We asked him how "the boys" (the four CHAPIN brothers) got into folk music, when their dad was an excellent jazz musician who had also written a drummer's "bible" that's still in use today. He recalled they were listening to a live album of the legendary WEAVERS recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York in 1954. "That was it!" the boys exclaimed. "That's what we're going to do!"
Years later, HARRY was a starving musician (like most) trying to get work while holding the ends together. TOM told us that HARRY had a "hack license" (which meant you could drive a cab in New York City). Before he was about to start driving, HARRY thought about those he'd known: classmates, girlfriends and what his reaction/feelings might be should they (already with careers well-launched, lives carefully mapped out) happen to climb into the back of his cab. He wrote TAXI, with that unforgettable description of former heartthrob "Sue" who handed him the (then-large) twenty dollar bill and said "HARRY, keep the change". Why didn't he actually get behind the wheel of a taxi? Immediately after writing that song on a weekend, the record company called to say HARRY had his contract.
I had not only personally connected to that song, but felt the story deeply as TOM told it so well. Since my dad was greatly disappointed and critical that I was changing course from architecture to radio, I drove a taxi 12-hours a day to put myself through a noted broadcasting school (later joining the navy to avoid the draft and prior to a belated full-time start at university, while working 3 jobs simultaneously at 3 different radio stations).
At another point during our studio taping, while TOM was strumming a classic, well-used guitar that had gorgeous raised metalwork, I asked him about it. He said it was an old Martin D-38. After HARRY had achieved his enormous success, TOM was visiting him one day. His brother suggested he should have that old Martin, as it would be a work horse for him and TOM played it so well. TOM initially turned him down, saying he couldn't take it, but his brother persisted knowing it would be well-used and loved. Three months later, HARRY was killed in an auto accident.
HARRY's voice lives through his children, his original family (including his 94-year-old mother) and his beloved siblings, including gifted musicians STEVE and TOM CHAPIN.