Thursday, May 24, 2012

Story Songs: Taxi

Harry Chapin was one of the finest story songwriters, penning such wonderful tunes as "Mr. Tanner," "W*O*L*D," "Cat's in the Cradle," "I Wanna Learn a Love Song," and many others before his untimely death in a car accident in 1981. He was only 39. 

My favorite was his first big hit, "Taxi," a song that brought him national attention back in 1972. It's a story about the reunion of two lovers and their unfulfilled aspirations. The narrator is a taxi driver and the woman is in an unhappy marriage.

"You see, she was gonna be an actress,
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off to find the sky."

They chat briefly about their lives as he drives her to her fancy home in San Francisco. He drops her off, and unashamedly keeps the change from a $20 bill as a tip on a $2.50 fare. And then they go their separate, lonely ways.

"And here, she's acting happy,
Inside her handsome home.
And me, I'm flying in my taxi,
Taking tips, and getting stoned,
I go flying so high, when I'm stoned."

Chapin continued the story in a song called, appropriately, "Sequel."

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