Story Behind the Song: ‘City of New Orleans’ by Arlo Guthrie
One of the biggest masters of all time in the history of music is Willie Nelson. I say it for many reasons.
His song writing, talent as a singer and his ability with a guitar. Also the amount of duet partners he's had is more than anyone. And most of all, his longevity in the business thru drasticly changing times.
And there's something else to mention, his bravery. He was brave enough to do covers on major hits, that other artists wouldn't even consider attempting.
Songs like "Georgia" by Ray Charles and "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" by Roy Acuff. And a song that is the center of focus for this story, "City Of New Orleans".
The song was a major pop hit 12 years earlier for Arlo Guthrie in 1972. Willie did a remake in 1984 and took it to number one. And to top it off, he earned a Grammy Award for Country Song Of The Year.
The story behind the song is, it was written by Steve Goodman in 1970. He had just gotten married and was traveling with his new bride to meet her grandmother.
They rode the train on the Illinois Central Line called The City Of New Orleans. As his wife Nancy slept, Steve jotted down notes about the passing scenery. After they returned home to Chicago, he blended it all into a song.
Here's the original version by Arlo Guthrie:
Now Willie's version: