Discover the Fascinating Story Behind ‘City of New Orleans’ Lyrics by Arlo Guthrie: A Comprehensive Guide [with Stats and Tips]

Discover the Fascinating Story Behind ‘City of New Orleans’ Lyrics by Arlo Guthrie: A Comprehensive Guide [with Stats and Tips]

Short answer: Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie can be found on various lyrics websites such as Genius, AZLyrics, and MetroLyrics. The song tells the story of a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans and the characters on board.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Decode the Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie’s classic song City of New Orleans has been a crowd favorite for decades. It’s a masterful and poetic depiction of a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans, and its lyrics have mystified many a listener over the years. But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be that complicated! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to decode the lyrics to City of New Orleans and gain a deeper appreciation for this timeless piece.

Step 1: Read through the Lyrics

Before we begin decoding, it’s important to get acquainted with the lyrics. So take out your copy of City of New Orleans (or look up the lyrics online) and read through them slowly. Take note of Ghutrie’s vivid descriptions of various places on your way: “ride through the swamps of Louisiana” or “past fields of cotton”. Try to imagine yourself on that train journey while reading these lines.

Step 2: Identify Literary Devices

One reason why City of New Orleans is such a great song is because Guthrie uses literary devices like metaphor, repetition, alliteration and imagery throughout the song that create an emotional experience for listeners.

For instance in one line he sings about “the rhythm of the rails” which uses alliteration highlighting travel as an ongoing experience. The phrase “Good morning America” repeated at beginnings evokes time passing by through different landscapes seen out of windows along with seasons… Keep an eye out for these techniques as you read through the lyrics again, along with other devices such as puns (“passing towns that have no names”), rhymes (“all along the southbound odyssey / The train pulls out at Kankakee”) or similes (“Like a ribbon winding’ back”).

Step 3: Interpretation

Now let’s dig deeper into what each verse means:

Verse 1- Depicting train stopping at various stations in different towns or cities along the way.
Verse 2- Observing people and lifestyles across the American South during this journey.
Verse 3- Appreciation of scenic beauty in swamp lands, fields of cotton or wheat, and sunset over Mississippi River is shown here.
Verse 4- Talks about a homeless man sleeping in coach compartment, an example of how grim possibilities also coexist with luxury travel experiences like riding a train.

Step 4: The Chorus:

The chorus serves as a recurring refrain in the song that ties everything together. It describes the train as rolling down “the mighty mississippi”, suggesting that even though the journey has many stops, it ultimately leads to its final destination. It reminds us of the aspect of time moving forward while our journeys continue to unfold.


City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie is a poetic masterpiece which captures both the passage’s beauty and grittiness. Decoding its lyrics can help listeners appreciate its brilliance even more. By understanding literary devices employed throughout different verses and interpreting through different perspectives – socio-economic or personal wellbeing for instance –one can find deeper meaning within these four-minute musical odyssey that transports you through various locales across America’s heartland. So next time you hear this iconic track on your playlist (as I surely will), keep these thoughts in mind and lose yourself again into transporting vibes created by Arlo Guthrie’s masterful storytelling.

Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie: Frequently Asked Questions

“Riding on the City of New Orleans, Illinois Central Monday morning rail
15 cars and 15 restless riders, three conductors and 25 sacks of mail”

These iconic lyrics, sung by folk musician Arlo Guthrie, have become a beloved staple in American music culture. While the City of New Orleans is not only a song but also an actual train route that runs from Chicago to New Orleans, many fans still have questions surrounding the meaning behind Guthrie’s lyrics. In this blog post, we aim to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about “City of New Orleans.”

Who wrote “City of New Orleans”?

“City of New Orleans” was actually written by Steve Goodman, another well-known folk musician. Goodman originally recorded the song in 1971 for his own album, but it wasn’t until Arlo Guthrie recorded a cover version that it really took off. Guthrie’s version went on to win a Grammy Award in 1985.

What is the significance of the train ride from Chicago to New Orleans?

The train ride from Chicago to New Orleans was an important form of transportation during its time. Before highways and air travel were popularized, trains were often seen as the easiest and most affordable way to travel long distances. The Illinois Central Railroad ran this particular route, with stops in various cities along the way including Memphis and Jackson before reaching its final destination in Louisiana.

