RIP Clare MacIntyre-Ross, who inspired the Harry Chapin song “Taxi”

She came from swank Scarsdale, N.Y. He was a guitar strummer from Brooklyn.

They met as summer camp counselors in the early 1960s, and the result was a weepy love song, “Taxi,” a hit for Harry Chapin in 1972.

MacIntyre-Ross spent her final years in Falls Church, Va., and died March 9 from complications of a stroke at age 73. Her father, Malcolm MacIntyre, was a lawyer who headed Eastern Airlines from 1959-63, and she had an on-again off-again romance with Chapin in the early 1960s.

Their split inspired the song, described by the musician as about 60% accurate, according to his biographer, Peter M. Coan.

In the song, a cabdriver discovers his old flame, now wealthy, in the back of his taxi. She hands him $20 for a $2.50 fare and says, “Harry, keep the change.”

In the song, it’s implied that the woman is a hothouse flower, living in idle dissipation in the mansion of a husband she doesn’t love, pining for her lost romance and dead dreams.

In reality:

Ms. MacIntyre lived in Argentina with her first husband before moving to New York and working as an institutional securities sales executive at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1970s, when few women held such jobs. Her Spanish-language abilities helped her find Latin-American clients.

[Clare MacIntyre-Ross, Woman Who Inspired Song ‘Taxi:’ 1943-2016 / James R. Hagerty / The Wall Street Journal]

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