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Cat's In The Cradle by Harry Chapin

Album: Verities And BalderdashReleased: 1974Charted:
1
  • This heartbreaking song tells of a father and son who can't schedule time to be with each other, and it serves as a warning against putting one's career before family. The verses start out with a natural harmony and depict the tale of a father with his newborn son. Although dad gets the necessities of child rearing accomplished, he doesn't allow himself to put in quality time with his son because of his career. Initially, this seems like no big deal because of his hectic and oblivious life working and paying bills. The recurring verse has the son saying, "I'm gonna be like you Dad, you know I'm gonna be like you..." Over time, both father and son grow into a switching of life roles. The father realizes his son's ambitions and goals of college, grades, and driving and wants to spend more time with him, yet slowly grasps the reality that now his son has no time for such things. In the last verse, Chapin illustrates that the "son" is all grown up with a fast paced job and kids of his own. In a glaring twist of roles, we see that the son now has no time to spend with his father. Sadly, dad realizes that his boy has become just like him.
  • This song is based on a poem that Harry's wife Sandy wrote. She told us: "'Cat's In The Cradle' was a combination of a couple of things. Whenever I was on a long drive I would listen to Country music, because words would keep me awake more than just music. And I heard a song… I can remember the story, but I don't remember who sang it or what the title was, but an old couple were sitting at their breakfast table and looking out the window, and they saw the rusted swing and the sandbox, and they were reminiscing about the good old days when all the children were around and then the grandchildren, and how it passed, and now it's all gone. The other part of the idea – this is always a problem, because Harry introduced the song at all his concerts and said, 'This is a song my wife wrote to zap me because I wasn't home when our son Josh was born.' I was always kind of amused by that because of the fact that we learn life's lessons too late. We don't learn lessons before the fact. We don't have a child born and then have all this wisdom. So I always thought it was interesting the way he told the story. But I learned the story because my [first] husband was going to New York to be a lawyer, and I had a teaching job in New York. While we were apartment hunting, we were living with his parents in Brooklyn. His father was the borough president of Brooklyn at the time, which I think was a much more important job than it is today. But every day when he got home from work, he would start talking to his son about, 'It'd be great if you'd go down to the club on Tuesday night, I'd like to introduce you to some of the people I know,' and so forth. And he started trying to engineer a career for him which leads to politics. They did not have any relationship or communication because they had been so busy until his son went off to college and was gone. I don't remember exactly how, but he started talking to me. My father-in-law would say – and this is when we were all in the same room – and yet he would say to me, 'Tell Jimmy I would like to see him down at the clubhouse on Tuesday.' It was really very strange. So this is the way the evenings went. The conversation was going through me. So I realized what had happened. You know, relationships and characters and personalities and all those things are formed by two, so I realized that that hadn't happened. And it was very jerky at that stage. So I observed something that gave me the idea for the song."
  • It took the birth of his son for Harry Chapin to decide to turn the poem into a song. Says Sandy: "Harry and I would exchange writing of all kinds. We were always working on each other's writing. Some of my writing at a certain period were 20-page papers for a doctoral program at Columbia. So it wasn't always that poetic. But we both looked at each other's stuff. And then one time he came home and he said, 'What have you been doing?' I showed him 'Cat's In The Cradle,' and he said, 'Well, that's interesting.' You know, sometimes he'd pick up something and put music to it. And that didn't really grab him at all. And then after Josh was born, it did. He picked it up and he wrote music to it."
  • Sandy Chapin runs the Harry Chapin Foundation, which does what it can to continue supporting the causes Harry championed when he was alive. While Sandy does a lot of work for the foundation, her focus is her family and her role as an on-call grandmother for 6 grandchildren. As can be expected of the woman who wrote "Cat's In The Cradle," she values the time she can spend with them while they are still young. In our 2009 interview, she said: "The eldest of the 6 has just gone into 6th grade, which means not only does she live in a community where the kids grow up fast, but now she's in a middle school where everybody thinks they're teenagers and ought to be in high school. So you know, you have to grab those years. It used to be when I would drive up to the house, she would jump out and run and greet me, and say, 'Grandma, what's the project for today?' Because I would always bring some arts and crafts. We'd make Thanksgiving place cards, or Christmas tree ornaments. But all through the year I was always doing projects with them. So now she's answering her e-mail, she's on her cell phone and doing dates, walking around town with her friends, being a grownup, and doing all the after school activities. You have to grab that chance when you have it." (Read more in our interview with Sandy Chapin.)
  • The message about procrastination and missed opportunities makes this song an excellent parable for use in church sermons, where it remains very popular.
  • Harry Chapin included various symbols of childhood in the lyrics as reminders of how quickly it ends. "Cat's Cradle" is a game played with string, "Silver Spoons" are ornamental spoons for babies, and "Little Boy Blue" is a nursery rhyme. "Man In The Moon" could be about the human features children see when they look at the moon.
  • This song was used for a commercial in Northern Ireland about the troubles at the time. In the spot, a father is involved in one of the political groups and he isn't much of an example for his son (flash back father with gun running into house terrorizing family of opposite religion, etc.). Because of this the kid ends of following in his foot steps. It tried to send the message that following a bad example can become a vicious circle and unless we change, the troubles will never go away and our children will suffer. (thanks, Tess - L'Derry, Ireland)
  • Ugly Kid Joe released this as the second single from their 1992 album America's Least Wanted (their first single was "Everything About You"). In their remake, the lyric is changed to "Man ON the Moon," apparently thinking the song was referring to Neil Armstrong's 1969 lunar landing. (thanks, Brian - Indianapolis, IN)
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Comments: 69

