Home Chronological List Chapin Memorabilia Drumming Page Merchandise Your Memories

Chapin fans: In an effort to make this an interactive website, I invite you to e-mail me your memories of any Chapin experiences that relate to the extensive list of concerts, recordings, TV shows, etc that I address here at "Harry Chapin: The Howie Fields Years". Those events could not have happened without you...Harry's dedicated fans, so please feel free to impart your thoughts to me with the understanding that your memories may be posted on the site (the writer will be identified by first name, and city of residence only).

Click Here to read the stories.

E-mail me at hfrockpaper@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.....Howard


I briefly met Harry early in 1981 at Huntington High School. I was a few weeks shy of turning 14 & was just 2 years into developing as a guitarist/songwriter, where my 2 biggest influences were the Beatles & Harry. My uncle took my brother and I to see a benefit concert there where he, his brother Tom, and Pete Seeger sat together playing each other's songs for at least 3 hours. It made an incredible impact on me as a person and musician. Their generosity & their musicianship sealed it for me. They made you feel like they were your friends playing in your living room rather than a proper concert in a theater. I knew I wanted this for my own life.

A few months later, I was getting ready to go to Eisenhower Park on July 16, 1981, and was completing a poster-sized drawing of Harry to give to him that night, when we heard the news on TV about his car accident. My uncle took me there later that night anyway and everyone was just standing around laughing, crying, singing, playing, but all celebrating him in various ways.

I put the poster I made down against the small brick wall in front of the stage and after walking around a while, came back and found the poster surrounded by candles in a shrine-like setting. The poster was featured on a local TV news station that night and it became my indirect way of paying tribute to and thanking him for what he gave me at the time.

- Frank, Hicksville NY

Your entry for 12 February 1981 says Leeds Polytechnic. The concert was definitely in the Riley Smith Hall at Leeds University, not the Polytechnic. It was a small hall with the audience sat on the (hard) floor. I clearly remember the intimacy of the gig with Harry's two children watching from the side of the stage. He finished by walking through the audience (still singing Circle) with Josh on his shoulders to the merchandise table at the back of the hall.

- Keith, Tadcaster ENG

I found your website today, and I am delighted you are helping so many to remember Harry's music--and yours! You all touched my life growing up and continue to do so.

I had the good fortune to attend three Chapin shows in Knoxville and Atlanta, including the May 1978 Knoxville, TN, show that featured the "Legends of the Lost and Found" live recording of "Corey's Coming." I have a particular bias, as you might imagine, but I think that performance is a crystalline moment of musical perfection. I'm also fond of "Odd Job Man" for a wholly different reason (there was some good drumming in that one, as I recall).

I have practiced law for many years, but put it aside this year to work for a Democratic campaign for the US Senate. I finally heeded Harry's advice to DO SOMETHING.

- Tom, Knoxville TN

I can't believe that I stumbled onto your site. On Feb 26th, 1977 I attended the concert at Fairleigh Dickinson U. in Rutherford, NJ. I will never forget it - it was awsome. My life was full of issues in those days and Harry pulled me through many of them. Harry's music and especially his love for his fellow man was and is a huge influence in my life. I try now to do as Harry said - keep company with those who are committed to doing good for others.

PS: My daughter's name is Cory !

- Brian, Bloomfield NJ

The last concert my wife Rhonda & I saw before Harry's death was March 16, 1980, at the Memorial Auditorium in Chattanooga, Tennessee (where we still live). At the time she was pregnant with our third daughter, Amanda, who arrived on May 5 (six weeks early, due to placenta previa). Rhonda should NOT have been at the concert, due to her condition--life-threatening to both her and the baby--but she/we couldn't stay away. She loved the man! And she got to meet him at the close of show, when he signed his poetry book for her. Her bonus: he patted her lightly on her enormous belly, gave her a big kiss, and pronounced his blessing on her upcoming event!

- Vic - Chattanooga TN

I was googling Harry and found your website. I saw you guys play at the Greek Theatre in July, '76. Even after all these years, that concert was the best I ever attended. I remember leaving the show just filled with joy...can't explain it, really. I remember Big John got a laugh from the audience after he moved over behind Harry and remarked that "I always wanted to play behind Harry at the Greek Theater". Funny what you remember, huh?

Thanks for the memories.

- Mike - Boise ID

This was the one and only Harry Chapin concert I every saw (11/29/80, State Theater, New Brunswick NJ). My college roommate was a big fan and enticed my future wife and me along. While we liked Harry’s songs, we became lifelong fans after seeing him live. The most memorable part was the show was late in starting. About 20 minutes or so past the scheduled start, Harry comes running down the center isle, hops up on stage and calls into the back “Guys, I’m here!” at which point the rest of the band (and I guess you, Howie), come out from the wings looking confused. Harry straps on his guitar and proceed to tell how he, traveling in the van containing all the merchandise, broke down on the way and how he hitchhiked all the way to the theater with a ride from some elderly couple. When he offered them tickets to the show in return for the lift, they looked at him suspiciously and asked him “you ain’t one of them rock-and-roll fellers, are ya?” The van was evidently towed to the theater in time to sell the merchandise at the end of the show. Alas, I became a Harry fan too late!

