Harry Chapin wrote a song, “Mr. Tanner” about a Midwest cleaner who dreamed of being a professional singer. We learned to identify with someone pursuing the desire of becoming famous beyond a meager existence. Only to have those dreams dashed by a NY Times critic’s review. The sweetest solace is the last verse.
Music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.
As it turns out Connecticut and Mr. Tanner have quite the bond. The song was recorded in Bridgeport at Paul Leka‘s Connecticut Recording studio in 1973. On Saturday night , 11/12 at the Quick Center on the Fairfield University campus three related events intersected with Harry Chapin’s “Mr. Tanner”.
- The real Mr. Tanner and the inspiration for the song, Martin Turbidy is discovered living in Weston, CT. He is invited to attend The Chapin Family concert as their special guest.
- He joined The Chapin Family on stage to sing, “Mr. Tanner” which validated the real person featured in the song from 1974 performing the song live.
3. There will be a children’s book, Mr. Tanner, based on Harry Chapin’s song with a happy ending :). The author, Bryan Langdo and book company representative, Rod Broder of Ripple Grove Press were in attendance in the lobby, promoting the future book with preliminary copies on display and taking pre-orders.