♫ 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