Cat's In The Cradle

Album: Verities And Balderdash (1974)
Charted: 1
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  • My child arrived just the other day
    He came to the world in the usual way
    But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
    He learned to walk while I was away
    And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
    He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, dad"
    "You know I'm gonna be like you"

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    "When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when"
    But we'll get together then
    You know we'll have a good time then

    My son turned ten just the other day
    He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play
    Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today
    I got a lot to do, he said, that's okay
    And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
    It said, I'm gonna be like him, yeah
    You know I'm gonna be like him

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    "When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when"
    But we'll get together then
    You know we'll have a good time then

    Well, he came from college just the other day
    So much like a man I just had to say
    Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?
    He shook his head, and he said with a smile
    What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
    See you later, can I have them please?

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    "When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when"
    But we'll get together then, dad
    You know we'll have a good time then

    I've long since retired and my son's moved away
    I called him up just the other day
    I said, I'd like to see you if you don't mind
    He said, I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
    You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kids have the flu
    But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
    It's been sure nice talking to you
    And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
    He'd grown up just like me
    My boy was just like me

    And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    "When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when"
    But we'll get together then, dad
    We're gonna have a good time then

Comments: 87

  • Norma from CaI attended a time management course TimeQuest through my job many years ago and the instructor used Cat’s in the Cradle as an example how importance it is to manage ones time and not take it for granted. I’ll never forget the song and the lesson
  • Julee from HereMy dad was in a lot of clubs and activities .he was out a lot .I liked it when he was out, when I was growing up because it was a lot calmer at home .......and we felt a lot freer
  • Lazz from NjThe son respected his father as a progressive go getter, and being the bread winner but overlooking time missed until stuck in the fast and hard pace of work or suffer...
  • Paul Ray from 43221Harry had many life oriented songs that we could relate to. "Taxi" was another song that reminds me of one "that got away." I still wonder about the moment and regret my priorities at the time.
  • Risible from NyI love the Ugly Kid Joe version, but they f'ed the chorus up. What makes the original so powerful is the repeated "When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when" that changes to "When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when" when his son gets older. In Ugly Kid Joe's version every chorus uses "When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when" which makes no sense early on.
  • Kriz from UkFor me, I think the main clue has been missed by many. The repeated line “I’m gonna he like you, dad” suggests to me that even from a young age, the son is developing a sense of resentment towards his father and is already calculating how to turn the tables on his dad. Just a thought
  • Jason D from CoI am a single dad with sole custody of two amazing girls. My life is centered around them. Thus song though, brings me to tears every time I hear it. Has all my life. It is the worry of my dad and me. I all I wanted was him to pay attention. To me as a kid, and I thought world of him. All he thought of was his own life. When I got older, I moved closer to home to be near him and my mom. He still doesn’t understand or seek what he lost with my or my little daughters. For me though, I raise my kids 100% in the other direction. This song though still gets to me. That sadness in that boy is mine... but I vowed to never be that dad. For me, I am l for this song, even though I hate listening to it.
  • Dorothy West from Nc It’s so sad most people don’t take time to get to know their family. They’ve got time they don’t use it wisely
  • Jess'meanin'88 from Moncton, CanadaI think this song is about raising your kids. If you don't watch yourself as a parent. Your kid may not grow up and end up the way you raised them but actually a little more like you, which in all reality was the last thing you had wanted. You wanted your kid to become better then what you had did as a person bc honestly their are traits about each of us that I'm sure we don't like very much about ourselves. two cents
  • Tony from CalgaryMy good friend Frank got me going on his music.
  • Mark from Sauquoit, NyThis song has special meaning for me. I get sad listening to it even tho I give 100% to my kids. I think about me and my Dad and my kids. Great song.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenI was gonna play ball with my son, but I browsed this site for hours instead. Thanks a lot, Songfacts.
  • Ivan from Vienna, Va.My kids make fun of how I get emotional from this song. I do believe they understand my feelings to a degree, and the message of this song. I tell them that with time their perspective on such notions will have a deeper and similar meaning as my own. I am thankful that they seemingly agree with me, as life is fleeting, and our collective futures are at best uncertain.
  • Bryan from Atlanta, GaI think the message this song presents is simply this: If you don't spend time with your children when they're young, don't expect them to spend time with you when you're old.
  • Vic from LaFirst heard this song on an album by Johnny Cash. His version is great too.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 26th 1975, Harry Chapin's Broadway revue 'The Night That Made America Famous' opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City...
    The revue ran for forty-seven performances and was nominated for two Tony Awards...
    At the time Harry's "I Wanna Learn A Love Song" was at #77 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little under four weeks later on March 23rd it would peak at #44 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 9 weeks...
    It reached #36 on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    Earlier in February of 1975 on the 8th, "Cat's In the Cradle" was at #70 and was featured in the revue, and the 8th was also its last day on the Top 100...
    Between 1972 and 1980 he had seven Top 100 records; one made the Top 10, but that was a big one, "Cat's In the Cradle" peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on December 15th, 1974...
    May he R.I.P.
  • A Mom 1953 from United StatesI cried one day while hearing this song, as I really paid attention to the meaning of the words. My son's dad and I divorced when he was only 3. I raised him alone and in my opinion, I did an excellent job. My own son is now grown and the dad of 2 beautiful daughters, ages 13 and 17. He is happily married for almost 19 years, and married his best friend. We are very blessed. I hope in turn, people realize with this songs meaning that money can buy material things, of course, but money can't buy the time and affection you can give to your children. In today's society, the cell phones, laptops, Ipads, etc, has taken its toll on our youth. So, parents (Moms and Dads) everywhere: Stop and smell the roses... and let Your children smell the roses with You! You'll never regret it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny***He'd grown up just like me, my boy was just like me***
    On September 29th 1974, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and on December 15th, 1974 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 19 weeks on the Top 100...
    In 1993 Ugly Kid Joe covered the song; his version peaked at #6 {for 1 week} on the Top 100 on April 4th, 1993...
    Country singer Ricky Skaggs released his version in 1996, it peaked at #45 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart...
    Sadly, Harry Chapin passed away on July 16th, 1981 at the young age of 38...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Mel from Glendale, CaLove 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.
  • Emmy from Bellville, OnGreat tune
  • Bruce from San Jose, CaBeing 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 brings melancholy tears to my eyes every time I hear it.
  • Steve from New Milford, CtOne 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 from New Milford, CtAs 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.
  • Ed from Lebanon, NhHarry 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.