How does “City of New Orleans” relate to American history?

America has always had a strong history with railways; they are one key factor responsible for shifting goods and people across vast distances throughout much of the nation’s early history. On top of that, songs like “City Of New Orleans” brought attention and helped capture insightful people’s experiences associated with these railway systems.

What inspired Steve Goodman to write “City Of New Orleans?”

Steve Goodman was actually inspired by taking an actual trip on this train line; His experience during the ride led him to pen lyrics that expressed a deep appreciation and affection for people from different walks of life going to various destinations, but beyond that shared connection with one another. The train became a symbol for cross-country unity — passengers of all ages, colors, and differing personalities embark on journeys together but find common ground as the train makes its steady advance.

What message is Guthrie conveying through his rendition?

Arlo Guthrie’s cover version moves at an upbeat pace; the imagery which he paints allows listeners to visualize their own experiences on this journey. In doing so, Arlo truly embraces Goodman’s message in ways that transcends not just time but also people as passengers board the train daily. Like many folk songs inspired by prairies of America and mining towns of Western states, City Of New Orleans captivates audiences because it captures human emotions — love, loss and yearning.

In conclusion, “City of New Orleans” is more than just a song about a train ride – it’s a powerful representation of American history while embodying all its contradictions. At its core lies a celebration of diversity along with finding harmony amidst differences. This classic tune has become beloved by generations thanks to its unforgettable melody and uplifting message – making it worth any commuter’s time :)

Top 5 Surprising Facts About the Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

If you’re a fan of folk music, then there’s a high chance that you’ve heard the song “City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie. This classic tune has been covered by a plethora of artists over the years and remains an essential part of many people’s playlists to this day. But even if you’ve listened to it countless times, there are still some surprising facts about the lyrics that may come as a surprise. So without further ado, here are the top five unexpected things you may not have known about “City of New Orleans.”

1. It’s Not Actually About New Orleans

Despite its name, “City of New Orleans” isn’t actually about the famous Louisiana city. Instead, it focuses on a train called The City of New Orleans that ran from Chicago to New Orleans via Memphis in the 1940s up until 1971 when Amtrak took over its operation.

2. Steve Goodman Wrote It

While Arlo Guthrie is most closely associated with this song, he didn’t actually write it—Steve Goodman did. Goodman was an accomplished folk singer-songwriter in his own right and frequently toured with Guthrie before passing away from leukemia at just 36 years old.

3. It Wasn’t A Hit Until Cover Versions Were Released

When Guthrie originally released “City of New Orleans” on his album Hobo’s Lullaby in 1972, it didn’t make much of an impact on the charts. It wasn’t until several popular covers were released—one by Johnny Cash and another by Willie Nelson—that it reached number one on the country chart and became a hit.

4. There Are Multiple Historical References In The Lyrics

For history buffs or those interested in Americana lore, there are multiple nods to notable figures and events in American culture throughout the lyrics to “City of New Orleans.” For example, its reference to Booker T. Washington helped draw attention to the “Great Black Migration” of millions of African American citizens from the rural South to industrial cities in search of better work opportunities.

5. It Almost Didn’t Get Recorded At All

When Steve Goodman originally wrote “City of New Orleans,” it was intended for his own album, but due to time constraints, he wasn’t able to include it. When Guthrie and Goodman were touring together, Goodman offered the song as a gift to Guthrie, who eventually recorded it for his own album. Without this happy coincidence, we might never have heard this classic folk tune at all.

In conclusion, while you may have thought you knew everything there is to know about “City of New Orleans,” these five surprising facts show that there’s always something new to discover in even the most well-known songs. So take another listen (or two or three) and see if you can pick up any other interesting details hidden within its lyrics—there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new!

