Friday, June 12, 2009

Cub Fans and Music Lovers: Try This, Genius

If you aren't familiar with the man behind the music played after every Cub win, you really ought to cozy up to the music of the late Steve Goodman. Before it became fashionable to be a talented singer/songwriter/Cub fan, Goodman was the original. He wrote songs for Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and more aspiring Chicago musicians than you can shake Soriano at. His most popular songs, though, are probably his Cub-related tunes, "Go Cubs Go," and the above video, "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request."

The truly sad thing is that he really was a Dying Cub Fan. Goodman fought leukemia for essentially his entire career and finally passed away on September 20, 1984 at the age of 36. If your math skills and sense of Cub history are sharp, you already realize just how sad a life he had as a tortured musician and Cub fan . . .

The Cubs didn't play a single postseason game during Steve Goodman's lifetime.

So if you're looking for music to accompany your sorrows for Steve Goodman and the seemingly endless plight of the Cubs, I suggest this little experiment: play "Go Cubs Go" on your iPod or iTunes and click that fun little "Genius" button. Here are a few selections from the playlist of ironic torment and musical consolation my system delivered:

1. "Go Cubs Go," Steve Goodman (Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today.)

2. "The Blower's Daughter," Damien Rice (And so it is, the shorter story, no love, no glory . . . the link plays "Cannonball," but whatever)

3. "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (Heaven knows how much I cry)

4. "The Long Ride Home," Patty Griffin (Pretty sure this describes the journey back to Chicago yesterday)

5. "Ain't No Reason," Brett Dennen (There ain't no reason things are this way, that's how they always been and they intend to stay.)

6. "At My Window, Sad and Lonely," Billy Bragg & Wilco (But remember, I will love you 'til I die)

7. "How Come," Ray LaMontagne (Everybody on a shoestring, everybody in a hole)

8. "I Don't Know," Lisa Hannigan (I don't know what you smoke.)

9. "Out Loud," Mindy Smith (It's no wonder that we're sinking down.)

10. "Wrecking Ball," Gillian Welch (Too much trouble for me to shake. Oh, the weather and the blinded ache)

So that's it. Put "Go Cubs Go" into your iPod Genius machine and listen to the steady stream of sorrow pour into your soul. Obviously it helps if you have some related music, but I'd love to hear what bleeds from your iTunes when you do the same.

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