Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Harry Chapin

  • Heads and Tails [Elektra, 1972] C-
  • Short Stories [Elektra, 1973] D+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Heads and Tails [Elektra, 1972]
This young man takes his lost loves very seriously. Breaking up is hard to do, Neil Sedaka said that, but he didn't make a career out of it. Stash that bill in your shirt while the stashing's good, Harry. C-

Short Stories [Elektra, 1973]
Harry had a problem. He wanted to write a song about a DJ, kind of a follow-up to "Taxi," just to prove it wasn't a fluke. Harry doesn't meet many real people, so cabbies and DJs provide that touch of social realism. He wanted to set the song in Boise, Idaho, not because he had anything to say about Boise, but because "Idaho" rhymed with "late night talk show." Unfortunately, call letters that far west start with K rather than W, which messed up his rhythm. Akron, Ohio? Wrong rhythm again. Denver, Colorado? Nope. So he called it "WOLD" and hoped no one would notice. Note: this analysis is nowhere near as longwinded as Harry's stories. D+