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What Made America Famous Lyrics

Artist: Harry Chapin
Album: Verities & Ba

It was the town that made America famous.
The churches full and the kids all gone to hell.
Six traffic lights and seven cops and all the streets kept clean.
The supermarket and the drug store and the bars all doing well.

They were the folks that made America famous.
The local fire department stocked with shorthaired volunteers.
And on Saturday night while America boozes
The fire department showed dirty movies,
The lawyer and the grocer seeing their dreams
Come to life on the movie screens
While the plumber hopes that he won't be seen
As he tries to hide his fears and he wipes away his tears.
But something's burning somewhere. Does anybody care?

We were the kids that made America famous.
The kind of kids that long since drove our parents to dispair.
We were lazy long hairs dropping our, lost confused, and copping out.
Convinced our futures were in doubt and trying not to care.

We lived in the house that made America famous.
It was a rundown slum, the shame of all the decent folks in town.
We hippies and some welfare cases,
Croweded families of coal black faces,
Cramped inside some cracked old boards,
The best that we all could afford
But still to nice for the rich landlord
To tear it down and we could hear the sound
Of something burning somewhere. Is anybody there?

We all lived the life that made America famous.
Our cops would make a point to shadow us around our town.
And we love children put a swastika on the bright red firehouse door.
America, the beautiful, it makes a body proud.

And then came the night that made America famous.
Was it carelessness or someone's sick idea of a joke.
In the tinder box trap that we hippies lived in someone struck a spark.
At first I thought I was dreaming,
Then I saw the first flames gleaming
And heard the sound of children screaming
Coming through the smoke. That's when the horror broke.

Something's burning somewhere. Does anybody care?

It was the fire that made America famous.
The sirens wailed and the firemen stumbled sleepy from their homes.
And the plumber yelled: "Come on let's go!"
But they saw what was burning and said: "Take it slow,
Let'em sweat a little, they'll never know
And besides, we just cleaned the chrome." Said the plumber: "I'm going alone."

He rolled on up in the fire truck
And raised the ladder to the ledge
Where me and my girl and a couple of kids
Were clinging like bats to the edge.
We staggered to salvation,
Collapsed on the street.
And I never thought that a fat man's face
Would ever look so sweet.

I shook his hand in the scene that made America famous
And a smile from the heart that made America great
You see we spent the rest of that night in the home of a man I'd never known
before.
It's funny when you get that close it's kind of hard to hate.

I went to sleep with the hope that made America famous.
I had the kind of a dream that maybe they're still trying to teach in school.
Of the America that made America famous...and
Of the people who just might understand
That how together yes we can
Create a country better than
The one we have made of this land,
We have a choice to make each man
who dares to dream, reaching out his hand
A prophet or just a crazy God damn
Dreamer of a fool - yes a crazy fool

There's something burning somewhere.
Does anybody care?
Is anybody there?
Comments/Interpretations
by hilary on 9/6/2008 3:07pm
you suck
by Mark on 9/14/2008 9:47pm
Isn't this amazing...the difference between the 1970's and 2008? No doubt that H.C. would be amazed by his own lyrics..."Yes We Can." Obama is living the dream that he foresaw and is overcoming a lot of racial discrimination (that H.C. indicated led to hell, breaking the only commandment of Jesus…to love one another).
by stacy on 10/25/2008 6:58am
Harry Chapin always wrote his dreams - this is our reality. Something is burning NOW - I care; Obama cares. Let us love each other and come together because when we are so close, it is very hard to hate.
by Ed on 10/25/2008 7:00am
What kind of moron would post "you suck"

would really like to know what hilary actually thinks and if she is capable of explaining her remark.

Makes no sense to me
by Gene on 10/28/2008 9:50pm
Harry Chapin, a teller of stories set to music,a commentator for all time struck a chord with his audiance ( I was privleged to see him in concert) because of the universal and timeless messages that he was able to craft into terms we could all relate to. The big man with an easy style, a gentle nature and with his ever present grin. He is missed, however his music will endure and I truly hope that succeding generations will hear his music, understand the message and may transform the world into what he saw that it could be.
by Mark on 11/11/2008 2:01pm
H.C. is for Harry Chapin...Hillary, what would she have to do with this comment?!
by Guy on 1/29/2009 10:19am
hilary is the first commenter who wrote "you suck". H.C...lol
by some cynic on 7/8/2009 9:59pm
@ Mark

lolforever!
by kevin on 12/4/2009 1:12pm
what the hell dream is Obama living? blind faith is ignorant and damaging. He is just another privileged elite who kissed enough ass to get elected by agreeing to sell America out.
by Raine on 1/29/2010 12:18am
personally I think its stupid to compare what Obama is doing to the dreams of Harry Chapin. All politicians have ulterior motives, Obama isn't different. I'll admit that I don't follow politics, but my boss does and I always hear debates he has involving all the crap that Obama is doing.
by stevie on 5/23/2011 3:27pm
Raine, Maybe you need to form your own opinions and decide for yourself if what Barak Obama is doing is really crap. Surely one of Harrys core messages is that we think for ourselves
by Bruce on 5/11/2014 5:21pm
Given that this song was written in the early 70's, when both Hillary and Obama were obscure, I doubt that is what this song is about. In those years, after Vietnam and Watergate, people wondered if America had lost its greatness, if we were a nation in decline. But America's greatness comes not from what our leaders do, but from what we, the people, do for each other and for the rest of the world. Remember that Harry gave away about of third of his earnings.
by Rebecca on 9/8/2014 6:51am
Harry Chapin, I still get teary eyed when I read his music; my heart still breaks that we lost him so soon in life. He was a man of dreams, peace and love. What made America famous? Hell I have no idea, I've never seen it in my lifetime...for years I believed living through the hippie era was. Today I look around and see so much sadness, pain, poverty and hatred and very few people who give a damn. Somethings burning somewhere does anybody care, is anybody there?


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