Long Island, NY Harry Chapin Dies in Auto Wreck, Jul 1981
Police said no charges are being filed against the driver, ROBERT EGGLETON, 57, of South Plainfield, N. J.
CHAPIN was declared dead shortly afterward at Nassau County Medical Center, where he had been taken by a police helicopter. No cause of death has been determined, pending an autopsy.
CHAPIN was en route to New York City on business from his Long Island house, said Guy Thomas, a publicist for his management company.
CHAPIN was born Dec. 7, 1942, in New York's Greenwich Village. His father, Jim Chapin, was a drummer who worked with bandleaders Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman, and the younger CHAPIN played the trumpet as a child before taking up guitar. He played folk music during his years at the Air Force Academy and Cornell University, where he studied architecture and philosophy.
In 1964, he left school to join his brothers TOM and STEPHEN and his father in a group called the Chapin Brothers. They made a record, "Chapin Music,''but disbanded when TOM and STEPHEN returned to school.
CHAPIN applied for a taxi driver's license, which in part inspired "Taxi"-- but then, turned to film working his way up from loading reels to editing and then making documentaries. One of them "Legendary Champions," was nominated for an Oscar in 1969.
The CHAPIN Brothers got back together in 1970 and recorded an album featuring several songs that would later appear on CHAPIN'S own records. A year later, CHAPIN formed his own group which included his brother STEVE.
They rented the Village Gate and performed there all summer, after which CHAPIN signed a recording contract with Elektra-Asylum.
"Taxi," a single from his debut album "Heads and Tails," came out in 1972, and its success was a bit of a surprise because it was six minutes long.
CHAPIN liked to tell stories with his songs. In an Associated Press interview in February, CHAPIN said, "Nobody during the past decade so consistently has used the extended narrative form. For stories of ordinary people and cosmic moments in their non-cosmic lives, you have to turn back to HARRY CHAPIN."
He added, "And I think I've had the most social and political involvement of any singer-songwriter in America."
Last fall, CHAPIN campaigned for five Republicans and 19 Democrats for Congress "who were good on huger issues," he said.
In the last three years, bad for the recording and pop music concert business, CHAPIN was increasingly successful in concert because he projected warmth and reality on stage.
In 1980, CHAPIN gave 250 concerts, which he said were the most he'd given in a year. More than half, he said 130 to 135, were benefit concerts.
BOB HINKLE, CHAPIN'S manager, said, "A major part of the legacy of HARRY CHAPIN will be his absolutely unflagging dedication to the alleviation of world hunger. Over the last eight years, HARRY raised in excess of $5 million toward that end."
The Post-Standard Syracuse New York 1981-07-17