Steve Goodman might not be a household name, but in the Chicago metropolitan area, he’s heard throughout the summer as the singer of the Cubs’ victory anthem “Go, Cubs, Go.”
Goodman’s 1984 song never appeared on a Billboard songs chart, but it has been a staple at Cubs home games since 2007, playing after every home win at Wrigley Field — and since the Cubs rarely advanced to the playoffs, where they play to a larger audience, “Go, Cubs, Go” didn’t gain much traction outside Chicago. But as the Cubs’ chances at winning the pennant and the World Series drew closer, the song experienced a resurgence.
The song logged 1.19 million on-demand streams (audio and video combined) in the tracking week ending Oct. 27, according to Nielsen Music, a 412 percent increase from the week prior. It’s on track for a big gain in the week ending Nov. 3 (the day after the Cubs won the World Series), according to preliminary data.
The song also sold 7,000 downloads in the week ending Oct. 27, a 292 percent increase from the previous tracking week.
“Go, Cubs, Go” also debuted on Spotify’s Viral 50 chart at No. 22 and on the LyricFind U.S. chart at No. 8 (charts dated Nov. 12). The LyricFind U.S. chart ranks the fastest momentum-gaining tracks in lyric-search queries in the U.S., with data provided by more than 4,000 publishers and utilized by more than 100 services, including Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Shazam, Microsoft, Yahoo, SoundHound and iHeartRadio.
Goodman, who died from leukemia in 1984 at age 36, is somewhat of a cult figure among die-hard Cubs fans. An article in Sports Illustrated says he would schedule his concert tours “around chemotherapy and the baseball season,” and some of his ashes were spread on Wrigley Field. He wrote other songs about the Cubbies, including “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request,” written years after he was diagnosed, and “The Cubs Go Marching In,” but neither have had the shelf life of “Go, Cubs, Go.”
Two of Goodman’s albums appeared on the Billboard 200 during his career. His album Jessie’s Jig & Other Favorites reached No. 144 in September 1975 and his follow-up album, Words We Can Dance To, landed at No. 175 in June 1976.