Love the comments here. Realizing that 99.9% of lyrics of songs that I've heard are forgettable, have nothing really solid to say to most people. Even classic Beatles, I am the walrus, yeah, well, that made my life better. Love the songs, don't feel lyrics are adding value. But this one, this one -- this one changes lives. This one doesn't just make you go yeah, I know that feeling, it makes you go wow, I am going to change the way I handle my relationships. This is going to affect my behavior, strengthen my family, take advantage of these precious years. Realizing now that this may be one of the most valuable and important songs ever written. Look at all the people here whose lives have been changed. What a godsend to have this music as part of our culture.Mel - Glendale, Ca
Great tuneEmmy - Bellville, On
Being a father, I can really identify with this song....feeling the disconnect with your child and yearning to be close with your child, but only too late.....it brings melancholy tears to my eyes every time I hear it.Bruce - San Jose, Ca
One more thing... Sandy, if you read this... I want you to know that I'm so sad Harry's been gone these many years... but I'm so happy and grateful that you and Harry and your son Josh have been with me and my family forever... and Josh, please know that you, your Mom and your Dad will *always* be a part of our family. We love you guys.Steve - New Milford, Ct
As a father of four, I have tried to live my life as a father each day with these lyrics in mind and the warning they provide. I never waste an opportunity to spend time with any of my children when they show an interest to spend quality time. I also learned an important lesson from our family dog, who was never too tired, never too busy to put 100% of himself into members of his pack -- our family. Harry transitioned his voice in the original from a young father to an old man, if you listen for it. Little Boy Blue - outwardly smiling but inwardly sad son... Man on the Moon - visible but distant father... I'm gonna be like you "Dad"-to-I'm gonna be like "him" -- a son detaching from his father. Increments of time, roughly ten years apart between verses -- time is short, so short, too short... reversal of roles... a lesson learned by a father too late and possibly a mistake in the process of happening by a new generation. This song is so sad on so many levels, I can barely fathom it. Sandy, thank you so much -- God bless you, your son Josh and Harry for putting to music a song that will probably remain relevant for as long as humanity exists on this planet.Steve - New Milford, Ct
Harry Chapin's friend (the sportswriter Tony Kornheiser) wrote, "Harry Chapin should have been a millionaire - but every year at least half of his concerts were free, either for charity or as a benefit".

