Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vintage Song Sunday: A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request

Many great things in life can be bought with a beer. Need help in moving your furniture from one apartment to the next? Get some beer for your friends. Need the cable guy to add a lil sump'n sump'n, offer up a beer.

A Dying Cub Fan's Last RequestFor folk singer Steve Goodman, in the early 1970's, he was able to buy the attention of a young Arlo Guthrie with a beer. Guthrie like many artists had people coming up to him and wanting to play a song for him to listen. Guthrie agreed to listen to Goodman's song as long as Steve bought him a beer, and for as long as it took him to drink the beer. The song was "The City of New Orleans", the terrific rambling tune of a train that garnered Guthrie a top 20 hit in '72, and that was later covered by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson amongst many others and earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy in 1985.

A true Chicagoan, Goodman was born in 1948 on Chicago's North Side. His love of music led him to start writing songs and he often performed during his teenage years while at Maine East High School, after his parents moved to the North Suburbs. Staying close to home, he went to the University of Illinois and then staying closer to his dream, he left college to pursue a career in music.

The Emblem Source Chicago Cubs Retro 1960's Jersey Sleeve PatchGrowing up on the North Side of Chicago, Goodman also had another love besides music and that was baseball and The Chicago Cubs. He wrote three songs about the Cubs: "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request", "When the Cubs Go Marching In", and "Go Cubs Go."

Well known for his die hard fan loyalty to the Cubs and popular for playing around town, the Cubs were to have Goodman perform the "Star Spangled Banner" before their first playoff game in 39 years in 1984, however Goodman was battling Leukemia since the late 60's and unfortunately he passed away four days before the Cubs clinched the playoff spot. Jimmy Buffet filled in for Goodman and dedicated the song to him.  The Cubs would win the first two games of the playoffs vs the San Diego Padres, and then go on to lose the next three in heartbreaking fashion.

In 1988, Goodman's wishes from his song were realized when his ashes were spread at Wrigley Field.  This is  one of the most accurate songs about the Chicago Cubs and what they can do to your heartstrings, time and time again.  Today's Old Time, Famous, Vintage, Heartfelt, Sad Yet Beautiful Baseball Song of the Day; "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" by Steve Goodman.  All Cub fans, raise an Old Style beer to you every time this song is heard.

It's been 101 years since the Cubs won the World Series.  I think there's been a lot of requests.  If you think about it, nobody is alive that last saw them win the World Series.

BSOD 4/4/2010: A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request
Artist: Steve Goodman
Released: 1979

By the shore's of old Lake Michigan
Where the "hawk wind" blows so cold
An old Cub fan lay dying
In his midnight hour that tolled
Round his bed, his friends had all gathered
They knew his time was short
And on his head they put this bright blue cap
From his all-time favorite sport
He told them, "Its late and its getting dark in here"
And I know its time to go
But before I leave the line-up
Boys, there's just one thing I'd like to know

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

Told his friends "You know the law of averages says:
Anything will happen that can"
That's what it says
"But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan"
The Cubs made me a criminal
Sent me down a wayward path
They stole my youth from me
(that's the truth)
I'd forsake my teachers
To go sit in the bleachers
In flagrant truancy

and then one thing led to another
and soon I'd discovered alcohol, gambling, dope
football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis
But what do you expect,
When you raise up a young boy's hopes
And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups
Year after year after year
after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
'Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
for the pigeons beneath the 'L' tracks to eat
He said, "You know I'll never see Wrigley Field,
anymore before my eternal rest
So if you have your pencils and your score cards ready,
and I'll read you my last request

He said, "Give me a double header funeral in Wrigley Field
On some sunny weekend day (no lights)
Have the organ play the "National Anthem"
and then a little 'na, na, na, na, hey hey, hey, Goodbye'
Make six bullpen pitchers, carry my coffin
and six ground keepers clear my path
Have the umpires bark me out at every base
In all their holy wrath

Its a beautiful day for a funeral, Hey Ernie lets play two!
Somebody go get Jack Brickhouse to come back,
and conduct just one more interview
Have the Cubbies run right out into the middle of the field,
Have Keith Moreland drop a routine fly
Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt
And I'll be ready to die

Build a big fire on home plate out of your Louisville Sluggers baseball bats
And toss my coffin in
Let my ashes blow in a beautiful snow
From the prevailing 30 mile an hour southwest wind
When my last remains go flying over the left-field wall
Will bid the bleacher bums ad eu
And I will come to my final resting place, out on Waveland Avenue

The dying man's friends told him to cut it out
They said stop it that's an awful shame
He whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of Fame
He said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,
So its just what I'm going to do
He said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,
So its me that feels sorry for you!"

And he said, "Ahh Play, play that lonesome losers tune,
That's the one I like the best"
And he closed his eyes, and slipped away
What we got is the Dying Cub Fan's Last Request
And here it is

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


Oh, and if you're from Chicago and never heard, "The Lincoln Park Pirates" about the Lincoln Towing Service, it's a must listen for anyone who's been plundered and pilfered by them.


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