Chapin, Harry - Story Of A Life Lyrics

I can see myself it's a golden sunrise
Young boy open up your eyes
It's supposed to be your day.
Now off you go horizon bound
And you won't stop until you've found
Your own kind of way.
And the wind will whip your tousled hair,
The sun, the rain, the sweet despair,
Great tales of love and strife.
And somewhere on your path to glory
You will write your story of a life.

And all the towns that you walk through
And all the people that you talk to
Sing you their songs.
And there are times you change your stride,
There are times you can't decide
Still you go on.
And then the young girls dance their gypsy tunes
And share the secrets of the moon
So soon you find a wife.
And though she sees your dreams go poorly
Still she joins your story of a life.

So you settle down and the children come
And you find a place that you come from.
Your wandering is done.
And all your dreams of open spaces
You find in your children's faces
One by one.
And all the trips you know you missed
And all the lips you never kissed
Cut through you like a knife.
And now you see stretched out before thee
Just another story of a life.

So what do you do now?
When she looks at you now?
You know those same old jokes all the jesters tell
You tell them to her now.
And all the same old songs all the minstrels sang
You sing 'em to her now.
But it don't matter anyhow
'Cause she knows by now.

So every chance you take don't mean a thing.
What variations can you bring
To this shopworn melody.
And every year goes by like a tollin' bell.
It's battered merchandise you sell.
Not well, she can see.
And though she's heard it all a thousand times
Couched in your attempted rhymes
She'll march to your drum and fife.
But the question echoes up before me
Where's the magic story of a life?

Now sometimes words can serve me well
Sometimes words can go to hell
For all that they do.
And for every dream that took me high
There's been a dream that's passed me by.
I know it's so true
And I can see it clear out to the end
And I'll whisper to her now again
Because she shared my life.
For more than all the ghosts of glory
She makes up the story,
She's the only story
Of my life.

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Chapin, Harry Story Of A Life Comments
  1. Terry Quesenberry

    Love Love Love Love!

  2. Robert Bawden

    ive had this on loop since oct 4 2008 756 pm western Australian standard time by GMT. then i stopped everything that was ruining my life and all within cooee of me. worked fine but i will never let any of my tribe take this off loop.

  3. Judi Conley

    Miss the magic storyteller love and miss you so much XOXO

  4. Max Quad

    Harry Chapin and Jim Croce.
    Best story tellers ever.

  5. Kurtiss Jacobs

    You find a place that you come from.

  6. Robert Bawden

    this is the reason all you artists should come to australia so that we can idolise you on a personal scale. R I P HARRY C & ELVIS P.

  7. STeve Reed

    I listened to Harry Chaplin while stationed at Kansan AB Korea in 1979. The stories in his songs is what I liked most. Wish the Best for his Son and Family. Harry was a great entertainer...

  8. Paul Mcveigh


  9. Michael Deanni

    “And all the trips you always missed and all the lips you never kissed cut through you like a knife. Shes the only story of my life.”

  10. Catherine Rouse

    Great Entertainer!Saw Harry performing years ago...In the 70's
    He performed in the tow n of Wolfville Nova Scotia. Canada!
    I especially remembered the song. Taxi!He was fantastic! Miss ya Harry. Cathy

  11. Peter Nicholson

    A brief shining light.

  12. John

    Looks like Hamilton Place. Loved Harry. Great loss.

  13. Jeff Davis

    Love this!

  14. John DeAngelo

    My favorite song from Harry.

  15. Anna Rooney

    Such beautiful lyrics .He was a wonderful song writer. Gone to soon.

  16. Georg Conaway

    Aren't we all like mr. Tanner

  17. D Trout

    My husband and I had seperated but he bought tickets for us to see Harry in Hershey, PA. We were huge fans!
    Never got to that concert though as my "husband" and I had a disagreement ...not long after we heard the sad news of his death on the Long Island Expressway.
    Two years ago I gave my vinyl record collection to my son, Jason, who was battling cancer and had grown up listening to and loving Harry...

    This past Christmas eve my son died and now I like to imagine him singing along with Harry up in Harry could write the perfect song to heal this momma's broken heart.

  18. Celestino Di Vieste

    I will always my musical hero...

  19. Jeff Davis

    I miss this man. This is one of my favorite songs.

  20. Deborah

    Vote to induct Harry into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

  21. Bill Clarke

    What a great song.....always loved this song

  22. Paul Mcveigh


  23. Patrick Naughton

    sometimes words have served me well, sometimes words can go to hell. best line

  24. Julia Belisario

    As an old Harry Chapin fan, I never missed an opportunity to see him when he came to Atlanta before his death in 1980. Being a little melancholy about missing my own "minstrel, folk" singing husband since his passing in November, I came across this video, and suddenly an old favorite became even more poignant and beautiful than ever!