And former Run–D.M.C. performer Darryl McDaniels used it for the chorus of his song "Just Like Me" (with Sarah McLachlan singing that chorus) on being adopted.
Ed - Lebanon, Nh
this song has been redone twice that i know of ,kidd rock , ugly kid joe, and this is the best the orgional.Wess - Moorhead, Mn
Funny parody, "Cat's in the Kettle" helps to listen to it after the original, to take away some of the painful sadness of Harry's lyrics. . .Cyberpope - Richmond, Canada
Our religion teacher played this for us at an all-girl Catholic school when I was 14. I am glad because I made sure to spend all my time with all 9 children.Nancy - Baltimore, Md
I can't decide if this song, or "The Living Years" is more gut wrenching. They both hold a special place in my heart, and I shed a tear every time I hear either one. True classics.Paul - Detroit, Mi
To Every Father: You always have an extra minute for your child. That minute is more important than you will every know. Don't live with regret.

To Every Son: You will learn the painful burn of compromise as you get older. Don't harbor anomosity and don't pass it on.
Gus - Fort Smith, Ar
Dad - my best friend, my father, and my grandfather. (He is) Dying, and unable to respond due to a stroke and a tube; this song came to me and I sang it, in tears, to him........

I tried to be the opposite of what my dad wanted me to be. As it turns out, I am just like him....And very glad. As I listen to the last verse, I know it now to be in heaven.
Richard W. - Montgomery, Al, Al
the end of this song, in the line "as I hung up the phone it occured to me, he'd grown up just like me. my boy was just like me." still makes me depressed to this day, even after I've heard it a hundred times. The whole song, but especially that last verse, is really gut wrenching. Nonetheless, this is still a great song and should serve as as a reminder to parents to make sure they spend enough time with their kids while their still young, before it's too late.Brad - Lexington, Ky
Incredibly true and powerful song that sums up the father-son relationship for many generations. As the sole bread winner, fathers were practically driven out of the home to provide for their families. My father, a great man, worked for the railroad when I was a baby and toddler. He told me not long ago that his one regret is not being around when my brother and I were very young. He was not a man driven by greed or desire for material wealth, but rather for the desire to give his family the best things he could. As much as we love each other, our relationship has always been a little distant. I have two sons now, and thanks to a wife who makes a good income, I now get to spend more time with my kids than she does. I try to treasure every day we have together. It all passes so fast. The cradle and stuffed animals are already packed away. Diapers are a distant memory. Where have my babies gone? Too soon I will be asking where my little boys have gone.Shawn - Green Bay, Wi
I love this song this is like m lifes story my dad is a very hard worker and i love him tell the day i die but he never had time with me my sister and mother died when i was 10 my sister had a babby and he was 3 and i had one brother thats 3 years younger than me and i had to basicaly raise them and still tothis day iv moved out of my house and dennis has live with me which is mmy sisters boy and hes growen up strong as can be and is still strugling with the death of his mother but we get through ever day day by day if anyone ever needs a time to talk im here my numbers 6056616908 im always able to talk or at least text my dad and i hardly talk cuz he still dont have time for me but anyhow later everyoneEric - Yankton, Sd
A terrible song, meant in the best way. I cannot listen to Chapin's version nor Ugly Kid Joe's since this song relates to how much I wanted to be like my father. He was a lifer (Navy) and I wanted to eminate him so bad, then my life was destroyed through my parent's divorce (on my birthday!!!) and he had another family. I now do not want my son to be like me and I spend as much time with him as possible.Eric - Mentor, Oh
As ironic as it is, my life turned out exactly like the song. My father divorced my mom when I was about 5. He clearly favored his two older children but not me or my 2 younger sisters. I moved on a long time ago. He was a very successful, highly paid executive. He retired and when my mother was on her death bed, showed up with his wife. Too little, too late and his wife is mean and cruel.Robin - Pembroke Pines, Fl
I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I would get almost anything I wanted, except my father's attention. It is very painful to know that I will never get the affection that I require from my dad. If I could, I would trade all the material things I had for what money can't buy; a father's love and time for his son.
As a result, I do not speak to my father anymore, I had to disown him because of the pain it caused me over the years. It hurt too much. I felt powerless as there was no way that my father would change. Over time, I did become like him. I work alot and do not see him anymore.
When the song "Cat's in the Cradle" came on the radio in 1975, I could relate to it and felt that my life was a mirror image of the song. Through all the pain as a teenager, I felt comforted by the song as it was a warning to my dad that if he continued to be distant emotionally, then one day I would not have time for him.
That time came in 1999 when I had enough. I do not speak to my parents anymore. I do not speak to my sisters either as they covered up the physical (not sexual) and emotional abuse from my childhood until I disowned my family.
My godmother called a couple of weeks ago to inform me that my dad was dying and that I should go see him. I informed her why I did not want to see him anymore.
I have not heard from her since. I feel that I have no parents. The thing that I wanted the most is what I will never have.
I tried to have a family of my own, but my wife miscarried after 8 weeks following a total of 4 invetro attempts. I cried for 2 weeks knowing that I would never be able to give a child of my own the love and attention that I never received.
There is an emptyness that I cannot shake. I have 4 houses and all the material things that I could want. But I will never have what I need. That is why I can relate to the song. I guess I turned out just like him.
Anonymous
a touching song, my dad spent his whole life making me happy, taught me everything football, baseball, motorcycle racing anything I wanted dad made sure I got it I wouldn't trade my childhood for nothin, this song was always on my playlist, I have grown kids now and treat them like my dad taught me, I remember hearing of Harry's passing and thinking damn I can never see him perform, I since went to see Gordon Lightfoot because of that, I need to go watch my grandkids now, love them too! Thanks HarryHarry - Sterling Hts, Mi
I fell in love with Harry Chapin's musical stories when I when I saw him sing "Taxi" on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (circa '72?). I'm guessing I was about 14 at the time.

