Harry Chapin enjoyed a full creative life before his recording career with Elektra took wings. Immensely talented, as both a writer and filmmaker he earned an Academy Award nomination in 1968 for Legendary Champions, a documentary film he wrote and directed about boxing. Chapin was simultaneously working the clubs as the Chapin Brothers (with brothers Tom and Stephen), but by 1971, found his special niche as a writer and performer, forming a group designed to convey the inner light of his storytelling songs with an unusual line up; two guitars, bass and cello accompaniment. Jac Holzman fought hard to sign him and one of the deal points that convinced Harry was Jac’s offer to personally produce Chapin’s debut album, Heads And Tails.
Chapin’s breakthrough hit was the six-minute “Taxi” which demonstrates his command of narrative song, well suited for the increasingly important FM radio. Chapin’s reputation was further burnished by hits with “W-O-L-D” and the #1 “Cat’s In The Cradle” in 1974. Harry Chapin would remain a popular and engaging Elektra artist until the end of the 70’s. If Carly Simon was Elektra's Judy Collins for the new decade, Harry Chapin was its new Tom Paxton.
Tragically, on July 16th 1981, his VW was hit by a truck in Jericho, New York and Harry was killed. While maintaining his career as a songwriter and performer, Harry had become involved in politics, standing as delegate to the 1976 Democratic Convention. He tirelessly played benefits, raising millions of dollars for his crusade against world hunger for which Harry was posthumously awarded the civilian Congressional Medal Of Honor.