Posts Tagged ‘Arlo Guthrie’

Sanders to Present CONO Program on Zoom to Potomac Chapter NRHS

April 19, 2021

Former Akron Railroad Club president Craig Sanders will present his program on the famous railroad song City of New Orleans to the Potomac Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society via Zoom on Tuesday night.

The meeting, which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, is open to all and can be accessed via the link below:

Meeting ID: 858 7288 4361
Passcode: 953143

Sanders will discuss how songwriter Steve Goodman came to write about the train with the disappearing railroad blues and how he went about trying to get a known performer to record it.

Although several artists have recorded City of New Orleans over the years the best known rendition was sang by Arlo Guthrie.

The Guthrie version reached the top 20 in summer 1972. A version sung by Willie Nelson became a No. 1 country hit in 1984 and earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy award a year later.

Sanders Article Appears in September Issue of Trains

July 25, 2017

An article written by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will appear in the September 2017 issue of Trains magazine.

The article tells the story of how the late Steve Goodman came to write the song City of New Orleans.

Although Goodman recorded the song in 1971, it didn’t become popular until it was recorded by Arlo Guthrie and released in spring 1972. The song reached the top 20 on the music charts in summer 1972 by which time it had begun receiving widespread play on AM and FM stations nationwide.

Goodman, who died of leukemia in September 1984, often said in interviews that the song describes a trip that he and his wife, Nancy, took aboard Illinois Central’s City of New Orleans in April 1970 from Chicago to Mattoon, Illinois.

However, Goodman began working on the song in 1967 following a trip from Chicago to New Orleans aboard No. 1. It was an experience that he had on the return trip aboard No. 2 that got him interested in writing a song about the train.

At the time, Goodman was a college student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He often rode the train between his home in Chicago and the UI campus.

That 1967 experience led to Goodman crafting with the help of a friend some initial lyrics, including the chorus.

The April 1970 trip, though, provided many of the observations that appears in the first two verses of the song.

Sanders told the story about how Goodman came to write the song and how Guthrie came to record it during a program that he presented at the September 2012 ARRC meeting.

He later took his research and created an article that he sent to Trains with the idea that it would be published in April 2015, the 45th anniversary of Goodman’s trip that inspired him to finish the song.

The magazine, though held the article for nearly two years. In the September 2017 issue it is paired with a piece written by Kevin P. Keefe that examines how America’s roots music grew up along railroads lines, particularly in Mississippi, and an article by Ed Ellis about how former City of New Orleans observation car Mardi Gras has been restored and is now operated by Iowa Pacific Holdings.

Those articles along with Sanders’ story about the writing of City of New Orleans appear under the theme “railroads and music.”