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Steve Goodman: “City of New Orleans” and “Talk Backwards”

Here is a guest post from my cousin Ed:

Steve Goodman was a very talented songwriter who wrote a number of songs with which we’re familiar.  Above is a young Steve Goodman performing the probably the most well known of the batch — “The City of New Orleans” — which was written on a train of the same name. He noted:

“I looked out the window and I wrote down some stuff and it rhymed. It didn’t take too much more than that – about a half an hour.  Sometimes you get visited by songs.  You don’t have too much to do with them – they just show up.”  It was the song played for the astronauts on Apollo 11 to wake them every morning.

Goodman created his own big break:

Seeing Arlo Guthrie in a bar, Goodman asked to be allowed to play a song for him. Guthrie grudgingly agreed on the condition that Goodman buy him a beer first; Goodman played “City of New Orleans” which Guthrie liked enough that he asked for the right to record it. Guthrie’s version of the song became a hit in 1972, and provided Goodman with enough financial success to make his music a full-time career. The song would become an American standard, covered by many other musicians including Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, and Willie Nelson.

Steve was a big Cubs fan and he wrote songs about that.

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