(And I'm leaving out the part about "The Miami Memorial S--tkickers Choir" in '79. I'm sure we can all guess which song I'm talking about there...)

When I was married the second time, my husband and I just sat staring at each other in complete shock when it was announced on the radio that Harry Chapin had died in a fiery accident on the Long Island Expressway. (We lived in Florida.) We had to actually watch the TV news to believe it.

I was quite surprised when I found my daughter using "Cat's in the Cradle" for a lullaby with my grandchildren. She reminded me that I'd sung it to her when she was little, too. (Amazing what kids remember.) She was also the one who told me about it being covered by Guns'n'Roses.
Rhiannnonn - Lakewood, Nj
For all those concerned of how Harry passed, he was rear ended by a tractor trailer on the L.I.E. going to a business meeting. He was driving his daughters VW Rabbit since his tape player in his van was not working at the time. Please feel free to read the book "TAXI...The Harry Chapin Story" buy Mark Cohen. If you want to see soethign eerie, look at his "SEQUEL" album cober. The light on top of the cab says "off duty" and his cab number was 81A7. That was his last recorded album. Harry, you are and always will be the best at what you did, touch the hearts and souls of the normal person. GOD BLESSJoe - Allentown, Pa
For all those concerned of how Harry passed, he was rear ended by a tractor trailer on the L.I.E. going to a business meeting. He was driving his daughters VW Rabbit since his tape player in his van was not working at the time. Please feel free to read the book "TAXI...The Harry Chapin Story" buy Mark Cohen. If you want to see soethign eerie, look at his "SEQUEL" album cober. The light on top of the cab says "off duty" and his cab number was 81A7. That was his last recorded album. Harry, you are and always will be the best at what you did, touch the hearts and souls of the normal person. GOD BLESSJoe - Allentown, Pa
I hate to tell you this but GnR never did cat's in the cradle, sorry to ruin for you, but Ugly Kid Joe did and it went to #7 in the UK, also Ricky Skaggs and Johnny Cash coverd it also, Cat Stephans never did it, people think that he did cause there is a cat in the name? but it is one of the best story songs in history, play it loud and play it proud!!Arizona - Tombstone, Az
I really took this song to heart and have always lived my life based on its warnings as to what can happen when you let life get in the way of family. As a result I have a wonderful relationship with my kids.Robert - Denver, Co
HEY !!!! To: Dana, New York, NY

Must have been 'Heaven on Earth' being part of his life. I still cry. Although I can't imagine how you took it.

THANKS FOR SHARING HARRY. God Bless You.

-Black Adder N.Y.

