I was just singing some great old tunes from Harry with some friends of mine and it reminded me of a blog post from months ago that I thought I would repost in Harry's honour. He was truly a hero and he would be right there in Haiti if he were still with us today. When he died, the world lost a great humanitarian, and very few people actually know his real story.
Yesterday, Gary Woltal posted a beautiful blog "We are the Children of ActiveRain" If you didn't get a chance to enjoy it, you should >> http://activerain.com/blogsview/895692/We-Are-The-Children-Of-Active-Rain. (Thanks, Gary!)
In that post, Gary imbedded the video of the "We Are The World" recording session and it made me think again of Harry. (No, Harry isn't in the video, at least not in the flesh.)
Harry Chapin was (is) one of my life's greatest heroes. Many may remember him for his minor chart hits "Cats in the Cradle" and "Taxi", but too few people know him for his true passion and life's work. Harry lived to feed the world in the truest sense, and ultimately was responsible for USA for Africa and Live Aid.
Harry was, and still today is to my knowledge, the only private citizen in the United States of America to personally push a Bill through the House of Representatives and Congress to eventually be signed by a President. That Bill was for the International Year of Hunger, signed by President Jimmy Carter.
Harry had a belief that led him to donate most of his money that he raised from his concerts towards eliminating world hunger, eventually creating his own foundation which still carries on his work today.
Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite artists. One of the greatest Springsteen recordings in my collection is a live tribute to Harry by The Boss, in which he sings Harry's song "Remember When the Music" and he tells of his meeting Harry at various places and of Harry's dedication, and often overwhelming passion:
"But I think Harry instinctively knew that it was going to take a lot more than just love to survive. That it was going to take a strong sense of purpose - a duty, and a good clear eye on the dirty ways of the world."
"So in keeping his promise to himself, he reminds us of our promise to ourselves and that tonight, along side Harry, it's that promise that his spirit would have us honor and remember and recommit to."
"So do something... and may his song be sung" - Bruce Springsteen 1987
Harry always said of his choice to preform concerts for charity, "Gee, I play one night for me and one night for the other guy." He died in a car accident on his way to one of those charity concerts. It was one of the saddest days of my life.
He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and is acknowledged as being instrumental in the establishment of the President's Commission on World Hunger.
The connection to USA for Africa and Live Aid? His manager later became Bob Geldof's.
Oh, and if you want to know the real Harry Chapin and his wit and his music, my "greatest album ever recorded' is Harry Chapin's "Greatest Stories - Live".
"I Wonder What Would Happen to This World" -- Harry Chapin
Oh if a man tried
To Take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man' life could be worth
I wonder what what would happen
To this world?
I think you showed me, Harry! God Bless You!