  25. JohninCT

    Thanks Harry.  It's been about 35 years and we still miss the stories.

    Dennis Hoskins

    It HAS been 35 Years as of 7/16/16. It was the 35th Anniversary of his passing....

  26. Celestino Di Vieste

    Will always LOVE you, HARRY... You are the modern day Mozart...

  27. Boo Rosko

    I love how he is always smiling at the concerts. Wish I could have seen him back in the day. Regret it now in my so called senior years.

  28. Spokehead82

    thank you for bringing your focus and talent to the world Harry, li still cares and your love is still felt, your story speaks for itself, rip

  29. Bonnie Hardy

    He really did die too soon. I often think of the stories and songs that were cut short. But so grateful for the music he shared.

  30. Kat Shotz

    i loved 2 Harry's in my life. One was Harry Chapin, from far away. The second Harry I was blessed to have for 26 years.
    Heaven gained amazing spirits in both. RIP

    I used to know

    So very glad you were so blessed and that it seems you are able to smile with the memories :-)

  31. Danny Miner

    This song is ME...I may have missed my "road", but we ALL have our special love in so many ways..

  32. wallyman1948

    love this x

  33. jayk1312

    Is this from a recorded concert?

  34. actust

    34 years ago today Harry left us. This evening my wife raised a toast to Harry. Story of a life says it all.

  35. Corey Brown

    I saw his last show in Seattle.  At the end, when he said he would be out front signing anything you bought because it all went to charity, my date asked if I wanted to go out.  I said we would catch him next time.  He died shortly after that.  I fucked up.  He is still one of my favorite people ever.  Too bad he did not get the props he deserved at the time, and still hasn't

  36. ChowdahMaker


  37. Peter Wright

    I love this song.  Makes me think of my own life and how much my wife means to me as well.  She's the only story of my life.

  38. PJb777

    I still can't watch video's like this of Harry without it bringing a tear to my eye. Such a terrible loss.


    I know exactly how you feel


    I feel the same.

  39. James Streff

    Nobody sez it like Harry Never heard this one, it's the best.

  40. Lorin James

    wonderful song. I miss Chapin so much.

  41. Tim Cook

    I saw him in 1980 in South Bend, Indiana a few day after John Lennon was killed. Harry Chapin came on stage exactly on time, but his band was on a different flight and they were late. He told wonderful stories and sang by himself. When the band arrived, they performed the entire show. It was a late night, but he still made time to meet his fans after the show and the majority of the proceeds went to his Food Charity, World Hunger Year (WHY). Still miss him after all these years.

    Robert Divita

    Tim Cook He was simply the best that humankind could offer. I saw him perform.
    He sat with groups of ours, talked with us, inspired us.
    I miss him to this day. He died way too young.
    He was the first person I thought of when Billy Joel came out with “Only the good die young,”.
    I’ll always remember him with special feelings and always miss him.
    I too was at a performance where the power went out. He invited everyone to come down to the main floor. To sit around stage as he performed by himself and told the audience stories.
    Mankind just doesn’t get any better than Harry Chaplin!

    Curt Gallup

    I'm from south bend and wish I would have seen that show. CHEERS FOR DOING SO .🎼🎶

  42. Gina Vincenzo

    one  of  the  greatest  storyteller's  and  special  people of all time

  43. Matt Cain

    For the longest time, I thought this song was called "Story Of A LIE." Many years laters, I learned thatz not the name of it. Still, itz a great song and one of my favorites by Harry. May he R.I.P.

  44. Fred Lunau

    Miss you, Harry.

  45. John DeAngelo

    There just aren't singer/songwriters around like him any longer. He was great during his time but his music is timeless. Truly one of the best songwriters of our time.

    Jerry Fontanez

    @John DeAngelo Perfectly said

  46. Diamondgirl Kat

    Never gets old; Only gets better for lasting through every age of my life.
    Thanks for posting! 

  47. Claire Lowry

    A sincere thanks to bagnon.  Chapin was such a gentle soul.  As we welcome 2014, it does my heart good to remember Harry Chapin, his music and his soul.  A true poet.

  48. Jake Hibbert

    This song reminds me of my girlfriend. Although she is not my wife yet, she is going to be in the near future. And I cannot wait to raise a family with her. She is the story of my life!

  49. Keath Graham

    I'm 54. Saw Harry at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans the last year of his life. He shook my hand and smiled at me after the show. My God what an impact he made on me. Miss ya Harry!

  50. Ed Baclawski Sr.

    So today on 9/9/13 , it is still as beautiful as it ever was , and I hope it lives on forever!

