Mr. Tanner Lyrics - Harry Chapin

Review The Song (16)



Mister Tanner was a cleaner from a town in the Midwest.
And of all the cleaning shops around he'd made his the best.
But he also was a baritone who sang while hanging clothes.
He practiced scales while pressing tails and sang at local shows.
His friends and neighbors praised the voice that poured out from his throat.
They said that he should use his gift instead of cleaning coats.

But 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.

His friends kept working on him to try music out full time.
A big debut and rave reviews, a great career to climb.
Finally they got to him, he would take the fling.
A concert agent in New York agreed to have him sing.
And there were plane tickets, phone calls, money spent to rent the hall.
It took most of his savings but he gladly used them all.

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But 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.

The evening came, he took the stage, his face set in a smile.
And in the half filled hall the critics sat watching on the aisle.
But the concert was a blur to him, spatters of applause.
He did not know how well he sang, he only heard the flaws.
But the critics were concise, it only took four lines.
But no one could accuse them of being over kind.

(spoken) Mr. Martin Tanner, Baritone, of Dayton, Ohio made his
Town Hall debut last night. He came well prepared, but unfortunately
his presentation was not up to contemporary professional standards.
His voice lacks the range of tonal color necessary to make it
consistently interesting.
(sung) Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order.

He came home to Dayton and was questioned by his friends.
Then he smiled and just said nothing and he never sang again,
excepting very late at night when the shop was dark and closed.
He sang softly to himself as he sorted through the clothes.
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.
(And) he did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.






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Thanks to j.harris50@comcast.net for submitting Mr. Tanner Lyrics.
Harry Chapin, his legacy lives on | Reviewer: Sharon | 3/25/14

As stated by so many others here, Harry Chapin was a genius at giving us a glimpse into the soul of ordinary people in a most extrodinary way. Oh how I miss his music. I too had the pleasure of meeting him, getting his autograph and a kiss on the cheek. I cherish that memory, but the greatest gift Harry gave us all was himself expressed through his incredible music...fortunately for the world, music was not only Harry's life, it was his livelihood..."and he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul and he did not know how well he sang" his music made us whole. <3

This is my story | Reviewer: Paul | 3/14/14

Harry Chapin was not a singer, he was a story teller, who told his stories through song.

I have been taking singing lessons recently. I love to sing, but quite honestly, I am not sure I am very good. I have come to the conclusion that music is my life, and not my livelihood. It makes me feel so happy, it makes me feel so good.I sing from my heart, I sing from my soul. I don't know how well I sing, it just makes me whole.

Singing it to my daughter | Reviewer: Rick | 11/8/13

When I was in high school, my best friend and I knew every lyric to every song Harry Chapin had written, and this was one of my favorites. We would sing it together, with one of us taking the Big John Wallace part. I was on a family vacation in the Los Angeles airport the summer I was in 17 when my dad appeared with a newspaper in hand and shared the news that Harry had died.

Now I have three kids, and my youngest is a fourteen year old girl who still lets me sing to her every night. Right now we are alternating between James Taylor's Sweet Baby James, Cats in the Cradle, and Mr. Tanner. There's something in the raw, honest storytelling that touches her and offers us a little common ground. I'm working on relearning the lyrics to "A Better Place to Be" to share with her next.

He's Flying So High | Reviewer: Martin Tanner | 5/2/13

"Mr Tanner" was my introduction to Harry Chapin. Why? Well, I was returning to college, at the University of Dayton. I rarely went a day without hearing someone playing Mt Tanner on radio or boombox. When I heard "Sniper" and "They Call Her Easy", I realized that Harry produced religious music. Who else would write songs sympathetic to terrorists and tramps; that's "the least" of Matthew 25:40.

I bit off more than I could chew with a tough major and significant academic overload. I crashed and burned, spending months of clinical depression on my parent's farm. If not for Harry Chapin and Joni Mitchell's "Blue", I'd have committed suicide.

People think online access dates to about 1994 or so, but in fact, some of us nerds had it in 1981, when Harry died. An online friend mentioned that he was on the LIE and drove past the wreck before emergency workers were on the scene. I couldn't help but wonder if he would arise on the third day.

makes me cry | Reviewer: kaylee | 10/23/12

every time i hear this song i cry. its so sad! i told all of my friends to listen to it, but being 12 year old girls like me, they'd rather listen to j biebs. i am a singer and actress, and i always listen to this song before shows. it inspires me to just go get em', and never give up on your dreams. it is probobly my favorite song. i love harrys voice, and "mr. tanner" singer was really good. i loved the combo1 brilliant harry, just simply brilliant.

Thank you Harry! | Reviewer: Ken Scharabok | 11/30/11

While my history is in correspondence and computers, my passion is, has been and always will be hand-forged ironwork. This song just means so much to me on a gut level. I've done work people have raved on, yet I see the flaws in it. And, yes, when I am in my shop alone I do sing to myself.

