comfort.  For some of us, our art is not meant to be our livelihood.  That does not make what we do any less important than those people who create professionally for money.  

Fame and success is fleeting.  How many one hit wonders are out there?  How many child movie stars fizzle and implode when they become adults?  How many writers disappear from the publishing world after their deaths and their books go out-of-print?  How many artists have one major show and disappear?

Harry Chapin is one of my favorite singers because he tells stories with his music.  I first heard of him when a high school friend of mine made a short movie based on his song, Sniper.  I played one of the victims of the sniper.  I had a chance to see Harry Chapin in concert in the late 1970's on the campus of the University of lllinois in Champaign-Urbana.  And I was sad when his life was cut short by an automobile accident in 1981.

Here is Harry Chapin singing Mr. Tanner.  Listen to what his wife says about where Harry got his ideas for his songs.  Listen to the words of song and don't let the naysayers and critics put you down.  You are gifted.