Track of the Day: ‘Go, Cubs, Go’ by Steve Goodman

Goodman with his Cubs hat in April 1983 (Wikimedia)
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader in Oakland, Dave, emailed this entry prior to last night’s World Series finale:

I was tickled to see among your recent “Track of the Day” choices two songs by the late lamented singer/songwriter Steve Goodman. Before his tragically premature death from leukemia, my wife and I attended many Goodman sets at Somebody Else’s Troubles and other Chicago folk venues of the ’60s and ’70s. Thanks for introducing Steve’s work to a whole new generation of music fans.

An interesting footnote: As a lifelong, dogged Chicago Cubs fan, Goodman was locally famous for “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request,” but he also wrote a rollicking anthem called “Go, Cubs, Go,” which the club now plays as a fan sing-along after every Cubs home victory. It’s a shame he’s not around see his favorite team’s success this year.

The song has predictably seen a huge resurgence:

Goodman’s 1984 song never appeared on a Billboard songs chart, but it has been a staple at Cubs home games since 2007, playing after every home win at Wrigley Field -- and since the Cubs rarely advanced to the playoffs, where they play to a larger audience, “Go, Cubs, Go” didn’t gain much traction outside Chicago. [But the song] logged 1.19 million on-demand streams (audio and video combined) in the tracking week ending Oct. 27, according to Nielsen Music, a 412 percent increase from the week prior. It’s on track for a big gain in the week ending Nov. 3 (the day after the Cubs won the World Series), according to preliminary data. ...

Goodman, who died from leukemia in 1984 at age 36, is somewhat of a cult figure among die-hard Cubs fans. An article in Sports Illustrated says he would schedule his concert tours “around chemotherapy and the baseball season,” and some of his ashes were spread on Wrigley Field.

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)