Harry Chapin’s long-lasting impression on music and humanity has never been more appreciated than it has today. With his deep connection to people through his music and his relentless desire to end world hunger. If you have ever felt close to Harry Chapin through his music, words, and voice, as so many do, you will feel even more fulfilled by Rick Korn’s Harry Chapin: When In Doubt, Do Something.
Korn paints an incredible portrait of Harry Chapin. From his birthplace in Greenwich Village to his death at the age of 38 from a tractor-trailer collision on the Long Island Expressway only hours before he was supposed to perform a free concert with an expected crowd of 25,000 at Eisenhower Park in Long Island. A New York son, Harry was always surrounded by his creative and intellectual family and friends from Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, and the Long Island Cares food bank that bears his name. Harry’s brothers, children, relatives, and of course, his wife Sandy were an enormous part of his life; even if his harried lifestyle kept him late or missing appointments, they all surrounded him and continue to follow his lead for his beliefs. Footage of his young son, Josh, joining him on stage and at his funeral is priceless, as are the clips from the performers who loved him.
“…Harry was always surrounded by his creative and intellectual family and friends…”
A deeply devoted and civic-minded Harry felt compelled to make it his life-long journey to end world hunger until his tragic death. A selfless man, Harry relentlessly performed concerts and benefits for hunger awareness, seemingly unaware of his financial obligations. Billy Ayres, a radio host who co-founded Why Hunger with Harry, tells the story of Harry’s advocacy to end world hunger. Harry was persistent in his pursuit of urging President Jimmy Carter, who was convinced, to establish a commission on world hunger. He also influenced Hands Across America, Live Aid, and We Are the World, all multi-artist arrangements for awareness to end world hunger.
As a troubadour, Harry’s folk roots and his ability to visualize a story through his music—stories so many of us have lived and continued to do so—is personal and universal, all at the same time. Harry received multiple Grammy nominations and was a recipient of the Grammys’ president’s Merit Award. He was a Peabody award winner, an Emmy Award nominee, an Academy Award nominee, and the author of two poetry books. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) named its Humanitarian Award after him, as did the Music Business Association and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Harry remains one of very few songwriters to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
"…never has Harry Chapin's work been so important."