Song of the Day: Randall Goodgame

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I chose this song because I was was around during its pregnancy. Randy started with the first few verses and played them for me one afternoon while we were cowriting (working on a song of mine called “Alaska or Bust”, in fact). Charles Schultz had just died, and Randy wasn’t sure if the verses were good enough to turn into anything. I loved the verses, I said, and asked if I could try my hand at finishing the song. He agreed.

album_5.jpgThe next day I played him what I had written and he wasn’t crazy about it. Neither was I, come to think of it, because my attempt was a song that was much smaller than it deserved to be. Randall worked on the song for years, a fine example of the fact that songwriting is more like tending a garden than bobbing for apples. I heard probably three different versions of the song before he was finally satisfied, and in the end the song branched out into three parts, an ode to excellent, creative songwriting as much as to the enduring work of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts.

To my delight, one of my lines made it to the final version:

She always wore that same blue dress
‘Cause she fancied Schroeder liked that color best

My own personal connection to what I consider to be a truly Great Song. A song for the ages, Randall.

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


24 Comments

  1. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    This is one of the most magical and lovely songs I’ve ever heard. A favorite of mine and my whole family. We sing it around the house still, and I always shake my head in wonderment at the brilliance of it. Songwriter’s envy, indeed.

  2. Jim A

    I agree whole-heartedly Andrew and Jason! Great song on a great album. Not only is the musicianship great, but the theological significance embeded therein makes you really wonder if Lucy DOES actually keep the football down because of the angels or because she’s been transformed herself! 😉

    I must admit I am more partial to the first two parts, but part 3 will grow on you if you let it. I can’t tell how many times I’ve found myself singing about Woodstocks tailfeathers.

    If I had to pick a song of the day though off that album however, I think it would be the haunting “She’s gone forever”. I have no idea what the story was behind that song or if there was a story, but you keep waiting for resolution and never find it. That fact becomes stark clear in the last stanza as he sings so don’t come to visit unless you have a plan to bring her back or kill this man. I think I weep every time I hear him sing “now i’m sleeping on a pillow of her clothes”. Good grief Charlie Brown indeed!

    Dang! Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I could easily choose a fav off this album because you have to throw in “I didn’t catch her name” (previously recorded on a CC album).

    Thanks Andrew, this definitely fired me up for the balance of the day!

  3. jeremy Casella

    randall is one of the most giftest writers i’ve had the pleasure to know. so creative and such a great balance between music and lyric writing i think.

  4. Randall Goodgame

    @randallgoodgame

    Golly, y’all. Thanks for the kind words.

    AP is right, this song series really did take a few years to find. I still have some notes from an evening of research in the Downtown Public Library. I remember playing the chorus over and over, loving it and feeling deeply affected by it all, but so unsure if it all worked together like I thought it did. One day my head caught up to my heart, and I realized it was finished.

    It also seems right to confess… for a couple of years I flip-flopped between thankfulness and bitterness that Andrew contributed that glorious line about Lucy’s dress. I had worked so hard on those songs, and I wanted the glory all to myself. The line was so great, and did exactaly what the song needed for it to move along, so I could not deny it belonged there… but I wished I could.

    When I finally got convicted about that, it rocked my world. Why did that matter to me so much? It may seem like a small thing, but letting go of my creativity as a source of my value changed the way I looked at co-writing, songwriting, and really any creative endeavor. I would say that God healed a great wound in my soul through that little line about Lucy, which makes the song that much more potent for me now.

  5. Michael Terry

    My favorite part of this trilogy is part II. besides the beautiful music it contais the line that the news of Schultz’s death “takes (his nickels and dimes”. Such a brilliant homage!

    I also made a video sideshow using part 3. It can be found here:

  6. Chris B

    I check into the Rabbit Room on an almost daily basis and am always encouraged when I leave. I’m grateful for this community and opportunity to get a look into the hearts and minds of some of my favorite artists. I’ve always had a passion for music, art and creativity, although it’s something I don’t pursue in my own life enough. But listening to y’all’s music and coming to this site and seeing the creative intent y’all put into your songwriting has been an incredibly encouraging experience. I know it’s been said here before, but I just wanted to echo thanks for putting all this together. Many times in my life the Lord has used the music of many of the artists on this site to encourage me and give me fresh perspective on Him. It’s nice to know all the hard work that y’all put into it and wanted to say it’s much appreciated. Your work is definitely an encouragement to the Body. Keep it up!

