Story of a Life: The Harry Chapin Box

Story of a Life: The Harry Chapin Box

by Harry Chapin
More than most songwriters, Harry Chapin lived his songs. A filmmaker, a taxi driver, a father, an antihunger activist, Chapin brought keen observation to his gift for vivid, touching story songs. This three-disc collection is the first to span Chapin's entire career, from his days with the Chapin Brothers through his '70s chart successes and tragic end in 1981, when


More than most songwriters, Harry Chapin lived his songs. A filmmaker, a taxi driver, a father, an antihunger activist, Chapin brought keen observation to his gift for vivid, touching story songs. This three-disc collection is the first to span Chapin's entire career, from his days with the Chapin Brothers through his '70s chart successes and tragic end in 1981, when a car accident took his life. Rarities like the 1966 Chapin Brothers track "Someone Keeps Calling My Name" stand beside his famous 1974 hit "Cat's in the Cradle" and live tracks, completing a musical portrait of a quintessentially American storyteller. Bound as a 76-page hardcover book, the set includes essays by Chapin's wife and a track-by-track commentary, written by Chapin's son Josh, on the 47 songs therein.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Harry Chapin was always a bit of a polarizing figure, attracting many dedicated fans but never earning much critical respect. Rhino's comprehensive three-disc box set Story of a Life doesn't really offer an opportunity for re-evaluation, nor does it even try to win over doubters. Instead, it tells a thorough history of Chapin's career, not missing a single hit or major song along the way. There are some rarities scattered throughout the set, mostly live tracks, but also the Chapin Brothers' 1966 single "Someone Keeps Calling My Name." However, the box shouldn't be seen as a treasure trove of unreleased material; instead, it's a journey through Chapin's career, providing an exhaustively detailed travelogue. Really, it contains too much material for anyone but the die-hard fan. But that's where Story of a Life is a success -- it's a loving tribute to Chapin, made with the cooperation of his estate and designed for his loving fans. It works quite well on that level, even if it's far too much for the average fan who just likes "Taxi" and "Cat's in the Cradle."

Product Details

Release Date:
Elektra / Wea

Related Subjects


Disc 1

  1. Taxi
  2. Someone Keeps Calling My Name
  3. Could You Put Your Light on, Please
  4. Empty
  5. Greyhound
  6. Any Old Kind of Day
  7. Sunday Morning Sunshine
  8. Sniper
  9. Better Place to Be
  10. They Call Her Easy
  11. Mr. Tanner
  12. Mail Order Annie
  13. W.O.L.D.
  14. Old College Avenue
  15. Circle

Disc 2

  1. Short Stories
  2. Cat's in the Cradle
  3. I Wanna Learn a Love Song
  4. 30,000 Pounds of Bananas
  5. Shooting Star
  6. What Made America Famous?
  7. Vacancy
  8. Dreams Go By
  9. Tangled up Puppet
  10. The Rock
  11. She Is Always Seventeen
  12. The Mayor of Candor Lied
  13. Caroline
  14. Laugh Man
  15. Taxi

Disc 3

  1. Corey's Coming
  2. If My Mary Were Here
  3. Dance Band on the Titanic
  4. Mismatch
  5. I Wonder What Happened to Him
  6. Dancing Boy
  7. Flowers Are Red
  8. Poor Damned Fool
  9. Jenny
  10. I Wonder What Would Happen to This World
  11. Old Folkie
  12. Remember When the Music (Reprise)
  13. God Babe, You've Been Good for Me
  14. Story of a Life
  15. November Rains
  16. Sequel
  17. Last Stand