And like yourself, I think of him every day. (well maybe every other day, being honest).
David - Tappan, Ny
Dad and I where... Cat's in the Cradle in the Silver Moon..(Harry Chapin/ Cat Stevens 1974)... for our (my) 40 yrs..growin up..... but we made up for the last 6 yrs, before he left us.....(May 2004)..... I told HIM.... we will finally... someday...play catch... just like Field of Dreams movie...experience...Very Kewl.... I still... miss him....a lot....I'm sure he would be luvin (he's already seen her just like the Movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze) his new great granddaughter: Hali'a (Aloha) Kori C. (4-10-08) The definition our new Grand baby...name (my son JOSH and Jen - my new daughter-in-law 2007)..lost her brother (Cory) to Leukemia 2 yrs ago...so Hali'a means...in Hawaiian -- in Remembrance of..then Kori...for her brother...

Even though I put in 50-60 hrs a week... I never ever missed any of my BOYS...NOW all grown MEN...their soccer matches or any other events... plus we used to stay up till 1 a.m. playin indoor basketball hoops at fitness center..bruised/swelled knees/ elbows...cuts and bleeding bruises and so...with my 11yr older sister which we were NEVER close anyway and the Cat's in the Cradle Saga with Poppsi... me and my three guys was always termed as not dad and the three C. boys, it was like the 4 IOWA GROWN Sullivan Brothers... cruisen... Whether it was White Water Rafting down Arkansas River in cat. 6's rapids in Colorado...or gettin chased in Grand Bahamas by Sand Sharks...while snorkling... WE HAD EXTREME FUN... NOW there all grown up and giving Grandpa (me)a WILD KEWL Experience of being a GRANDPOOO for the 1st time...and Spoiling...your Grand Children is VERY KEWL...WARM EXPERIENCE... I may have to DUST off that OLE 30 year old Velveteen SANTAS SUIT....I'm spoiling her (Hali'a) rotten right now (that's what 1st time Grandpa's are for!!!).... I had a great visit in April....in Denver...I almost turned around in North Platte..and back to Denver....and almost, said screw this, and U guys...sell the C. Prp, LLC....

My Lwittle Shirley Temple...is adoriable also see her website

Grandpa Dennis (1st time GP)
Dennis - Des Moines, Ia
In the 2007 movie Shrek the Third, Eddie Murphy (Donkey) sings the chorus line (to Shrek's irritation) when Shrek learns that he is going to be a fatherThang - Led Zep, Viet Nam
Sorry Neil, you're mistaken.
"This song was also covered by Cat Stevens and Guns 'n' Roses - making it at least four people who have covered it. And to be honest if i was in a big rich rock band - i would cover it too, it is just so good taht everyone wants to put their own spin on it. I have only hard the Cat Stevens, GnR and ugly kid versions and they are all unique, but all capture the emotion of the song perfectly
- Neil, London, England"

The Ugly Kid Joe cover of the song is often mistaken for a Guns N' Roses or a Skid Row cover of the song. Neither band has ever recorded this song and it has often been mislabeled as such on Limewire and other downloading programs. This version peaked at #7 on the UK singles chart.

I believe someone else already mentioned that it had never been done by cat stevens either, so i'll leave that one.
Jenna - Blacktown, Australia
I'm just visiting this song again because it is so good. Over my years I've felt the importance of this song. I've reviewed the messages here just now, including my own, and I agree with you all. This song is about as profound as they come. When I was younger, when the song was released, I "felt" the importance if it even then. Over the years, whenever I heard it I came to know more and more what it had to say. I hope I continue to learn more from this song and from other things.
John Martin, 46, TX.
John - Fort Worth, Tx
F.Y.I. Harry was my half-brother so I can provide some facts. The song was based on a poem Harry's wife, Sandy, wrote about her first husband who was an alchoholic who virtual abandoned their three children whom Harry subsequently adopted. Sandy showed it to Harry as a warning when he was on the road too much and he made it into a song. Harry was on his way to a business meeting from his home on Long Island to New York City when he died in the car crash. Ironically enough, a meeting to discuss how he could manage his career to spend more time with his family. Heart attack led to accident or accident led to heart attack we'll never know. He wasn't carrying any ID so there was a delay in identifying his body. Harry was scheduled to play a free concert at Eisenhower Park on L.I. that evening so there was a full audience waiting for him when his death was announced. The performance area was later re-named in his memory. His younger children were 10 and 7 when he died. Harry was only 38 years old. None of us knows how long we have - give of yourself to your loved ones. What other legacy is more valuable?
Dana Chapin, New York City
Dana - New York, Ny
According to Nassau County Medical Center in Long Island, NY he died at 1:05 pm. - While in route to perform at a charitable event.

