It was nice today to hear a piece on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday about Steve Goodman. The main focus of the story was that he wrote the song, "Go, Cubs, Go!," which is particularly timely at the moment. Host Scott Simon talks to Goodman's biography Clay Eals, and plays clips for a few songs in the five-minute segment. (Left out was that Steve Goodman and Hillary Clinton went to school together, Maine South High School, in Park Ridge. Illinois.
Speaking of high school, if memory serves I’m pretty sure that Scott Simon went to the one I did, New Trier. He wrote an autobiography, Home and Away, that was fun, and turned out to have a lot of overlap with my early life.
I also traded several emails a while back with the guy he interviews, Clay Eals. I’d mentioned Eals and his biography, Steve Goodman: Facing the Music, in an article I’d written about Steve Goodman, and he sent me a copy, which I wrote about. (It was enjoyable, most especially for huge Steve Goodman fans, and a seriously impressive bit of scholarship – but is egregiously looooooong. The book is oversized – much bigger pages than a usual book, and it was still close to 800 pages. This for a fellow who died at the age of 36. I read a biography of Winston Churchill that was only 600 pages. The shame is that the book is well-written and a terrific introduction to Steve Goodman (along, of course, with his albums...). But no matter how good and especially-scholarly the book is, if you want to introduce Steve Goodman to people who don’t know him, they might pick up a 350-page book – but most likely not an oversized 778-page book. So, it probably cuts out a good part of the potential market. I suspect that Mr. Eals and the publisher recognized that there weren't probably gong to be many other biographies on Steve Goodman, so they wanted to be definitive. And this is that.
One quibble with the interview. That's when they ponder about if the Cubs would lose their mystique if they won the World Series. I’m sure that will be the case for some people – most of whom aren’t from Chicago -- but they were talking about Steve Goodman, who was a maniacal Cubs fan, and I can’t imagine him or any Cubs fan who are that die-hard who wouldn’t be going crazy cheering for them to win.
Of course, with the team down two games to one, we might not have that problem to deal with. But we hopes...
Here's the five-minute piece --
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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