Just love this song... | Reviewer: Cindy | 7/23/10

There is something so surreal about this song. It is one of my favorites, albeit, Taxi is another one of my favorites too. The lyrics to this song are so great, and the music itself is wonderful. What really makes the song is the backup baritone, "Big John Wallace". There is not one thing wrong with Mr. Wallace's voice, for sure!! His voice really adds to the song. I just love listening to Harry's storytelling. It is so interesting!!! We miss you Harry!

beautiful | Reviewer: MrG | 7/4/10

This song has hit home for me on several occasions, both as a song to play when I'm feeling like chucking it all and not performing, and as something that can, in spite of the tears and despair, give me a bit of inspiration to carry on. Mr Tanner is indeed all of us; he is anyone who has ever performed, he is every performer who has ever been sniped by a critic or a judge. And still he can't help himself, and sings. Take that as a lesson, folks: do what you love to do because you love to do it, not for anyone else's sake.

Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order. | Reviewer: Jerry Taylor | 12/12/08

Harry Chapin's "Mr. Tanner" captures a devastating unkind act of all who would be a critic. How easy to be led, and how easy to be vunerable. Harry Chapin is one of the greatest story tellers and song writers that ever lived. I met him after one of his concerts and after a quick chat he signed my program and shook my hand with one of the most sincere greetings I have ever known. He was the best!

remembering harry... | Reviewer: joe h | 5/22/08

Mr.Tanner and Taxi are phenemonal songs and the type of songs that epitomizes the man and stories I love to remember. I have had 2 heroes in my life and Harry Chapin was one of them – for his songs and music, for his dedication to causes such as solving world hunger, and his citizenship to the world. Whenever I need something helpful or encouraging to get me back on track, all it takes is a Harry Chapin song. His stories are truly the greatest ever told.

I had the honor of meeting Harry at a concert – he was in the back of the theatre after the show selling and signing a “Harry, it sucks!” t-shirt. I bought one and gave it to my girlfriend to have Harry sign it. When Harry saw this beautiful girl asking for an autograph, he lit up and said “Wow, you’re gorgeous.” Upon noticing I was standing very close to her with a concerned look on my face he said “Are you with him? Well if it doesn’t work out come back and see me” – at which point we all laughed, he gave my girlfriend a kiss and shook my hand. Funny, gregarious, decicated, talented guy with unquenchable determination and courage - and someone I miss to this day.

Keeps his wonderful memory very alive by having the courage to do something positive to the change lives of people less fortunate than yourself and to change the world - that's restarting today for me.

Mr. Tanner is a gut wrenching song | Reviewer: Mark | 11/21/07

I don't care how big and bad you are, if you listen to Mr. Tanner your will be teary eyed and choked up. I saw Harry Chapin in Cental Park and that was one of the best concerts I ever saw

Heartbreaking line | Reviewer: Christine | 9/21/07

"And he never sang again"... That line used to bring on a burst of heartwrenching sobs -- I'm so reluctant to share my voice with a public audience -- but recently I've noticed something I hadn't before. Tanner had made his shop the best. When he performed for the critics "he only heard the flaws." Chapin describes the consequence of needing others' *and* our own approval. Children are used to the awkward process of learning and growing and simply Being New to the World. That's the source of the kind of immunity that allows them to be Artists -- to find their own way (aka be creative). I'm going to try to get more comfortable with that, too, and maybe I won't burst into tears anymore when I listen to this song.

Mr. Tanner | Reviewer: Kierin | 8/19/07

I've heard this song like a thousand times because I have the Harry Chapin CD of Greatest.Live. Stories. My father, Colin and I already have heard it so many times. Harry Chapin
is a great singer, songwriter and composer one of my favorite songs of Harry's are W.O.L.D, Mr.Tanner, Cat's In The Cradle. These songs reminds me of my mother, Marybeth and my sister,
Mayra and also my brother-in-law, David.

Killing a dream | Reviewer: Chris | 6/3/07

This is one of the greatest songs Harry Chapin wrote. It shows how much music means to certain people and how, when you want to do if for a living rather than a passion, the results can be visciously cruel and dash dreams. But deep down, music is still a major part of your life, no matter what others think.

Interesting note. When you ask kids that are 4-5 how many of them are artists, almost all raise their hands. As life progresses and the art is judged, that percentage goes to almost nothing. Try it in a room full of adults. Ask the question and very few will raise their hands. What really changed, their abilities or others perception of them. Long live Harry. Chris

Impact | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/17/06

This is my personal new theme song- after a hard fall musically, I was reccommended to this song by a good friend, and I realized I just can't give up. If any song has helped me become a better person recently, it was this one. Thank you HArry Chapin. Kudos!


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