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Harry Chapin   Primary Artist
Kris Kristofferson   Background Vocals
Dixie Hummingbirds   Vocals
John Tropea   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Sitar
Rita Coolidge   Background Vocals
Cowsills   Background Vocals
Pat Coil   Piano
Don Grolnick   Piano,Harpsichord,Electric Piano
Clair Marlo   Synthesizer
Bob Smith   Hand Clapping
Jim Chapin   Drums
Tim Moore   Piano
Billy Swan   Background Vocals
Jim Keltner   Drums
Victoria   Conga
Tom Chapin   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bobbye Hall   Percussion
Dave Armstrong   Harmonica
Ron Bacchiocchi   Synthesizer,Clavinet,Hand Clapping
Ed Bednarski   Clarinet
Gene Bianco   Harp
George Bohannon   Trombone
Tomi Lee Bradley   Background Vocals
Buzz Brauner   Tenor Saxophone,Alto Recorder
David Burgen   Harmonica
Yvonne Cable   Cello
Bobby Carlin   Drums
Barbara Carr   Background Vocals
Sandra Chalmers   Background Vocals
Steve Chapin   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Recorder,Background Vocals
Jon Cobert   Synthesizer,Piano
Carolyn Dennis   Background Vocals
Harry DiVito   Trombone
Ron Evanuik   Cello
Chrissy Faith   Background Vocals
Donna Fein   Background Vocals
Cheryl Ferrio   Hand Clapping
Howie Fields   Percussion,Drums,Orchestra Bells
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Chuck Kirkpatrick   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Steve Foreman   Percussion
Jeanne French   Background Vocals
Dennis Frick   Bassoon
Paul Gabriel   Hand Clapping
Steve Gadd   Drums
Grant Geissman   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Marsh Lynn Goldberg   Background Vocals
Muffy Hendrix   Background Vocals
Neil Jason   Bass,Bass Guitar
Arthur Jenkins   Percussion
Bernie Keising   Background Vocals
Jackie Kelso   Baritone Saxophone
Jimmy Keyes   Hand Clapping
David Kondziela   Background Vocals
Art Krahulck   Background Vocals
Russ Kunkel   Percussion,Conga,Drums
Joe Lala   Percussion
Bill Lanphier   Bass
Paul Leka   Piano,Celeste,Harpsichord,Keyboards,Clavinet
Mike Lewis   Conductor
Barbara Lindquist   Background Vocals
Guy Lumia   Concert Master
Steve Madaio   Trumpet
Theodore Marnel   Background Vocals
Michael Masters   Cello
Craig Mitchell   Background Vocals
Nancy Newman   Background Vocals
Andy Newmark   Drums
Don Payne   Bass
Frank Porto   Accordion
John Quayle   Background Vocals
Kathy Ramos   Background Vocals
Steve Randall   Background Vocals
Donna D. Reilly   Background Vocals
Herbert Rhoad   Vocals
Joe Russell   Vocals
Buddy Salzman   Drums
Allan Schwartzberg   Drums
Kim Scholes   Cello,Keyboards
Frank Simms   Background Vocals
George Simms   Background Vocals
Ken Smith   Flute,Mandolin,Hand Clapping
Tom Smith   Hand Clapping
Mike Solomon   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Irving Spice   Concert Master
Scott Spray   Hand Clapping
Bob Springer   Percussion,Castanets,Chimes,Conga,Hand Clapping
Lou Volpe   Guitar
Betsy Wager   Background Vocals
Chris Waite   Tambourine
Doug Walker   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Slack Key Guitar
Dick Hyde   Trombone
Harold Keinz   Flute,English Horn,Oboe,Piccolo
Tim Scott   Cello
Christopher Von Koschembahr   Choir, Chorus
Todd Mulder   Choir, Chorus
Sue White   Background Vocals
Big John Wallace   Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Phil Forbes   Drums
Jeff Gross   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Jonathan Craven   Choir, Chorus
Rob White   Background Vocals,Human Whistle
Zizi Roberts   Vocals
M.B. Gordy   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Clair Marlo   Producer
Howard Albert   Producer
Ron Albert   Producer
Ron Bacchiocchi   Engineer
Michael Barry   Engineer
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Ken Caillat   Engineer
Steve Chapin   String Arrangements
Chuck Kirkpatrick   Engineer
Jim Frank   Engineer
Don Gehman   Engineer
Bill Inglot   Producer
Fred Kewley   Arranger,Musical Director
Paul Leka   Arranger,Producer
Mike Lewis   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Jack Malken   Engineer
David McLees   Producer
Bruce Morgan   Engineer
Chuck Plotkin   Producer
Keith Walsh   Producer
Hank Medress   Producer
Jerry Newman   Engineer
Peter Fornatale   Producer
Mike Ragogna   Producer
Elizabeth Pavone   Editorial Coordinator
Norma Edwards   Editorial Research
Maria Villar   Art Direction
John James Stewart   Engineer
Big John Wallace   Arranger
Sandy Chapin   Executive Producer
David Vanderheyden   Engineer
Rob White   Illustrations

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