Cultural Percussionist

Steve Goodman Day

Steven Benjamin Goodman (July 25, 1948 – September 20, 1984) was an American folk music singer-songwriter from Chicago. He wrote the song “City of New Orleans,” which was recorded by Arlo Guthrie and many others including Joan Baez, John Denver and Judy Collins; in 1985, it received a Grammy award for best country song, as performed by Willie Nelson. Goodman had a small but dedicated group of fans for his albums and concerts during his lifetime, and is generally considered a musician’s musician. His most frequently sung song is the Chicago Cubs anthem, “Go, Cubs, Go“. Goodman died of leukemia in September 1984.

Born on Chicago’s North Side to a middle-class Jewish family, Goodman began writing and performing songs as a teenager, after his family had moved to the near north suburbs. He graduated from Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, in 1965, where he was a classmate of Hillary Clinton. Before that, however, he began his public singing career by leading the junior choir at Temple Beth Israel in Albany Park. In the fall of 1965, he entered the University of Illinois and pledged the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, where he, Ron Banyon, and Steve Hartmann formed a popular rock cover band, “The Juicy Fruits”. He left college after one year to pursue his musical career. In the early spring of 1967, Goodman went to New York, staying for a month in a Greenwich Village brownstone across the street from the Cafe Wha?, where Goodman performed regularly during his brief stay there. Returning to Chicago, he intended to restart his education but he dropped out again to pursue his musical dream full-time after discovering the cause of his continuous fatigue was actually leukemia, the disease that was present during the entirety of his recording career, until his death in 1984. In 1968 Goodman began performing at the Earl of Old Town in Chicago and attracted a following. By 1969, Goodman was a regular performer in Chicago, while attending Lake Forest College. During this time Goodman supported himself by singing advertising jingles.

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