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Songs By Harry Chapin
On The Acoustic

songs by harry chapin

On this page about songs by Harry Chapin, we'll take a look at a few songs by this legendary folk artist whose songs have touched the hearts and minds of generations.

Harry Chapin's lyrical storytelling, heartfelt melodies, and unwavering commitment to using his music as a vehicle for social change have left an enduring impact on the folk music landscape. As we journey through the life and artistry of this remarkable musician, I invite you to explore the timeless messages and powerful emotions embedded in the songs by Harry Chapin.

From his iconic hits to the lesser-known gems, I'll dissect some of his tunes. Whether you're a long-time fan or just discovering his music, I hope this exploration provides a deeper understanding of the man and the songs that continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.

Below you'll find free chords and lyrics sheets, rhythm patterns, demos and more. I'll be adding more Cody Jinks songs to this page a bit later on.

If you'd like to purchase full lesson tutorials they are available for a small fee.

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Harry Chapin Background Info

songs of harry chapin

Harry Chapin, a renowned folk artist, left an indelible mark on the music world with his heartfelt songs and philanthropic efforts. Born on December 7, 1942, in New York, Chapin's musical journey began in the 1970s when he rose to fame as a folk-rock singer-songwriter.

He was known for his captivating storytelling through music, often addressing social issues and personal experiences in his lyrics.

One of Chapin's most iconic songs, "Cat's in the Cradle," released in 1974, exemplifies his talent for crafting emotionally resonant narratives. This song explored themes of father-son relationships and the impact of a busy life on family.

Harry Chapin was not only a prolific musician but also a passionate humanitarian. He co-founded the organization World Hunger Year, now known as WhyHunger, to combat hunger and poverty. Chapin was dedicated to using his music to raise awareness about social issues.

His career was tragically cut short when he died in a car accident on July 16, 1981, but his musical legacy and philanthropic impact continue to inspire and move people to this day.

Harry Chapin's commitment to storytelling through song and his unwavering dedication to social causes make him a revered figure in folk music history.

Songs By Harry Chapin
Chords, Lyrics, Rhythm Tips, Tutorials

1. Cats In The Cradle

harry chapin cats in the cradle

Cats In The Cradle achieved significant chart success, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1974. It also reached No. 3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Its commercial success solidified Harry Chapin's place in the pantheon of folk singer-songwriters.

Over the years, "Cats in the Cradle" has been covered by several artists, including Ugly Kid Joe, whose 1992 cover became popular and introduced the song to a new generation. The song's enduring theme of a father's changing relationship with his son continues to resonate with listeners.

A fascinating piece of trivia about the song is that it was originally a poem written by Harry Chapin's wife, Sandy, which he later adapted into a song. The song tells the story of a father too busy to spend time with his son, only to find that the roles are reversed as the son grows older.

The poignant narrative struck a chord with audiences and is often seen as a commentary on the importance of family and making time for loved ones.

The emotional depth and timeless relevance of "Cats in the Cradle" have ensured its place as one of Harry Chapin's most enduring and impactful works, touching the hearts of listeners for decades.

Cats In The Cradle Chords, Rhythm, Demo and Tutorial

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: 8th fret
  • Rhythm: down down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: a few riffs
  • Chords: A, G, C, D, D/Gb, Em, G6
Chords & Lyrics


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2. Taxi

taxi by harry chapin

Taxi is another important song in Harry Chapin's collection, found on his 1972 album "Heads & Tales." Just like his famous song "Cats in the Cradle," "Taxi" deeply connected with listeners and helped establish Chapin as a gifted folk singer and songwriter.

While "Taxi" didn't reach the very top of the music charts like "Cats in the Cradle," it still made a notable impact. It reached No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, showing Chapin's talent for creating music that's filled with emotion and powerful storytelling.

Over the years, many artists have covered "Taxi," showcasing its enduring appeal. The song's story about lost love and the passage of time continues to touch the hearts of those who listen. It's a favorite among people who enjoy folk music that tells thoughtful stories.

One interesting thing to know about "Taxi" is that it was inspired by one of Harry Chapin's former lovers who had gone on to marry a wealthy man. The song tells the story of two former lovers reuniting when the woman is driven by a taxi to her husband's grand house. The lyrics weave a tale of missed opportunities and the bittersweet moments of life.

"Taxi" highlights Harry Chapin's ability to capture complex feelings and stories in his songs. It remains a beloved and timeless part of his music collection, cherished for its touching storytelling and depth of emotion.

 Taxi Chords, Rhythm, Demo and Tutorial

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: 1-2-3 up down up down up and repeat (where 1-2-3 are arpeggio notes in the chord), and a chop ddudduddu later
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: D7, Am/D, C, A#, G, D, Em, Bm, A7, Dsus2/F, Dm (add9)/B♭, F, Cmaj7, Gm
Chords & Lyrics


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3. W.O.L.D.

harry chapin wold

"W.O.L.D" is another notable song by Harry Chapin, and it was featured on his 1973 album "Short Stories." This song showcases Chapin's knack for storytelling through music, addressing the life of an aging disc jockey in a way that resonates with listeners.

While "W.O.L.D" didn't achieve the same level of commercial success as "Cats in the Cradle," it still made an impact. The song reached No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, highlighting Chapin's ability to craft engaging and relatable narratives.

Over the years, "W.O.L.D" has remained a fan favorite, appreciated for its introspective theme of a radio DJ who struggles with the passage of time and changing times. It's a song that captures the essence of nostalgia and the inevitability of aging, making it emotionally compelling to those who listen.

One interesting piece of trivia about "W.O.L.D" is that the title stands for "West of Leavenworth and Dearborn," referring to the call letters of a fictitious radio station where the aging disc jockey in the song works. This clever choice of title adds an extra layer of depth to the song's narrative.

W.O.L.D. Chords, Rhythm, Demo and Tutorial

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: 1-2 down up and repeat - down up stop up down up stop up 2nd pattern, down down down up down up = 3rd,
  • Picking:
  • Chords: Em, Em/Eb, Em/D, Em/Db, Cmaj7, B, Am7, G, C, D, Am, F, B7
Chords & Lyrics


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Thanks for taking the time to explore this webpage dedicated to the remarkable folk artist Harry Chapin. Through his timeless songs like "Cats in the Cradle," "Taxi," and many more, he has left an enduring legacy in the world of folk music.

Harry Chapin's ability to craft stories and evoke powerful emotions through his music continues to inspire and connect with people across generations. Thank you for being a part of this exploration, and I look forward to expanding this page in time with more great Harry Chapin songs.

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