Harry Chapin: Age 37 | Cause Of Death: CAR CRASH

(b. 7 December 1942, New York, USA, d. 16 July 1981)

The son of a big band drummer, Chapin played in the Brooklyn Heights Boys’ Choir and during his teens formed a group with his brothers, Tom and Stephen.  Immensely talented as a writer and film-maker, he directed the Oscar-nominated LEGENDARY CHAMPIONS in 1968, after which he returned to music.  He was signed to Elektra Records and his debut HEADS AND TALES and the six-minute single Taxi enjoyed minor success in the US charts.  In 1974, Chapin secured the US Christmas number 1 single with the evocative Cat’s In The Cradle.  With a series of albums, strongly narrative in tone, it was clear that Chapin was capable of extending himself and in 1975 he wrote the Broadway musical revue, THE NIGHT THAT MADE AMERICA FAMOUS. That same year, he also won an Emmy award for his musical work on the children’s television series, MAKE A WISH.   The title track to his album SEQUEL, which was a story sequel to his first hit Taxi, gave him his final US Top 30 entry. On 16 July, while traveling to a benefit concert, his car was hit by a truck in Jericho, New York and the singer was killed.  Chapin, who had several tickets for speeding and moving violations, and had his driver’s license revoked, was driving illegally.  His oldest brother, James, told Diliberto in People: “Ironically, I don’t think this accident was Harry’s fault.”