By in Music

Stadium/Team Song Challenge: Go Cubs Go

The ever-vigilant morilla has graced us with yet another music challenge. This one is the Stadium/Team Song Challenge , dealing with the songs you hear at games or songs that are team-specific.

My entry for this challenge is "Go Cubs Go" by Steve Goodman.

Listen to Go Cubs Go

Steven Benjamin Goodman was born and raised in Chicago. As he frequently said, he lived and died -- mostly the latter -- with the box scores. He was a baseball fan in general, but he was first and foremost a Cubs fan.

In 1981, during the baseball strike, Goodman was on tour and stopped in Cincinnati, the home of the oldest professional baseball team in America, the Reds. Distraught that there were no games, his thoughts turned to his hometown team and their futility. He wrote a "touching tribute" to them, the hilarious "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request." Its chorus asked, "Do they still play the blues in Chicago when baseball season rolls around? When the snow melts away do the Cubbies still play in their ivy-covered burial ground?" (Ironically, currently it's the team in the city in which he wrote the song, the Reds, who are "the doormat of the National League" instead of the Cubs!) He did a demo of the song with his friend, Jethro Burns, on mandolin, but that recording was never commercially released.

Flash forward to 1983. Goodman, now living in L.A., had suffered a relapse of his leukemia. While home on vacation he was being interviewed by a local TV station about a variety of things. The station wanted to go inside Wrigley Field to film Goodman singing "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request," but then-general manager Dallas Green didn't see the humor in the song and said no. The interview, therefore, was filmed on a rooftop across the street from Wrigley Field, including Goodman performing "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request."

But something else was going on..the Cubs were starting to win . In 1984 a friend at WGN radio asked Goodman to write a song the radio station could play before games' broadcasts. Goodman responded by writing "Go Cubs Go."

It would become the final song Goodman would record. He died in September 1984 of complications of leukemia following a bone marrow transplant at the age of 36.

A few years ago someone dusted off the recording and began playing it over the PA system at Wrigley when the Cubs won. It's since become a tradition at Wrigley: after a Cubs victory, wave the white "W" flag and sing "Go Cubs Go."

Yes, Steve Goodman wrote infinitely better songs (his best-known composition is the Grammy-winning "City of New Orleans"), but as for a feel-good anthem to sing along with in celebration of a victory, there's no song better than the one Chicago Shortly left for his beloved Cubs.

Image Credit » by pfurlano

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morilla wrote on January 17, 2016, 11:32 PM

Hope springs eternal when it comes to the Cubs.

markgraham wrote on January 18, 2016, 10:13 AM

I was cheering them on this season and do remember that song.