Taxi is the definitive biography of Harry Chapin, written by his long-time friend and confidant.
Chapin was an unsung hero, a modern-day Woody Guthrie. The recognition due him was late in coming. Awards are being given to Chapin in his death that he should have received while he lived. His music, his beliefs, and his social activism are finally being appreciated.
Most of the world will remember Chapin for the "Story Song; ' the musical genre he popularized in one of his most famous songs, "Taxi". His unique appeal could be felt in concerts, for it was there that the real and dynamic Chopin emerged. His penchant for audience participation was his trademark.
His performances often ended with tumultuous standing ovations; when the audience quieted down Chapin would stand center stage and give a short speech about his commitments. Often people drove hundreds of miles to hear him, making him one of the highest paid performers in the world.
Even so, due to his selfless humanity and indefatigable interest in social causes, Chapin did not leave much money behind when he died. His involvement with world hunger helped spur widespread interest. He lobbied in Congress to endorse a Presidential Commission on world hunger. It was no coincidence that after his death 30 congressmen and 10 senators rose on the floor of the House to offer eulogies.
Ironically it was the automobile, the very thing that made him famous in the song"Taxi, "which took his life. He died on the Long Island Expressway when his car burst into flames after being hit by a truck.
"The immediate response to Chapin's death in the media and among his fans was truly overwhelming, ' wrote David Marsh of Rolling Stone. "It was as if he reached out and touched lives in a permanent and irrevocable way", HIS albums sold out in record stores. Throughout the country, people who held tickets for his remaining tour dates refused to surrender them.
On the day of his death, thirty thousand fans were gathered in Eisenhower Park's Lakeside Theater on Long Island to hear Chapin's concert. Suddenly, a voice came over the public address system: "The concert has been cancelled because of the tragic death of Harry Chapin". The majority of fans remained.
A few days later the theater was renamed the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Peter M. Coan has captured the essence, the energy and the musical magic that was Harry Chapin. This is a definite "can't put it down" read for EVERY Chapin fan - casual or fanatic. Mr. Coan reveals both the dreams AND the demons that drove Harry to attempt and accomplish more in his carreer than anyone else before or since. This book shows that despite adverse environments, hostile critics, the "typical" B.S. associated with the record industry and as many failures as successes that one man CAN make a difference. Read this and then read it AGAIN - you get more through repetition and this could be considered a guideline for any activist looking for inspiration. Broken down by song titles, the chapters bring to light Harry's formative years, family struggles and early musical ( and personal ) successes and failures. The further into this book you get, the more important it is to finish it - despite the tragic outcome of Harry's untimely death. Buy the book - buy TWO ( give one to a friend - I do ) and then listen to the music that provided the vehicle for Harry Chapin to become America's true troubador - marching uphill to his own beat and fighting to beat the odds against ending world hunger; it all STARTED here, and maybe - just MAYBE his story will make YOU or someone you know decide to stand up and make a difference. "I wonder what would happen to this world....."
Coan's pesentation of Harry Chapin reveals was such a gifted but flawed individual. Such a sensitive but bull-headed visionary. We need more like him.
Excellent book. A must have for every Chapin fan.