His autopsy showed he had experienced a heart attack in addition to the car crash. Which came first was unclear.
Chris - Austin, Tx
On July 16, 1981, Chapin was driving to a business meeting on the Long Island Expressway near Jericho, NY, when his car was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The accident caused his gas tank to explode, killing the singer/songwriter in the process. A memorial fund was established in his name following his death, with Elektra Records providing the initial donation of 10,000 dollars.

His family still operates a website of charity in his name, check it by searching for his name.
Chris - Austin, Tx
I'm 45 and my father is 69. We've both lived in the same county since we were born. I have listened to this song over the many years and it has always reminded me of the easy, year-to-year relationship I've had with my father. It wasn't always a good relationship or a bad relationship, but it was certainly an easy one. The longer I live the more I like everything, especially this song. John Martin, Fort Worth, TX.John - Fort Worth, Tx
Not quite, Joe. When he had his accident he was on his way to a concert at Eisenhower Park on Long Island. The outdoor theater there was subsequently renamed in his honor. The accident was near exit 40 on the Long Island ExpresswayGregg - East Rockaway, Ny
not really true... the son didnt grow up just like his dad because the son was succesful and made time to work and have fun with his family but the song is like the story because the time flys fast but ya i guess soAlex - Pennsylvania, Fl
The plot of the song perfectly matches the plot of the movie 'click' with adam sandler.
especially the line "he'd grown up just like me, my boy was just like me"
Lexie - Haifa, Israel
In the book, "We Don't Die", George Anderson's Conversations With The Other Side; George recalls a session in which Harry Chapin communicates with him from "the other side". Very interesting. By the way, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has suffered with the loss of a loved one.Cheryl - Richmond, Va
I'm now 62 and never had a dad, so I gave one to my son right away! He's now 33 and we still see each other when Im there in town.
He sent me this song a while back and Im hearing it,for the first time [again], just to remind me of the time lost and the "I love,you's" that need to be said. he's thoughtful and kind, concerned and truthful,aware of peoples feelings, has a sense of humor and yet serious about too much. "He grew up to be alot like me"
Frank - Goldsboro, Nc
I am a 13 year old child who strongly believes in this song. Without going into nature vs. nurture, I think that this song reflects the truth in all of us. We follow in our parent's footsteps. This song is a good, one and after my father heard it at a Tom Chapin concert when I was younger he started to spend more time at home. I think that I made him feel a little guilty...Nicholas - New York, Ny
The car accident was on the way to a show in Central Park.Joe - Fort Meade, Md
When did Guns N Roses ever cover this song?Austin - Boston, Ma
Died of heart attack directly after car crash on 7-16-81.John - Mt Sterling, Ky
I believe Harry Chapin died in a plane crash, not an auto accident.Brandon - Peoria, Il
Unfortunately this is the case for most of us. Papa works and Mama takes care of the kids. My husband and I arranged our working schedules so that we each have to take time to raise the kids so neither of us miss out on too much of their development. we suffered from the 'we'll catch up later' syndrom that plagues many parents just trying to keep up. I teach this song to my students here so that maybe one of them might think about life and what is really important.Marty - Salzburg, United States
good song, covered by Guns N' RosesSpencer - Mcbride, Canada
Do not confuse with Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" - another great song. I heard a story that Harry Chapin died in a car accident not long after this song was released?Daniel - Melbourne, Australia
Toby Keith did not cover this sappy song..Country bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs did perhaps thats who you were thinking of Nathan...Forrest - Los Angeles, Ca
ugly kid joe and toby keith did covers of thisNathan - L-burg, Ky
There are many songs making you reflect about your past and perhaps your future...but this is probably the best. At some point in ones life no matter how many times you've heard this song something will happen and you will suddenly understand the meaning of this tune. For a close second listen to The Walk by Sawyer Brown. No dry eyes here.David Mcintosh - Ontario, Canada
I'm 44, just FYI. The time persective is important.John - Fort Worth, Tx
I always belivied that this song was about a man who had a boy child and was divorced while he had to work. The last verse always meant a lot to me over the last twenty years because I am very much like my own father, life is good, and life's too short.