  51. Roger M

    I have listed to this song over and over. It is so inspirational. Not sure if that is the right word, but this song is so meaningful.

  52. vincent sambrick

    we will never find see hear another harry he did one show for him as he said and one for the other guy .gave more in those days to charity and his family still does .when he was killed by being hit by a tractor trailer with his blinkers on .possibly having medical problems ..that his state where he lived helped .took his license away .why not in the rock and roll hall of fame

  53. Canal Shores

    I was lucky enough to see him 5 times, one time he came to Chicago and did two
    nights where he did not sing the same song, except for Circle. It was a great weekend
    got his autograph. It was a sad day when he I heard he died it was a huge loss for

    Robert Divita

    Canal Shores yes, for me that was the day the music died. Long live Harry’s memory!

  54. Troy Rossi

    Just heard this song for the first time. BEAUTIFUL lyrics! Brought a tear to my eye. Then when he started talkin bout havin' kids I couldn't relate yet. But then again I think I need a couple more years under my belt, like Harry said.

  55. RascalKing174

    I had the same the tickets - still bugs the hell of me. I saw Harry 5 times starting at Curry College and last time in Phoenix AZ. I wanted to introduce several people to Harry at the concert you mentioned.

  56. actust

    It was my privildge to see Harry numerous times in Boston. My wife and I ahd tickets to see him at the Hamptom Casino 3 days before his accident. Story of a Life is just one of the Best. I sent it to my wife for Mothers Days.

    Thank you Harry.

  57. Christopher Farrell

    I was lucky enough to see him do this live on long island

  58. Jennifer Dustin

    Amen to this. He died two days before I got married. End of an era..beginning of another. But innocence lost.

  59. gary brown

    this is awesome!!

  60. GeorgeneK

    You will always be the best! After all these years, your music lives on in our thoughts and memories!

  61. Ryan Bedingfield

    The one and only....i can sit and listen to harry for hours.. i discovered his music in 1989 and still love it now...a massive lost to all humanity..surely the most selfless person ever to live...

  62. Roger M

    somewhere in your path to glory you will write the story of your life... I can only hope that I will be able to write a story that come close to Harry. God bless...

  63. Chef Asbury

    this is his best.

  64. LeslieJ

    I love you, Harry, and miss you so much! I saw Harry at the Oakdale Theatre the summer before he died. An amazing man.

  65. ioan g

    try leonard cohen

  66. John DeAngelo

    I saw him perform three times. Once with his band and twice solo performances. The last concert I saw he performed solo at Auburn Community College in Auburn, NY. He was over an hour late for the show do to the weather delaying his flight. When he came in he entered through the back of the gym where he was performing, ran down the aisle and cursed out Alleghany Airlines for making him late. He played for 3 continuous hours with no break. Memorable performance!

  67. John DeAngelo

    If my memory serves me correctly, I believe, he swerved into an oncoming semi truck, possibly suffering from a heart attack. Also I believe the car the was driving caught on fire and the driver of the semi cut his seat belt and pulled him out. Harry was severely burned but it is not sure whether he died from a heart attack or died from his injuries to the fire. This all happened in the Lincoln Tunnel. In any case, it was a terrible tragedy whom many of us are still feeling his loss. RIP Harry!

  68. John DeAngelo

    Great storyteller-songwriter! Still miss him greatly. There has been no one who has come even close to his gift of writing memorable songs. I doubt there ever will be.

  69. Jake Hibbert

    I love this song! This song reminds of my girlfriend, we've been dating for two years now and she is definitely the story of my life. I couldn't picture being with anyone else, I'm going to marry her one day soon and I could not be more thrilled about it!


    Harry Chapin was wonderful man, a great storyteller and a superlative live performer. His 70s songs moved me far more than any of his contemporaries, except, maybe, "The Iceman" Jerry Butler. He had a real knack for drawing the listener into the story, and experiencing the powerful emotions of the song's characters. You lived their experiences, not just heard about them. In that way, he was to folk music what Ibsen was to plays. I miss Harry Chapin and doubt we'll ever see another like him.

  71. Thomas Kiernan

    You are so right,my friend.Play his songs every day//

  72. JCLII

    @SuperStarsNStripes I did a little more research on it and they seem to think that he suffered a heart attack while driving and swerved into the oncoming lane. His daughter said later that she thought it was a matter of time before something happened because of his hectic work schedule and his poor diet. I discovered Harry when I was 12 yrs old by looking through my Parent's records. One of the best things to ever happen to me.

  73. JCLII

    From what I understand, Harry was driving a Volkswagon b and was in the blind spot of a tractor trailer. The guy switched lanes and never saw him. Harry and Jim Croce. Both taken too soon.

