An early performance from the talented Chicago songwriter who died of leukemia in 1984, aged just 36.
The Old Grey Whistle Test first broadcast in 1971 and ran through to 1987 when Janet Street-Porter, the BBC’s newly appointed Head of Youth Programming, decided to close it. Readers of a certain vintage will have many fond memories of the programme but luckily with BBC repeats and of course our old friend Youtube, we can now relive those memories/find out what all the fuss was about (delete as age appropriate).
This Steve Goodman clip comes from 1972. It features possibly his best known song ‘The City of New Orleans’ which appeared on Goodman’s 1971 self-titled album. It describes a train ride from his hometown of Chicago to New Orleans on a train called The City of New Orleans. The song has been covered by many other artists and was a hit twice, firstly for Arlo Guthrie in 1972 and then for Willie Nelson in 1984, however, I’ve yet to hear a better version than Goodman’s own performance here on the OGWT. Information about Steve Goodman was added to the clip when it was re-broadcast as part of the BBC4 compilation ‘Songwriters at the BBC’. This performance is a musical triumph but also brings home the tragedy of his death only 12 years later when you see just how young he looks and imagine how much more he had to give.
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