Harry Chapin: When In Doubt, Do Something – the inspirational story of a musician and activist
Harry Chapin: When In Doubt, Do Something is documentary that tells the story of famed singer/songwriter Harry Chapin’s short lived music career, and more importantly his life long dedication and passionated activism work toward trying to end world hunger, homelessness, and poverty. He spent his fame and fortune chasing a dream, and in the process inspired, changed, and saved the lives of millions of people. His efforts continue today, years after his tragic passing in an unfortunate 1981 road accident.
Harry came from a creative family, with both parents, and his four brother siblings all having great artistic talents. Harry began his musical journey in a band with his other brothers, simply called, The Chapin Brothers. He left the band to pursue a personal project, and when he returned the brothers had continued onward, replacing him with another musician. Unable to rejoin his brothers, he decided to venture out solo, and as they say, the rest if history. His legacy lives on today, but for far greater reason that just his iconic folk tunes.
Early on in his life, he decided that he was going to use his notoriety as a musician to try and raise awareness to the issue of world hunger. He would play hundreds of shows a year, with most being done for charity, and 100% of profits going directly to global organizations. He once amassed a personal worth of millions of dollars, but on paper he was broke.
He was known to have the “gift of gab”, a passionate speaker who refused to take no for an answer. His efforts brought him to the White House to speak with past President Ford, and he used his status to attract other musicians and Hollywood figures, to help him get the word out to the masses. Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Pat Benetar, are just some of the musicians featured who pay tribute to a man who inspired them in so many ways.
His work was also instrumental in several other world hunger projects that would later follow in the 1980s, including Bob Geldof’s Band Aid, Hands Across America, and USA For Africa global events, along with organizations continuing the fight today, such as Why Hunger, and Long Island Cares: The Harry Chapin Food Bank.
This is yet another “music” documentary that goes well beyond the story of a musician. This tells the story of a true humanitarian that just happened to be a talented musician as well. His motto, “When In Doubt, Do Something” still resonates as strong today as it did when he first uttered those words back in the 1970s.
Find out more about this wonderful human being at the Harry Chapin Foundation,
His top selling single, “Cats in the Cradle” was co-written by his wife Stacy, and is reportedly about their youngest son, Josh.
See below for a couple different interpretations on Chapin’s classic, “Cats in the Cradle”
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.