- Paul - Flanders, NJ

I am so happy I came across your web site!!! Would you have the set list for the March 23, 1978 concert at the Leroy Theater in Pawtucket, RI? I had to chuckle when I saw that you listed the Leroy Theatre as being in Providence because during the concert when Harry talk about being in Providence, the audience would shout back “you’re in Pawtucket”. After the 3rd or 4th time this happened, Big John said “Harry, Fuck it, we’re in Pawtucket”. I don’t know if you remember that but I’ll never forget it.

That concert was my wife and I’s first date and this year on March 23, 2008 it will be the 30th anniversary of that date and the 28th anniversary of our Marriage. Yes we got married on the 2nd anniversary of our first date. We had known each other as friends for about a year before that first date, that concert brought us together

After that first concert, whenever you guys were within driving distance, we were there. Looking over your concert list, it was 9 more times. On June 20, 1980 you were playing at the South Shore Music Circus in Scituate, MA. This is a tent style theater in the round with a rotating stage. Anyway, after the show my wife was waiting in line to get Harry’s autograph and I was standing off to the side. You came up to me and out of the blue asked me if I had anything to do with animals? I told you how my Dad ran a boarding kennel and grooming parlor and that I had worked there all through Jr High and High School. We chatted for a little bit, you said when you saw me, you just had this feeling. Again, I don’t know if you remember this but I’ll never forget it.

Thanks again for all the great concerts.

- George Stevens

I was 18 years old in 1979, attending the University of Illinois as a freshman. My college roommates and I decided to attend HarryŐs second show of the evening and we bought tickets a few days earlier. Back then, all the seats were first-come, first served (unreserved seats). Well, we certainly wanted first row seats so we hatched a plan to begin standing in-line around 3 or 4pm to make sure. I offered to stand in-line from around 3pm to about 7pm, then I would be replaced by a roommate whilst I went back to the dorm for a bite to eat. The plan was that I would then return to the auditorium just before the second show started to join my mates, and we would all go in together. I hope this isnŐt too confusing because it gets betterÉ I was about to meet Harry Chapin!

Indeed, I arrived to stand in line around 3:30É but it was pitch dark when my roommate finally arrived to replace me (as best I can remember, he arrived to replace me right around 7pm). As I began walking back to my dorm for dinner, I walked around the back of the Auditorium because my dorm was in that same direction. After I rounded the corner of the building, I saw a single, lone yellow taxi approaching the auditorium (and in a hurry!)É well, talk about a weird sensation that came over meÉ I thought to myself: ŇWouldnŐt it be cool if that was Harry arriving!?ÓÉ so I positioned myself near where the taxi would be stopping. I was all by my self Đ no one else was aroundÉ Off to my right, I noticed what looked to me to be the exterior stage door (entrance).

Ok, well, of course the taxi stopped (or rather screeched to a halt), and out of the back right door poppedÉ you guessed itÉ Harry Chapin. It was a rather awkward moment for me as I was only about 3 feet away from him (and againÉ no one else was around)É soÉ. all I could think to do was É. stick out my right hand and say in my coolest collegiate voice: ŇHi Harry, welcome to ChampaignÓ. É what a stud I thought I wasÉ I have always thought he knew I was just a passerby, because he politely shook my hand, then he chuckled a little bit at my boldness, and said ŇThanks manÓ.

Just then, the stage door flew open and it seemed like 10 people ran outÉ probably the stage hands who were waiting for his arrival. Harry immediately RAN toward the door, and yelled ŇAlright, letŐs get goingÓ (or something very similar). As it turns outÉ the FIRST show was just starting, and I happened to pick the right time to go around that corner of the building.

Jim - London, UK

I have a memory of the December 5, 1980 show at the Front Row Theater in Cleveland. (I loved that place! I've never seen a better venue for the concert-goer.) Maybe this story will help kick-start your memory of that night.

Harry was late to the gig. Seems to me we sat and waited for a couple hours for him to arrive. All the rest of you guys were there, and did a great job of keeping us entertained. I believe Tom was even there that night. When Harry arrived, he filled us in on what had happened. I believe he had been in Philadelphia, stuck at the airport due to a plane-groomersŐ strike. He kept going up to the counter to ask the person there when they would be leaving. ŇI have a concert in Cleveland I need to get to!Ó, he said. When he couldnŐt take it any longer, he told the counter clerk, Ňgive me a fuÉing broom and IŐll clean the plane!!Ó.

