City of New Orleans Lyrics

Is this the best train song ever written?

City of New Orleans train song with memorable live performance by The Highwaymen.

The City of New Orleans Lyrics was written by Steve Goodman.  It is a song about a nightly passenger train currently operated by Amtrak which travels 934 miles between Chicago and New Orleans.

Prior to Amtrak's formation in 1971 the train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad along the same route.

Goodman wrote the City of New Orleans Lyrics  describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad.  He got the idea while traveling on the train for a visit to his wife's family.

The song was originally recorded by Arlo Guthrie. Gurhrie's version of the song became a Top 20 hit in 1972. Goodman also wrote David Allan Coe's first big hit in 1974 called "You Never Even Called Me By My Name."

City of New Orleans Lyrics - The artist, the song and the Chicago Cubs.

The song, about the Illinois Central's City of New Orleans train, would become an American standard. Willie Nelson's recorded version earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy Award for "Best Country Song' in 1985.

Steve Goodman was a devoted Chicago Cubs fan and wrote three songs about the Cubs.

Four days after his death in 1984 the Cubs clinched the Eastern Division National League title for the first time ever, earning them their first post-season appearance since 1945.

Goodman had been asked to sing The Star-Spangled Banner for their first post season game.

Jimmy Buffett filled in, and dedicated the song to Goodman. In April 1988, some of Goodman's ashes were scattered at Wrigley Field, home of Steve's beloved Chicago Cubs.  

Twenty eight years later his beloved Chicago Cubs would be crowned  World Champions of baseball.  

In 1970, Steve wrote a song which would eventually be called by many people "the best train song ever written."

Please enjoy this great song and sing-a-long to the City of New Orleans Lyrics.


Lyrics by Steve Goodman
Best Country Song in 1985
Vocals - Willie Nelson

Ridin' on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday mornin' rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the south-bound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' trains that have no names
And freight yards full of old black men
And the grave-yards of the rusted automobiles

Good morning America...how are you?
Say don't you know me...I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
And 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 grumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of Pullman porters...and the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep...rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they dream

Good morning America how are you?
Say don't you know me I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
And I'll be gone five-hundred miles when the day is done


Night time on the City of New Orleans
Changin' cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Halfway home, and we'll be there by mornin'
Through the Mississippi darkness rollin' down to the sea
But 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 songs again
The passengers will please refrain
This train's has got the disappearing railroad blues

Good morning America how are you?
Say don't you know me I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
And I'll be gone five-hundred miles when the day is done
(repeat last line three times)


A Favorite Johnny Cash Rockabilly Song - Big River Lyrics

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