Discovering Hidden Meanings in the Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

When it comes to folk music, few names ring as loud and true as Arlo Guthrie. The son of legendary songwriter Woody Guthrie, Arlo has been a mainstay in the genre for over five decades. One of his most iconic songs is “City of New Orleans,” first recorded by Steve Goodman in 1970 before becoming a hit for Guthrie seven years later. At first glance, the lyrics seem straightforward enough – a train ride from Chicago to Louisiana aboard the titular locomotive. But dig deeper and you’ll find hidden meanings and layers of subtext that reveal a greater commentary on American culture.

The opening verse sets the stage with vivid imagery: “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.” Right off the bat we get a sense of motion and movement – this train ride isn’t going to be slow or boring. But who are these restless riders? What do they represent? Some have suggested that they symbolize different States in America, with each rider standing for a different characteristic or identity trait. For example, one could argue that the “biggest hobo” represents California’s free-spiritedness while the “old man from Babylon” stands for New York’s sophistication.

As we move into the chorus (“Good morning America how are ya? / Don’t you know me I’m your native son”), we’re presented with an interesting contrast. On one hand, Guthrie seems to be celebrating Americana – he even greets his home country by name! But on closer inspection, this salutation may come across as somewhat sarcastic or biting; after all, it implies a level of familiarity that might not really exist between everyone who calls America their home. Additionally, some have pointed out that Guthrie was deliberately drawing attention to certain social issues (like poverty) that America has been grappling with for decades.

The second verse of “City of New Orleans” touches on themes of isolation and loneliness. Guthrie sings about a man playing solitaire, a woman serving sandwiches, and a paper bag holding some cold hot coffee. There’s a real sense of mundane desperation here – these people don’t seem to have much going on in their lives beyond this train ride. But, again, there may be more going on beneath the surface. Some have suggested that the references to chess (the game that the man is playing) represent strategic thinking or metaphorical gamesmanship in American politics, while the “cold hot coffee” could be seen as analagous to lukewarm policies or lackluster leadership.

As we near the end of the song, Guthrie throws in one last line that really ties everything together: “Dealing card games with the old man in the club car / Penny a point ain’t no one keepin’ score.” Here he seems to be highlighting America’s tendency towards competitive market-capitalism – even something as innocuous as a casual card game is still subject to aggressive penny-pinching and ego-stroking. And hey – maybe there’s even another subtle reference to politics here; after all, isn’t Washington D.C. often referred to as “the Club?”

In conclusion, Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” may appear like nothing more than an ode to train travel at first glance. But dig deeper and you’ll find lyrics that explore themes like national identity, social inequality, and systemic conflict. It just goes to show that folk music has always been about more than just catchy melodies and clever instrumentation; it can be an incredibly powerful tool for illuminating hidden truths about ourselves and our society.

Decoding the Verses and Chorus: Understanding the Structure of Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

Understanding the structure of a song is like understanding the architecture of a building. Without it, you may be able to see and appreciate the individual parts, but you won’t be able to fully grasp the whole picture. This idea holds true for one of Arlo Guthrie’s most iconic songs: “City of New Orleans.” In this piece, we will dive into decoding the verses and chorus, exploring how they work together to create a memorable musical experience.

At its core, “City of New Orleans” follows a simple verse-chorus structure. The song begins with an introductory verse that sets up the narrative: “Riding on the City of New Orleans / Illinois Central Monday morning rail / 15 cars and 15 restless riders / Three conductors and 25 sacks of mail.” From there, we move into two more verses that build upon this initial imagery, introducing characters and painting vivid pictures of life aboard the train.

But it’s not until we hit the chorus that things really take off. Here, Guthrie brings in his powerful lyrics (penned by Steve Goodman) that have come to define this song: “Good morning America how are ya? / 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.”

If there’s one thing that sets this song apart from countless others in its genre, it’s these cleverly constructed choruses. Not only do they offer a great opportunity for audience participation (who doesn’t love belting out those famous opening lines?), but they also add an extra layer of meaning to the overall piece.

For example, at first glance, those opening lines might seem almost trivial – just another greeting from someone passing through town. But as we listen deeper into all three choruses throughout the course of the song – each with their own slightly tweaked variations -we start to see how Guthrie is using them as a metaphorical thread. He’s painting a broader picture of America: one that’s vast and sprawling, but also tightly knit in its own unique way.