  • Wess from Moorhead, Mnthis song has been redone twice that i know of ,kidd rock , ugly kid joe, and this is the best the orgional.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaFunny 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. . .
  • Nancy from Baltimore, MdOur 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.
  • Paul from Detroit, MiI 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.
  • Gus from Fort Smith, ArTo 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.
  • Richard W. from Montgomery, Al, AlDad - 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.
  • Brad from Lexington, Kythe 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.
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiIncredibly 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.
  • Eric from Yankton, SdI 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 everyone
  • Eric from Mentor, OhA 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.
  • Robin from Pembroke Pines, FlAs 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.
  • AnonymousI 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.
  • Harry from Sterling Hts, Mia 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 Harry
  • Rhiannnonn from Lakewood, NjI 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.
  • Joe from Allentown, PaFor 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 BLESS
  • Joe from Allentown, PaFor 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 BLESS
  • Arizona from Tombstone, AzI 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!!
  • Robert from Denver, CoI 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.
  • David from Tappan, NyHEY !!!! 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.


    -Black Adder N.Y.

    And like yourself, I think of him every day. (well maybe every other day, being honest).
  • Dennis from Des Moines, IaDad 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... 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 (my son JOSH and Jen - my new daughter-in-law 2007)..lost her brother (Cory) to Leukemia 2 yrs Hali'a 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 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 adoriable also see her website

    Grandpa Dennis (1st time GP)

  • Thang from Led Zep, Viet NamIn 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 father
  • Jenna from Blacktown, AustraliaSorry 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.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI'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.
  • Dana from New York, NyF.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
  • Chris from Austin, TxAccording 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 from Austin, TxOn 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.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI'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.
  • Gregg from East Rockaway, NyNot 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 Expressway
  • Alex from Pennsylvania, Flnot 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 so
  • Lexie from Haifa, IsraelThe 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"
  • Cheryl from Richmond, VaIn 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.
  • Frank from Goldsboro, NcI'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"
  • Nicholas from New York, NyI 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...
  • Joe from Fort Meade, MdThe car accident was on the way to a show in Central Park.
  • Austin from Boston, MaWhen did Guns N Roses ever cover this song?
  • John from Mt Sterling, KyDied of heart attack directly after car crash on 7-16-81.
  • Brandon from Peoria, IlI believe Harry Chapin died in a plane crash, not an auto accident.
  • Marty from Salzburg, United StatesUnfortunately 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.
  • Spencer from Mcbride, Canadagood song, covered by Guns N' Roses
  • Daniel from Melbourne, AustraliaDo 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?
  • Forrest from Los Angeles, CaToby Keith did not cover this sappy song..Country bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs did perhaps thats who you were thinking of Nathan...
  • Nathan from L-burg, Kyugly kid joe and toby keith did covers of this
  • David Mcintosh from Ontario, CanadaThere 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.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI'm 44, just FYI. The time persective is important.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI 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
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnOne of the great storysongs of all-time. i remember the Ugly Kid Joe version well.
  • Chris from Elk River, MnMy 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.
  • Kyle from Hampton Bays, Nyi first herd this song on the radio i feel in love with his music so i know have of his songs
  • Helen from Port Moody, CanadaIsn't it interesting that it was Harry's wife who actually wrote the lyrics.
  • Wes from Springfield, VaI 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.
  • Mike from Hamilton, CanadaMy 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.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScExactly Pete! I aggree, and think it's a great lesson to learn too.
  • Richrd from Brisbane, AustraliaIt has never been covered by Cat Stevens. Here is a quote from Cat Steven's personal web site ( ).

    "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."
  • Paul from Liverpool, EnglandI 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.
  • Neil from London, EnglandThis 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
  • Jim from Baileyton, Akthis song was also covered by ricky skaggs
  • Joe from Minneapolis, MnGreat 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.
  • Andrea from Toledo, Ohi love this song although its a great deal older then i its still one of the best in my eyes
  • Jolie from Bellwood, IlThis 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.
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaThis song can be considered timeless, because its meaning will still hold true 10, 25, 50, 100, even 1,000 years from now.
  • Brett from Winnipeg, Canadai 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 children
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiawhat a great story ,fathers take note
see more comments

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