There are some songs that just move you with their stories – and I came across one such much-loved song this weekend on youtube. The song “Taxi” by Harry Chapin has lost none of its capacity to move me even today. The song has a simple premise – a taxi driver (Harry) picks up his last fare of the day only to have him and his passenger (Sue) recollect a time long, long ago when they had shared an intimate relationship – and they had drifted apart to find their own calling – she to become an actress and he to learn to fly.
As the song progresses, he recognises that both have been successful – albeit in ways unimagined – she is “acting” happy while he “flies” whenever he is stoned – and his life is but a sad medley of tips and being stoned. The song moves over to its tragic end when she offers him a 20 USD bill for a 2 USD fare and he accepts – acknowledging “that another man may have been angry, another man may have refused – but then another man may never have let her go”. The song fades out….and if you haven’t heard the song, believe me its like watching a classic movie.
I discovered to my surprise that he song had a sequel – where harry (now a rich man) takes a taxi ride to meet sue ten years later only to discover she has moved to humbler surroundings – but is happier for it. Listen to the rest of the song as he recognizes the wheel of fortune and moves you with another heart-rendering song – believe me, this song is just as good as the earlier one.
Thanks for the wonderful story harry. I am of course reminded of other stories that have moved me just as much – Jim Reeves’s “The Blizzard” which is nail biting story of a man braving a blizzard to get home – will he make it in time?
Or who can forget Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” where a proud actress suddenly finds the going tough as she ages – sample just the first verse below:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.
How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?
Guess the bard was right when he said the sweetest songs often tell the saddest tales – and on that note, will bring this post to an end.
Are there songs and stories from your experience you’d like to share?