Harry Chapin Is Gone, but Friends Carry His Song in Their Hearts
updated 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
Throughout the evening Harry Chapin's music—"Taxi," "Circle," "Cat's in the Cradle"—was interspersed with anecdotes of the man. Kenny Rogers recalled handing over $1 million for Chapin's World Hunger foundation, thinking that would buy him a little gratitude—and a little peace. "It's only a drop in the bucket," said Chapin, urging him to do more. "There was no saying no to Chapin," says Rogers. "No meant maybe, and maybe meant yes." Pat Benatar, whom Chapin discovered in a Long Island nightclub, gave an emotional rendition of "Shooting Star." "Harry always told me, 'Ya gotta rough it up a little,' " she said. "Well, Harry, I hope you're listening, because I think I finally got it."
Capitol Hill finally got it, too, voting this year to award Chapin the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts to raise money and awareness to combat world hunger. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont presented the award to Harry's widow, Sandy, who helps to make sure Harry's charities—and his message—survive and prosper. It seems to be working. Paul Simon, when asked why he had come, answered, "I'm doing a concert Sunday at Madison Square Garden, and I didn't want to feel like I don't have time for anybody else." One for me. One for the other guy. One for all.