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City of New Orleans

In 1970, Steve wrote a song which would eventually be called by many people "the best train song ever written."   Steve pitched the song to Arlo Guthrie, and in 1972, Arlo included the song on his album Hobo's Lullaby.  It was then released as a single and became a big-time hit record.  Steve always thanked Arlo for recording the song, and for making it possible for Steve to do what he loved -- playing music for a living.

ABC News' morning show, Good Morning America, which started in the mid-70's, took its name and its original theme from the chorus of City of New Orleans.


Here are the original Steve Goodman lyrics:

City of New Orleans
   Turnpike Tom Music 1970

Riding on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' towns that have no names
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles

Chorus
Good morning, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Dealin' cards with the old men in the club car
Penny a point, ain't no one keepin' score
Won't you pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steam
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they dream

Chorus

Night time on The City of New Orleans
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Half way home, and we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea
And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his song again
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues

Final Chorus
Good night, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Repeat First Chorus
Good morning, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done


Copyright 2003 - 2005

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