Friday, May 24, 2013

"Sequel" by Harry Chapin

Song#:  0385
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  70
Peak:  23
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Contemporary Folk

Pop Bits:  Movie sequels are all too frequent, but in music it is much more rare to have song or album sequels. Even rarer, a song and its sequel both hitting the chart. Chapin accomplished this when his song "Taxi" hit #24 in 1972 (his first chart entry) and then this appropriately titled single peaked one-notch higher eight years later. The story told in "Taxi" about a taxi driver and a fare that happened to be a former lover, gets picked up ten years later in "Sequel" when the former taxi driver, now a successful musician, seeks out his old flame and former cab rider. Many song sequels maintain the original's theme or story, but it is usually put to different music. For the most part, Chapin keeps the music from "Taxi" and makes it sound as if "Sequel" is simply picking up where the original ended. Unfortunately, due to a heart attack/car crash, Chapin died the following year and this ended up being his final charting single. It's so strange that his singles chart history starts with "Taxi" and ends with "Sequel," peaking within a notch of each other. In between these songs came his chart-topping pop classic, "Cats in the Cradle" from 1974.

ReduxReview:  These two Chapin songs are more like folk-stories than actual pop music or singles as there is really no verse/chorus going on and the focus is on the lyrics and story. But the music is engaging and keeps things rolling, which apparently worked due to these going Top 25. I do like them both, but I think the story in Taxi is more convincing (and true - as Chapin has said that about 60% of the song is based on a real event). As I've said before, I'm a sucker for a good story song and the pair really do work well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Prior to his decision to pursue music, Chapin's original career choice was to be a documentary film maker. He did direct/write one documentary in 1968 called "Legendary Champions," which was about older championship boxers. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.


1 comment:

  1. Chart Run: 70 - 54 - 44 - 36 - 29 - 25 - 23 - 23 - 38 - 38 - 55 - 63 - 71 - 89