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Harry Chapin was a folk rock artist and philanthropist in the seventies and eighties, 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 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:
- Age Progression Song:
- "Cat's in the Cradle" goes from the birth of the narrator's son to his 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 from his youth to the point where he becomes President.
- Assimilation Academy: "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."
- Audience Participation Song: "30,000 pounds of Bananas." Its most famous version has the audience participating in the song.
- Downer Ending: Most of Harry's works. It's most apparent in "The Day They Closed The Factory Down," and "Cat's in The Cradle".
- Generation Xerox: The narrator of "Cat's in Cradle" laments that his son ends up just like him.
- Loners Are Freaks: "Sniper" 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.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" is a cheerful, up-tempo song and a crowd-pleasing favourite... about a real life fatal car 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.
- Morality Ballad: The vast majority of Harry's songs are this.
- Murder Ballad: The aforementioned "Sniper"
- No Except Yes: "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" has a revised ending that has the line "Yes, We have no bananas."
- Non-Appearing Title: The word sniper never appears in "Sniper."
- Perspective Reversal: "Cat's in the Cradle" is all about one.
- Reality Subtext: Harry admitted that he wrote Cat's in the Cradle," which was based on a poem by his wife, after his son was born while he was out on the road.
- Revised Ending: "30,000 pounds of Bananas" has two.:
Yes, we have no bananas
A woman walks into her room
- Take That: in Harry's introduction of the second ending of "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" above:
Since it was a country song, maybe I could write a country ending - something about motherhood, since the song already had a truck in it...
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: "Cat's in the Cradle" is the trope namer.