Harry got a huge roar out of the place with that story. I remember feeling very uncomfortable about the language because in the first, or 2nd row was a group of nuns. IŐm not sure why I felt bad because the nuns were laughing their tails off.

Bob - Cleveland OH

For some unknown reason to me today I googled your name as I was remembering back on Harry Chapin concerts I had attended in the Ô70Ős. I would like to thank you for the hours of enjoyment I have had tonight going through your log of concerts and sessions. I was able to put dates back with the original concert when I saw you and the band in Portland Oregon at the Paramount, balcony seats for $8 a piece I think, and then the Seattle Opera House, Seattle Paramount and finally others in Los Angeles. I had tickets to the concert Harry was going to play at I believe the Hollywood Bowl but he died a few weeks before that.

I still remember the first time I heard Taxi on the radio, I was on leave while in the Marine Corp, and couldnŐt believe the effect it had on me. I was a beginning guitar player and immediately went out and got the album and then the book music for it. I collected all the albums and as bought as many of the music books as I could find to learn how to play the stories you all put out so marvelously. I am now 57 and still play HarryŐs music almost daily for myself and anyone else who is around to listen to it.

Once again, thanks for the memories and I hope you have a wonderful life!

Larry - Portland OR

So, I'm guessing it was '74 -- I was 7 years old and in second grade.

Harry played the newly renamed Avery Fisher Hall (I learned it was newly renamed just tonight, never knew that) -- and invited the choir from Grace Church Brooklyn to back him up on two songs. One of them was Circle -- I don't remember the other. But as a member of that choir -- it was an experience I'll never forget.

Going out on stage was one of those surreal experiences that only a kid could take in stride -- and I did. To this day, 36 years later, I still remember the fun and excitement of the entire evening -- and the generosity Harry showed us all during practices, warm up, and the actual performance. What a great person!

Thanks for keeping this set list alive in our hearts -- that's really cool. I found it because I suddenly realized that there might be a recording of that show -- but I guess that's not the case ... but who cares, right? As Harry would likely say (I grew up in the Heights, and the Chapins were well known to many of us), what's recorded on my heart is higher fidelity anyway :)

God Bless you for your website and thanks for including us way back when.

Malcolm - New York, NY

I grew up on HarryŐs music and remember just after high school (Ô76) going to one of his concerts at Pine Knob in Clarkston, Michigan. It was amazing and I never forgot the concert. His music always touched my heart. I don't remember the exact year, but Harry arrived in a helicopter. One of the band or family members was in a wheelchair. This was significant for me as "back then" any sort of disability was usually hidden away. I admired the band member and Harry for having this person be part of the show. I believe one of his brothers was playing with the band. His life was cut far too short. Thanks for keeping his memory alive.

Sheila - Detroit MI

A few memories about Harry that were precipitated by a framed poster I still have hanging in my house. I saw him twice in the mid 70's, both times at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point while a student there. Both shows were great but one thing that sticks out in my mind is that he was a big baseball fan. During the show, it must have been the 10/2/77 show when the Yankees made it to the World Series, he announced before the break he was going to check the TV for the score to the game. The poster was the advertisement for the upcoming show that I removed from a telephone pole. Unfortunately I cut off the bottom with the date, place, and time info. The upper half has a drawn picture of Harry's profile in that late 60s/70s style poster. Thanks for the memories.

Ted - Boise ID

After seeing you guys live for 4 other shows through the years (the Paladium twice, State Fair Music Hall and Moody), I took a golden opportunity to enjoy my bravery. It was while all of you were performing at a 30 a plate dinner and performance which was expensive then. It was the later Yorick s show in Dallas on February 26, 1981. I got the idea that it would be ok if I grabbed my old plastic 110 polaroid camera and just walked up on stage without any hesitation while all of you were midway through a song and too professional to stop and order me off the stage, and snap several pictures of all of you live. I was 25 at the time and full of crazy Chapin love...lol. I did, and Harry just looked at me and smiled for the camera, nodding and not missing a note. He was amazing I miss all of you so very much. Thank you so much for being an integral part of my young adulthood

Thomas - Dallas, Tx

I so enjoyed your site and I would love to obtain the playlist for Harry Chapin s performance at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa on April 27, 1981. My fiance and I attended and we loved every minute of it. I had been a fan for some time before that but that night was magic. My wife and I got married that August and recently celebrated 31 years together. We were so sad at losing such a gifted and generous performance so very young. I have always felt Harry was such a great and magnanimous man as well as writer/performer. It is really wonderful that you, as his drummer for all those about 1,000 performances, still keep the flame.
Again, thank you for your dedication to Harry, his music, and his memory.

Ron Macomb, IL

- ,

Dear Howard

I came across your webpages and was impressed at the extent to which you had researched Harry Chapin s career and music.
Sadly I didn t see Harry Chapin but my wife did, in Southport UK (sadly she is not sure when).

