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“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only number-one song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music. Chapin’s recording of the song was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.

“Cat’s in the Cradle” is narrated by a man who becomes a father in the first verse. Not long after his son’s birth, the father is repeatedly unable to spend time with him due to his job, despite his son looking up to him and saying he will grow up to be just like his father. After the son graduates from college, he declines his father’s offer to relax with him and instead asks for the car keys. In the final verse, the now-retired father calls his adult son and asks if they can spend some time together. However, the son’s own job and family prevents him from being able to get together, and the father realizes that his son has indeed grown up to be just like him.
The song’s lyrics began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandra “Sandy” Gaston; the poem itself was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father, John, a politician who served as Brooklyn borough president. She was also inspired by a country music song she had heard on the radio. Chapin also said the song was about his own relationship with his son, Josh, admitting, “Frankly, this song scares me to death.”




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