- Released: July 2, 2002
- Originally Released: 2002
- Label: Elektra / WEA
Description by OLDIES.com:
A dozen of the legendary urban folk-pop balladeer's most popular story-songs from 1972-1980, including the #1 "Cat's In The Cradle" plus "Taxi," "W*O*L*D," "I Wanna Learn A Love Song," "Sequel," and 7 more musical vignettes of life and love, despair and hope in modern America.
- 2.Sunday Morning Sunshine
- 4.Cat's In The Cradle
- 5.I Wanna Learn A Love Song
- 6.Better Place To Be
- 7.Dreams Go By
- 9.30,000 Pounds Of Bananas (Live)
- 10.Dance Band On The Titanic
- 12.Remember When The Music - Reprise
Recorded between 1972 and 1980. Includes liner notes by Barry Alfonso.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Audio Remasterer: Pat Kraus .
Liner Note Author: Barry Alfonso.
Photographer: Sherry Rayn Barnett.
Harry Chapin's skills as a songwriter include a strong narrative sense, a detail-centered approach to scene, and a deft ability with characterization. In a sense, Chapin is a writer of musical short stories, and these qualities are in ample evidence on THE ESSENTIALS. "Taxi," the lead-off track here and Chapin's first hit, is a tale of a cabbie's chance meeting with an old lover, and sports interesting string arrangements and a reflective, melancholic atmosphere. "W*O*L*D" is the story of an aimless disc jockey, while "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," a comic song, tells of a fruit deliveryman's slippery accident.
Despite his story-like verses, Chapin's choruses are often quite catchy, as on the hopeful "I Wanna Learn a Love Song" and the sprightly "Dreams Go By." The finest example of the story-song mix is probably "Cat's in the Cradle," Chapin's most known and emotionally resonant song. A heart-tugging tale of a underdeveloped father-son relationship, the tune was a huge hit and is still much-loved decades after its release. Like GREATEST STORIES LIVE (another fine Chapin sampler), THE ESSENTIALS hand-picks the artist's finest songs, and testifies to his status as one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the 1970s.