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
Click Here to read the stories.
E-mail me at email@example.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 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
- 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
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 Harryís 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 ìGuys, Iím here!î 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 ìyou ainít one of them rock-and-roll fellers, are ya?î 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 ìyouíre in Pawtucketî. After the 3rd or 4th time this happened,
Big John said ìHarry, Fuck it, weíre in Pawtucketî. I donít know if you remember that
but Iíll never forget it.
That concert was my wife and Iís 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 Harryís 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 donít know if you remember this but Iíll 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
Harry’s 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 isn’t too confusing because it gets better…
I was about to meet Harry Chapin!
Indeed, I arrived to stand in line around 3:30… 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!)… well, talk about a weird sensation that came over me… I thought to
myself: “Wouldn’t it be cool if that was Harry arriving!?”… so I positioned myself near where the taxi would be stopping. I was all
by my self – no one else was around… 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 popped… you guessed it…
Harry Chapin. It was a rather awkward moment for me as I was only about 3 feet away from him (and again… no one else was around)…
so…. all I could think to do was …. stick out my right hand and say in my coolest collegiate voice: “Hi Harry, welcome to Champaign”.
… what a stud I thought I was… 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 “Thanks man”.
Just then, the stage door flew open and it seemed like 10 people ran out… probably the stage hands who were waiting for his arrival.
Harry immediately RAN toward the door, and yelled “Alright, let’s get going” (or something very similar). As it turns out… 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-groomers’ strike. He kept going up to the
counter to ask the person there when they would be leaving. “I have a concert in Cleveland I need to get to!”, he said. When he
couldn’t take it any longer, he told the counter clerk, “give me a fu…ing broom and I’ll clean the plane!!”.
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. I’m 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 ‘70’s. 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 couldn’t 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 Harry’s 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 Harry’s music and remember just after high school (‘76) 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
It was late August, 1975 and school was going to be starting soon. I was so excited to
leave Ohio for the East Coast, Boston and Boston University. I couldn't wait to get there
so I arrived a few days early before the dorms opened and spent my time at the Holiday Inn
in Government Center (don't know if it's still there). My first day there I unpacked
quickly and went out to discover the city for the first time. When I got back many hours
later and got off at the T at Gov't Center I heard this great voice and simple guitar as
I ascended the stairs to street level. It was one of those free Summer concerts and Harry
was playing. I had never heard of him before but I sat there listening, absorbed in this
new physical & emotional world I was in, as his songs were hitting home with me. He
didn't know it but he had welcomed me to my new life away from home. I knew I was in the
right place, in Boston, listening to WOLD, Cats in the Cradle, etc. I always associated
Harry with my new life and Boston. That thought was with me when one day, at BU, I heard
the terrible news about his car crash. I felt like I lost an old friend. Knowing how much
his family meant to him I felt worse for them. Well....life goes on, eh? We can re-live
our memories through song, and now, YouTube. Thanks Harry.
Epilogue - I wasn't expecting this but you have a newspaper clipping of his concert that
day that was in the Boston Phoenix! Wow! I copied it and put it in my BU folder of
photos. It will be the 1st picture in the folder.
Barry Weinstein - San Francisco, CA