She said that it was a very intimate concert and Harry was clearly in his element and appreciated the feedback and warmth of the audience. At the end of the show, Harry gave out an open invitation for anyone to join him for a meal after the show. Clearly he was in touch with his fans. But unfortunately for my wife, she had to catch the last train home and so missed out on the meal. Ho hum

Leigh Liverpool, UK

- ,

Dear Howard

I came across your webpages and was impressed at the extent to which you had researched Harry Chapin s career and music.
Sadly I didn t see Harry Chapin but my wife did, in Southport UK (sadly she is not sure when).

She said that it was a very intimate concert and Harry was clearly in his element and appreciated the feedback and warmth of the audience. At the end of the show, Harry gave out an open invitation for anyone to join him for a meal after the show. Clearly he was in touch with his fans. But unfortunately for my wife, she had to catch the last train home and so missed out on the meal. Ho hum

Leigh Liverpool, UK

- ,

I got to see Harry, and you for that matter, for the first time while I was stationed at Ft. Richardson, AK. The year was 1977. You played in the High School Auditorium if I remember correctly. My wife attended the concert with me and a few other friends. She had MS and was completely blind at the time. I clearly remember you being introduced as a new young drummer for HarryŐs troup and you were ŇaskedÓ to perform a song about how you were going to become a big time rock ÔnŐ roll drummer and have all them groupies keeping you satisfied. Harry responded with a song about how real life with you involved a plastic blow up doll and your hotel room, one of the funniest things I ever heard. During HarryŐs reply, my wife, while not a prude, did embarrass easily and turned bright red. It was almost as if a red hue magically appeared around her head and lit up our section of the darkened auditorium. She died in 1983 from the MS, but this is one of my favorite memories of her. It demonstrated a facet of her personality and I hope you donŐt mind my sharing it with you. I never ever thought I would ever get to thank you and Harry and of the rest of the band for creating such a precious moment, but here goes. Thanks The kids still get a big kick when I tell that story among many others. It helps keep them close to her and again I say thanks.

Mike - Atlanta, GA

I only got to see Harry twice in concert - Oct. 22, 1979 at Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, AZ and his last time in Phoenix at Symphony Hall Feb. 28, 1981. At the last concert I was able to throw onto the stage a poem I’d written him about naming my guitar after him. I don’t know if he remembered to pick it up after the concert, but it was an honor to write it for him. I sang my heart out along with him during the concert, but ducked out before he exited the stage so I’d get to see him close up when he came out to the lobby to chat with his fans. My friends who were with me asked me if I’d heard what he’d said at the end of the concert, and I had to say No, I hadn’t heard. Apparently he thanked the soloist up in the cheap seats for singing along. THAT WAS ME

Some months after his passing, I had a dream I was in the back of a taxi with Harry and we were riding to a concert. At some point in the dream while in the taxi, I became lucid and realized Harry had passed on. The next segment of the dream, I was in the audience watching some man on stage and Harry was behind him dancing around, but I was the only one who could see him.
I kind of took away from the dream that Harry was letting me know he was happy where he was.

The last encounter I had with Harry was later in the year I believe autumn of 1981. My pickup truck had broken down and I had two of my friends drive out with me to tow it back home. We were driving on a highway that overlooked a valley. On the other side of the valley from where we were, we could see it was raining as a wall of gray came over the trees on the other side. To the far left of that wall of rain, there was a cloud formation that looked like a robed person that seemed to peek out from behind this wall of rain. Harry has that distinctive wavy hair, and I swear it looked just like his head of hair on top of this apparition. I do believe Harry was peeking in from the spirit side and saying ‘Hi ’

He was such a humanitarian who truly cared and he gave his all to end the hunger — both physical as well as spiritual, in this world. He is truly loved and greatly missed.

Kim, Riverdale NY

- ,

I came across your website via Pandora while listening to Harry. Why is it that everytime I hear his songs, Mr. Tanner, Anywhere s A Better Place To Be, etc. that my eyes well up. I so loved this man. I will always remember seeing him at the Celebrity Thearter in Phoenix in September, 1975. It was an amazing concert and in the most intimate of settings. The Celebrity is still THE BEST place for a concert, even over Red Rocks, in my humble opinion. After the concert at Celebrity, Harry set up in the lobby to sign autographs and kiss all the girls. Yes, I was one of them. :-) Thanks for this site. Great job

Kate - Centennial, CO

Just discovered your site today, Howie, and felt compelled to contribute. The only H.C. concert I was privileged to attend was at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago on 3/31/75 your first real concert with the new band. What a treat. I think I have all his albums vinyl -- and, yes, still play them. My sense is that Harry was into doing for others before it became fashionable in the industry. I still miss him very much. Thanks for this site.
Larry, Chi IL

- ,