An Anthem For This Season: Steve Goodman’s “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”

By Gail Reynolds, Rock At Night Columnist

albumsI can’t be the only one thinking about Steve Goodman right now at this incredibly historic time. Steve Goodman, composer of the much covered Americana favorite, “City of New Orleans”! You know we’re talking about a fabulous song to have other brilliant singer-songwriters such as Willie Nelson, Johnnie Cash, Judy Collins, and Arlo Guthrie cover it. Oh, Steve Goodman who died tragically young of leukemia with his sense of humor intact enough to dub himself “Cool Hand Leuk.”

Folk aficionados not familiar with this gifted artist must explore his rich catalog and see why he earned two posthumous Grammys in the ‘80s.

But to paraphrase Arlo, this isn’t why I wanted to talk to you today. As noted earlier, Steve Goodman figures prominently at this historic time. No, not in regards to this unique presidential election. (Although there is a connection in that he and Hillary Clinton were classmates at the same Park Ridge, Illinois high school.) More importantly is the Goodman-Chicago Cubs connection. He wrote three songs in his beloved team’s honor.   His “Go, Cubs, Go” is played after every Cubs’ home victory.

But most of all, his gallows and somewhat prophetic “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request” from his 1983 Affordable Art album is significant, as the talking blues wryly notes:

You know the law of averages says
Anything will happen that can

But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan

Let’s mark the beginning of the 2016 World Series and perhaps the breaking of the Billy Goat’s Curse with Steve Goodman singing “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”:


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?

When I was a boy, they were my pride and joy

But now they only bring fatigue

To the home of the brave, the land of the free

And the doormat of the National League.


You can check out Steve Goodman singing in the video below:


Steve Goodman sings “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”


Go! Cubs! Go!


Gail Reynolds

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