  74. Alicia Cooper

    Why does this not have more likes than this?


    a great songwroter

  76. f2benny

    I don't think there's any alcohol related connection to Chapin's death as far as I've read. Still a good idea to avoid drunk driving, but not due to his death.

    VSI U12-Blue

    He was hit by a truck when his car died and Harry tried getting over from the fast lane. The lesson to take away is to maintain your vehicle. Such little things, with such profound effects.

  77. Lulufen89

    This man is my number one reason for not driving drunk... The man who crashed into him and killed him stole a talent that can never be replaced...

    VSI U12-Blue

    He was hit by a truck when his car died and Harry tried getting over from the fast lane. The lesson to take away is to maintain your vehicle. Such little things, with such profound effects.

  78. Michael L. Morehead

    @terife PBS put the Hamilton concert on years ago and this is the opening song of that concert, I has been a long time since I have seen that tape.

  79. Philpotts24

    I saw him sing this at the Dominion - must have been 1981. Loved it since.

  80. Ron Capps

    What is the story of your life going to be? Ahh...that is the question

  81. rustywrh

    Imagine the songs this guy would have undoubtedly written about some of the events since his death... Katrina, 911, etc..... I saw him live once at the college I was attending not too long before he passed. Great show, great memory.

  82. KJJSaintPaul

    jwilly and everyone else - There will never be another Harry, but I want to recommend a wonderful singer/songwriter/storyteller I discovered recently. If you get the chance, look on YouTube for Chuck Brodsky and check out his stuff. He's a serious talent and a serious writer, and I can't recommend him to you highly enough. I think Harry would approve of him.

  83. tnoonan2013

    A great talent gone much too soon. Today is the 30th anniversary of his death.

  84. KJJSaintPaul

    What would you have accomplished with another 30 years, Harry? We'll never know, to our loss. you died this day, 30 years ago.

  85. papaof14

    And all the lips you never kissed
    Cut through you like a knife.
    And now you see stretched out before thee
    Just another story of a life.

  86. brianbdp1

    I was fortunate enough to see Harry Chapin shortly before he died. After a wonderful concert in Evansville,IN Harry ,carried his young son on his shoulders out to the front lobby and made himself accessible to anyone that wanted to speak to him or have a picture made with him. It was a special time when many of the legends like him came to town. Chapin, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and John Denver were all here back then, no one like them .

  87. Meredith Whaley

    I am 76 now and I still love his music.

  88. myangell02

    terife, I'm not sure, but I do know this was put onto an album track, I believe the 3 cd compilation set actually called "Story Of A Life"... Not sure, but I know it's been released as audio only, if you can figure out which one, you might be closer to figuring out if it was filmed there. Or get ahold of Howie Fields, his drummer, he runs Howie Fields Rock Paper, he kept track of all this stuff...

  89. rdvqc

    I have always loved Harry's work - both writing and performing. Gone far too young along with Stan Rogers and Stevie Goodman

  90. wolverbob

    First time I saw Harry was in Jacksonville in the mid-70s. Everyone was having such a good time he just kept on playing and playing and playing and nobody was leaving.

  91. TheBluesDixonary

    I'm 62. I met Harry when I was 28 and there has not been a day since that I have not thought of him. He was the purest person I've ever me. When he died, a part of me died. A part of the world died.

  92. Rastafari6

    Harry lives

  93. Nelly Reid

    A beautiful song, one of so many written and sung by a beautiful human being. He left a huge legacy. It almost makes you cry to think of how much better this world would be if he hadn't died so tragically so long ago. He would have added so much more to the huge amount of goodness that he spread during his short lifetime. They should make a movie about him.

  94. John McHugh

    This Song is it. We lost Harry way to young!!!

  95. Bill Hughes

    *sighhh* :)

  96. margaret ferris

    he was the best!!!

  97. Todd Bria

    What a writer and singer and I agree with the many who have commented he's been gone nearly thirty years and I too miss him!

  98. JollyXRoger1

    If I'm not mistaken this was recorded August 19 1980 at Hamilton Place, Hamilton, ONT (The Hammer) Some say the last recorded show before his death.......what a song, what a great version....

  99. John DeAngelo

    Sorry, I need to make a correction on the post below. I saw Harry at ACC in 1978, 3 years before he died. Guess my memory is failing with age. Just the same it was a great show. Long live Harry!

  100. John DeAngelo

    I'll never forget when I saw him in 1983. He was appearing at Auburn Community College in Auburn, NY. His flight from NYC was delayed over an hour. He finally came running in through the doors at the back of the gym he was performing at and played continuously for 3 and a half hours (solo) with no breaks. Afterwards he signed autographs. He was an amazing person and gifted songwriter-storyteller. Sadly, he never got the recognition he truly deserved. Harry, your legacy will always live on. RIP