Live 07 Dec 1987 version
[Spoken intro:] How you doin'? I met Harry in 1978, I was in a studio, he was making a record in another studio. He came smiling up to me and started talking to me. And 20 minutes went by, 30 minutes went by... He talked about everything, politics, music -- he's nice guy, well. Next night I came in, Harry comes bounding up smiling again, starts talking to me... 30 minutes goes by. So finally, I used to try to hide from him. I'd come in, I'd ask the secretary if Harry was in the lobby, you know, and I'd sneak into the studio. So we went out to California to mix and I'm standing on this balcony, third floor of this motel. And I hear 'Hey, hey !", I looked down and here is Harry, and he starts talking to me. He talks to me for about 40 minutes, standing down there looking up. He was trying to get me to do something, you know. And he said one thing that I always remembered, he said "Gee, you know, I play one night for me and one night for the other guy." And later on when I was trying to put my music to some pragmatic use, I remembered what he said. Not being bent to extremism, I wasn't as generous as he was, but he's probably laughing, laughing right now anyway. I'll do this for him.
Remember when the music came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words would set our hearts on fire
To believe in things and so we'd sing
Remember when the music brought us all together to stand inside the rain
And as we'd join hands we'd meet in the refrain
With dreams to live and hope to give
Remember when the music was the best, what we'd dreamed of for our children's time
And as we worked we sang 'cause we knew time was just a line
A gift to save, a gift that future gave
Remember when the music was a rock that we could cling to ao we'd not despair
And as we sang we knew we'd hear an echo in the air
And if we weren't smiling then we'd smile again
Yeah, and all the times I'd listen and all the times I heard
And all the melodies I'm missin' and all the magic words
All the beautiful voices and the choices we had then
I hope to find we got those kind of choices once again
I remember when Sandy sent me this tape, I listened to it and I said, "Gee, this is a little on the corny side." And I sat down and I tried to think what the song was about, and I guess there was a time when people felt that music provided you with a greater, oh, a greater sense of unity, a greater sense of shared vision and purpose than it does today. And my generation, we were the generation that was gonna change the world, that somehow we were gonna make it a little less lonely, a little less hungry, a little more just place. But it seems that when... When that promise slipped through our hands we didn't replace it with nothing but, but lost faith, and now we live in, uh, times are pretty shattered, I got my music, you've got yours, the guy down the street, he's got his, and you could kind of sit back and say, not cynically but truthfully, "Well, maybe, maybe all men are not brothers, and maybe we won't ever know who or what we really are to each other." But I think Harry instinctively knew that it was gonna take a lot more than just love to survive; that it was gonna take a strong sense of purpose, of duty, and a good clear eye on the dirty ways of the world. So in keeping, in keeping his promise to himself, he reminds us of our promise to ourselves, and that tonight, alongside Harry, it's that promise that his spirit would have us remember and honor and recommit to. So do something, and may his song be sung.
Remember when the music was a glow on the horizon of a new born day
And as we sang the sun come up and chase the dark away
And life was good for we knew we could
Remember when the music brought the night across the valley as the day went down
And as we hum the melody we'd be safe inside the sound
And so we'd sleep to awake with dreams and promises to keep
REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC is a song originally released by Harry Chapin in 1980. See the original Harry Chapin version for more details.
The above lyrics are for the live 07 Dec 1987 performance of REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC at Carnegie Hall in New York City, NY, during the Harry Chapin Tribute concert. REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC was the only song performed by Bruce Springsteen at the event. He played it solo on acoustic guitar and harmonica, and introduced it with a humorous story about how Harry Chapin relentlessly lobbied him to become more involved in social issues.
The 07 Dec 1987 concert at Carnegie Hall was a various artists gala concert held in honor of late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin's 45th birthday and his posthumous awarding of the Special Congressional Gold Medal for his campaigning on social issues, particularly his highlighting of hunger around the world and in the United States. The medal was presented to his son Joshua Chapin and laid to rest on an empty stool with Harry's guitar leaning against it. The gala was hosted by Harry Belafonte and Sandy Chapin.
The 07 Dec 1987 concert at Carnegie Hall, including Springsteen's rendition of REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC, was released in July 1990 on the various artists album Harry Chapin Tribute.
PBS originally aired the concert and offered a VHS tape of if for viewers who gave donations. The concert was later reissued on DVD, apparently sold exclusively through the Harry Chapin Music website.
Bruce Springsteen's live 07 Dec 1987 version of REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC was also included on the various artists benefit album Serve3, released in November 2008.
REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC was performed off-tour on 07 Dec 1987 at Carnegie Hall in New York City, NY, during the Harry Chapin Tribute concert.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake), Peter (from Lost In The Flood), and Lars (L.B. at Greasy Lake).
List of available versions of REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC on this website:REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSIC [Live 07 Dec 1987 version]