John Martin, Fort Worth
John - Fort Worth, Tx
One of the great storysongs of all-time. i remember the Ugly Kid Joe version well.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
My son was born in October '04, and my father passed away in November. It was a pretty powerful instance of torch-passing. Earlier this year I was driving home from work and heard this song came on the radio. I had to pull over. My father was never around, was very selfish, and though I loved him, not a very good parent. If the only achievement I have from now until my time comes is for my son not to feel the same way about me then I will have been a success.Chris - Elk River, Mn
i first herd this song on the radio i feel in love with his music so i know have of his songsKyle - Hampton Bays, Ny
Isn't it interesting that it was Harry's wife who actually wrote the lyrics.Helen - Port Moody, Canada
I inwardly wither when I hear this one. At the time it was a hit in 1975 I was celebrating my newfound freedom away from my parents while in the Marine Corps. At home during the weekends Dad would ask if he and I could go for a drive somewhere, and I'd decline, into my own agenda items. Now that I'm 49 I would give a great deal to once again have a prolonged conversational session with the Old Man, who died 23 years ago. Guilt, guilt, guilt. I am very happy to report, however, that I haven't been an absent father to my own three children - so I guess this song had a decided good influence upon me.Wes - Springfield, Va
My 2 year old son insists that I sing him to sleep with this song, so I've had had a chance to reflect on it in detail. It has the most efficiently written and layered song that I know of. Not a word is wasted. The children's stories in the refrain describe the relationship. Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon are the provisions of the father; Little Boy Blue describes the son, while the Man in the Moon is the distant dad. The 10 year old son is 'walking away' in more than one respect and the next time we meet the pair it is too late for dad. 'The other day' is repeated throughout and hammers home the shortness of life''Well, not on my watch little buddy.Mike - Hamilton, Canada
Exactly Pete! I aggree, and think it's a great lesson to learn too.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
It has never been covered by Cat Stevens. Here is a quote from Cat Steven's personal web site ( http://catstevens.com/faq/ ).

"Recently there have been a number of Cat's In The Cradle MP3 files on file sharing services that claim to be either Cat Stevens, or Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens. They are not, it's just Harry. Or in some cases some other artist who recorded the song. Cat not only didn't write the song but never performed it. Not live, not in the studio, and not even privately."
Richrd - Brisbane, Australia
I first heard the song sung by the comedian Jim Davidson during one of his stand up shows. Must have been about 15 years ago. I was only a child then myself. Now I have children and remember the song in many instances of my life.Paul - Liverpool, England
This song was also covered by Cat Stevens and Guns 'n' Roses - making it at least four people who have covered it. And to be honest if i was in a big rich rock band - i would cover it too, it is just so good taht everyone wants to put their own spin on it. I have only hard the Cat Stevens, GnR and ugly kid versions and they are all unique, but all capture the emotion of the song perfectlyNeil - London, England
this song was also covered by ricky skaggsJim - Baileyton, Ak
Great song, sadly this song is too true for to many fathers and sons, including me, so I hope that maybe it will change at least one persons outlook on career importance and family.Joe - Minneapolis, Mn
i love this song although its a great deal older then i its still one of the best in my eyesAndrea - Toledo, Oh
This song takes a meaning that what the father or mother does the son or daughter will do. So they need to watch what they do with thier time.Jolie - Bellwood, Il
THIS SONG IS A REMIMDER TO EVERY FATHER AND MOTHER THAT TIME IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR CHILDREN AND YOU CAN NEVER MAKE UP THE TIME- THANK GOODNESS WE REALIZE THAT MORE WITH EACH GENERATION-Jeanece - Price, Ut
This song can be considered timeless, because its meaning will still hold true 10, 25, 50, 100, even 1,000 years from now.Patrick - Conyers, Ga
i think this is a great way for fathers to reflect on what their atitude is to their children. the message is that your personality influences your childrenBrett - Winnipeg, Canada
what a great story ,fathers take notePete - Nowra, Australia