This approach is especially evident when we take a closer look at the final chorus: “Nighttime on The City Of New Orleans / Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee / Half way home, we’ll be there by morning / Through the Mississippi darkness rolling down to the sea.” Here, Guthrie uses language that emphasizes the passing of time – moving from daytime to nighttime – and hints at a deeper emotional connection between the train and its riders. It’s not just about going from one destination to another; it’s about experiencing something together.

Overall, while “City of New Orleans” may seem like a simple song upon first listen, it’s really an intricate piece of storytelling that relies heavily on its structure. From the careful weaving of each verse into a larger narrative through to those unforgettable choruses that bring everything together, Arlo Guthrie and Steve Goodman created something truly special with this track. So next time you find yourself humming along to those opening lines or tapping your foot as the beat kicks up during those choruses, take a moment to fully embrace all that structure has to offer. After all, it’s what makes this piece such an enduring classic.

A Tribute in Words: Appreciating the Poetry within Lyrics to City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

When it comes to appreciating music, most people focus primarily on the melody or rhythm, with lyrics often taking a backseat. But every once in a while, we come across a song whose lyrics transcend the usual expectations of Top 40 hits and enter into poetic territory. One such song is “City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie.

At first listen, “City of New Orleans” might just sound like a catchy tune about a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans. But upon closer examination, the true beauty and charm of the song lies in its lyrical content. The opening lines set the tone for what’s to come: “Riding on the City of New Orleans / Illinois Central Monday morning rail / Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders.”

Right away, we’re presented with vivid imagery that paints a picture of a bustling train journey. We can see the rows of cars stretching out before us, and feel the jostling motion as we settle in for what promises to be an interesting trip.

As the song continues, we’re struck by Guthrie’s masterful use of metaphor and personification. The train itself becomes a character in its own right – not just an object that transports passengers from point A to point B. We hear about how it “rolls along past houses, farms, and fields,” almost as if it has some sense of direction or purpose beyond simply moving forward.

This idea is reinforced later on when Guthrie writes about “the disappearing railroad blues,” implying that there’s something melancholic about this train’s journey – as if it’s taking us somewhere we don’t necessarily want to go (or perhaps leaving behind something we’d rather not forget).

Of course, no discussion of “City of New Orleans” would be complete without mentioning its chorus: “Good morning America how are you? / Don’t you know me I’m your native son.” These lines have become iconic in their own right, not just because of the catchy melody but also because of what they represent: a sense of belonging and connection to one’s roots.

Through his lyrics, Guthrie manages to capture something essential about America itself – its vastness, its diversity, and its unique character. He reminds us that even as we travel from place to place, we’re all part of the same larger community – one that we can never truly leave behind.

In short, “City of New Orleans” is a testament to the power of words. Through his clever use of language and knack for storytelling, Guthrie takes us on a journey that goes far beyond mere entertainment. He shows us how music can be used as a vehicle for deeper understanding and appreciation – if only we take the time to really listen.

Table with useful data:

Line Number Lyrics
1 Riding on the City of New Orleans
2 Illinois Central, Monday morning rail
3 15 cars and 15 restless riders
4 Three conductors and 25 sacks of mail
5 All along the southbound odyssey
6 The train pulls out at Kankakee
7 Rolls along past houses, farms, and fields
8 Passin’ trains that have no names
9 Freight yards full of old black men
10 And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles
11 Good morning America, how are you?
12 Say, don’t you know me, I’m your native son?
13 I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans
14 I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Information from an expert

As a lyrics expert, I can confidently say that Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” is a masterpiece. With lyrics that depict the beautiful journey of a train ride across America while also highlighting the struggles and stories of its passengers, this song has stood the test of time. From lines like “Good morning America how are you?” to “Dealin’ cards games with old men in the club car,” Guthrie paints a vivid picture with his words and takes listeners on a ride they won’t forget. The lyrics to “City of New Orleans” are truly poetry in motion.

Historical fact:

The lyrics to “City of New Orleans” were originally written by Steve Goodman in 1970, and the song was famously covered by Arlo Guthrie in 1972, becoming a hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It has since been recorded by numerous artists and is considered a classic American folk song.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: