life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, April 17, 2010

what celebrity's death made you cry?

I cried the night Harry Chapin died.

Harry lived in Huntington, NY. I grew up in a community that's part of the Town of Huntington. In 1975 Harry played a concert at my high school -- it was just Harry and his guitar in the high school auditorium. Before that concert I'd heard his one or two hits on the radio, but after...well. I became a lifelong fan.

I saw him again when I was in college, at a Town of Huntington Arts Council event. Or maybe it was the Performing Arts Foundation. He autographed a frisbee for me.

And then we saw his concert in Schenectady. this was a big-deal concert, with his entire band. Amazing.

I always admired his work with the World Hunger organization.

July 16, 1981. Harry was supposed to give a free concert in Eisenhower Park. A group of us got to the park early, set up a blanket and our boom box, and were just hanging out....when the DJ played not one, but two Chapin songs. You almost never heard two of Harry's songs back-to-back, even on Long Island stations where he was considered a home-town hero.

And then the DJ announced that Harry had been killed in an accident on the Long Island Expressway while driving to the concert. The shock waves that rippled through the crowd...

I loved his folk-rock beat, I loved the stories that he told through his music.

So, for your listening pleasure, here's harry singing his number one hit:

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Strangely, I was thinking of Harry and that song yesterday. I remember sitting out on a neighbor's patio, listening to WBAB and enjoying a gorgeous summer night when the DJ came on and had difficulty making that announcement.

When Alan Pakula died on the same road a few years back, it brought back those memories of a summer night and the news that Harry was gone.

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