♫ Cat’s in the Cradle ♫

I’ve always liked this song, which was Harry Chapin’s only #1 hit song.

The song’s lyrics began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandra “Sandy” Gaston; the poem itself was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father, John, a politician who served as Brooklyn borough president. She was also inspired by a country music song she had heard on the radio. Chapin also said the song was about his own relationship with his son, Josh, admitting, “Frankly, this song scares me to death.”

Harry Chapin was a dedicated humanitarian and arguably the most politically and socially active American performer of the 1970s.  He fought to end world hunger; he was a key participant in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977.  In 1987, Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work.  According to his wife, “Harry wasn’t interested in saving money. He always said, ‘Money is for people,’ so he gave it away.”

Sadly, Chapin’s career was cut short in July 1981 when, at age 39, he was killed in a fiery car crash.  His wife and son Josh carry on his philanthropic legacy through the Harry Chapin Foundation

Cat’s In The Cradle
Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day;
Came to the world in the usually way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
He was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it.
And as he grew he said,
“I’m gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, my son turned ten just the other day.
He said , “Thanks for the ball, Dad. Come on, let’s play.
Could you teach me to throw ?” I said, “Not today.
I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s okay.”
And he walked away and he smiled and he said,
“You know,
I’m gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I’m gonna be like him.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
“I’m proud of you. Could you sit for a while ?”
He shook his head and he said with a smile,
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please ?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
“I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu,
But it’s sure nice talkin’ to you, Dad.
It’s been sure nice talkin’ to you.”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Songwriters: Sandy Chapin / Harry F. Chapin
Cats In The Cradle lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

20 thoughts on “♫ Cat’s in the Cradle ♫

  1. Another great musician gone too soon. The list of the lost is endless…Selena, Whitney Houston, Karen Carpenter, Prince, Michael Jackson, John Denver among many others. Their flames have been extinguished, but their glow remains thanks to the music they have left behind. “Cat’s in the Cradle” has just that very glow about it. A sorrowful song that contains a valuable life lesson to be learned, seize the moment before it becomes lost forever. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and with a couple of exceptions, either drugs or suicide was the cause of death. Funny, isn’t it, that they have so much talent, so much to give to the world, and yet they are never really happy, never comfortable in their own skin, apparently. Makes me glad I have no talent!

      Like

  2. I am always nervous of people in the entertainment industry, who become overtly active in politics … just sayin’ It is okay to have social commentary about what disturbs them but Presidential Commissions? I smell deep state. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are good people in every walk of life, every industry. When they use their voice, their name recognition to do good things, I think they deserve a thumbs-up. You have undoubtedly got the most suspicious mind of anybody I’ve ever known, Jamie. Why? There are good people in this world, y’know? Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, of course! Are you aware of how much money is raised by charities each year? It is such a large sum. One wonders why there are people still needing charity? It is a good tax dodge.

        Was Mr Chapin thus? I don’t know? There are many good people in this world but those who need aggrandizement to advertise their goodness? Not so many. Yes, I am suspicious of those motives. It is folly to assume, goodness only comes from “world figures”? Maybe he made a difference? Maybe not? It has been a while. As for Mr. Chapin? Did he make a difference? I was mainly living in an ashram when he was popular. So wouldn’t know? Presidential Commission on World Hunger? That sounds so pompous … Did they make a difference? I mean a real difference? Yeah, thought not…. Cheers Jamie
        BTW I am not suspicious. I am a cynic. J.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! I love that song – although it is so sad. I know it gives Hubby the shivers. He does his best to be there for the boys though, so I don’t think he needs to worry. 🙂 But I think the song is a good reminder to get our priorities right, spend time with our loved ones, as long as we can. (The boys are growing so quickly!!)

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