Saturday, July 25, 2015

XXIII.


TAXI

It was raining hard in 'Frisco
I needed one more fare to make my night
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down
She got in at the lights

"Oh, where you going to, my lady blue?"
It's a shame you ruined your gown in the rain
She just looked out the window, she said
"Sixteen Park side Lane"

Something about her was familiar
I could swear I'd seen her face before
But she said, "I'm sure you're mistaken"
Then she didn't say anything more

It took a while but she looked in the mirror
Then she glanced at the license for my name
A smile seemed to come to her slowly
It was a sad smile, just the same

And she said, "How are you, Harry?"
I said, "How are you, Sue?
Through the too many miles and the too little smiles
I still remember you"

It was somewhere in a fairy tale
I used to take her home in my car
We learned about love in the back of a Dodge
The lesson hadn't gone too far

You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly
She took off to find the footlights
I took off to find the sky

Oh, I've got something inside me
To drive a princess blind
There's a wild man, wizard
He's hiding in me, illuminating my mind

Oh, I've got something inside me
But it's not what my life's about
'Cause I've been letting my outside tide me
Over till my time runs out

Baby's so high that she's skying
Yes she's flying, afraid to fall
I'll tell you why baby's crying
She's dying, aren't we all?

There was not much more for us to talk about
Whatever we had once was gone
So I turned my cab into the driveway
Past the gates and the fine trimmed lawns

And she said, "We must get together"
But I knew it'd never be arranged
Then she handed me twenty dollars for a two-fifty fare
She said, "Harry, keep the change"

Well another man might have been angry
And another man might have been hurt
But another man never would have let her go
I stashed the bill in my shirt.

And she walked away in silence
It's strange how you never know
But we'd both gotten what we'd asked for
Such a long, long time ago

You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly
She took off to find the footlights
And I took off for the sky

And here, she's acting happy
Inside her handsome home
And me, I'm flying in my taxi
Taking tips, getting stoned

I go flying so high when I'm stoned.....

Songwriter:
CHAPIN, HARRY F.

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

Harry Forster Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) was an American singer-songwriter best known for his folk rock songs.  "Taxi"  and the No. 1 hit "Cat's in the Cradle." - which many people erroneously credit Cat Stephens.

Harry Chapin posthumously was awarded  the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work, for his fight to end world hunger, in 1987.  In the mid-1970s, Chapin focused on social activism, including raising money to combat hunger in the United States. His daughter Jen said: "He saw hunger and poverty as an insult to America."  Much of the money from sales of his concert merchandise were used to support an organization that he co-founded called "World Hunger Year".  Harry also released a book of poetry, Looking...Seeing, in 1977.

Chapin, w/ his daughter
After the debut of his album Heads and Tales, which included his hit song "Taxi", Harry and three band members (playing cello, bass, electric guitar) who had never met before rehearsed for one week and arranged the songs with cello parts and background vocals.


Elektra Records and Columbia Records actually battled over signing him, and Harry ended up signing w/ Elektra as this smaller company would provide the artist with "greater personal attention to his unique work."  Elektra Records had just merged with Warner Brothers and Atlantic Records to form the mammoth WEA, and Harry Chapin happened to be the first test of who now had the greater artist signing power. The band was in the right place at the right time and were able to negotiate what was said to be the largest recording contract in history for a new artist.

Chapin ultimately signed with Elektra for a smaller advance, but with provisions that were much more valuable. The biggest stipulation in the nine-album deal was that he receive free studio time, meaning he paid no recording costs. It was a move that would ultimately save Chapin hundreds of thousands of dollars over the term of his contract and set a precedent for other musicians.  "This was completely unheard of," said Davis in the Coan book. "There was no such thing as free studio time."

Chapin met Sandy Cashmore (née Gaston), a New York socialite nine years his senior, in 1966, after she called him asking for music lessons. They married two years later. The story of their meeting and romance is told in his song "I Wanna Learn a Love Song." He had two children with her, Jennifer and Joshua, and was stepfather to her three children from a previous marriage, Jaime, Jason and Jonathan. Chapin wrote several songs about her, including "Shooting Star" about their relationship, and "Sandy".

On Thursday, July 16, 1981, just after noon, Chapin was driving in the left lane on the Long Island Expressway at about 65 mph on the way to perform at a free concert scheduled for later that evening at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York. Near exit 40 in Jericho he put on his emergency flashers, presumably because of either a mechanical or medical problem (possibly a heart attack). He then slowed to about 15 miles (24 km) per hour and veered into the center lane, nearly colliding with another car. He swerved left, then to the right again, ending up directly in the path of a tractor-trailer truck. The truck could not brake in time and rammed the rear of Chapin's blue 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit, rupturing the fuel tank as it climbed up and over the back of the car, causing it to burst into flames.

The driver of the truck and a passerby were able to get Chapin out of the burning car through a window after cutting the seat belts before the car was engulfed in flames. Chapin was taken by police helicopter to a hospital, where ten doctors tried for 30 minutes to revive him. A spokesman for the Nassau County Medical Center said Chapin had suffered a heart attack and died of cardiac arrest, but there was no way of knowing whether it occurred before or after the accident.

His epitaph is actually are his own words from the song, ""I Wonder What Would Happen to this World." He was 44 years old at the time of his death.  - Source:  wikipedia

Oh if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man's life could be worth
I wonder what would happen
to this world 







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