  7. Peter B

    By the way, are we supposed to get the title in these posts? Some of us aren’t as familiar as we should be with the Square Peg repertoire.

  8. Jonathan Rogers

    @jonathanrogers

    Who’s that singing backup in this song? I love backup singers. I wish I could hire 2 or 3 to follow me around all day…whenever I said something clever, they could repeat it (maybe 2 or 3 times), maybe punctuate it with that little hoot you hear from Skynyrd’s backup singers (hoo hoo HOOOO)…but mostly they would just hum in such a way that would set an appropriate tone for the days events.

  9. Randall Goodgame

    @randallgoodgame

    That’s my Amy singing them there bgvs. And of course, that’s BEN SHIVE doing Schroeder proud at the piano. I always wished it was a little louder in the mix!

  10. Ehren

    I’m embarassed to display my ignorance, but I don’t “get” the chorus. Playing like Harry Truman? Without the atom bomb? Third world war? Good grief!

    Ehren

  11. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Great question, Ehren. Other’s have wondered about this line too. Randall addressed it at the recent Goodgame/Peters show that I attended. Click here for a bit of an answer. If I’m not recalling correctly–Mr. Randall or anyone else out there–please let us know.

  12. Bret Welstead

    This was the first song I heard by Randy G. I found it on YouTube where someone had matched it with images of Peanuts cartoons.

    Personally, I love this song because I think it has sorrow and celebration side by side throughout its incredible lyrics and creative melodies. It’s a song that pulls at my heart and makes me smile at the same time.

    It might be my favorite RG song, and with Crystal Davy singing those great harmonies, it definitely featured my favorite moments in his recent shows in Nebraska.

    Besides “Bears”, of course.

  13. elijah

    This is an amazing song. I first heard it as part of a bootleg concert I downloaded off of Ragamuffin, and it didn’t leave my little mp3 player for an entire semester. I listened to it constantly on repeat.

    Gosh, Randall, your comment about AP’s “blue dress” line just rocked my world and changed the way I think about co-creating. I’ve been struggling with whether I would be able to let go of something I’ve created to be made use of by someone else, whether I would be able to release control. Your little reminiscence/confession settled the issue for me. Thank you.

  14. John Goodgame

    Clearly you people are not familiar with the musical and lyrical mastery captured for all time in “If It Doesn’t Have A Tail It’s Not A Monkey.”

    Get thee to YouTube . . .

  15. Peter B

    It’s like The Day the Music Died, but with joy.

    It also feels like Chris Rice at times… interesting.

    Great piece. Ben, thanks for playing, as usual.

  16. Jim A

    Ehren,
    Harry Truman was a pianist and a decent one at that. but realized he wasn’t cut out to be a master performer so quit his lessons as a teen. went into politics, given the option of the atom bomb to end WWII and darn near had a third world war on his hands later. Imagine if he didn’t have any of those cares and could just sit down at the ivory and play. He also wore glasses though I’m not sure i would categorize them as coke bottles. 🙂

  17. Randall Goodgame

    @randallgoodgame

    Thanks for asking, Ehren. And thanks for having such a cool name.

    Harry Truman fought in WW1 and presided (as president) over the conclusion of WW2. He made the final decision to drop the 2 atomic bombs on Japan.

    When the US and the UN were at war with North Korea, Truman was president and General Douglas MacArthur was the commanding officer over forces in North Korea and Japan.

    After achieving surprising victories over North Korean forces, MacArthur wanted to attack Chinese positions and supplies north of the 38th parallel (the current boundary). Truman knew that China was closely tied to the Soviet Union, and he did not want to draw the Soviets into the conflict. By this time, they had developed their own atomic bomb.

    Eventually, General MacArthur’s vocal dissent for his Commander-In-Chief’s decision crossed the line, and Truman fired MacArthur from all his commands. MacArthur was an immensely popular general, and that decision probably cost president Truman his re-election.

    Also – Harry Truman had been a concert pianist as a young boy. As a musician and a pianist, there was something extra heartbreaking about thinking of Truman – a gifted pianist – as having to make these terrible decisions, where hundreds of thousands of lives hung in the balance.

    And, one of the sweet ironies of Peanuts has always been watching Schroeder play a toy piano, and hearing impeccable Beethoeven (or seeing the beautiful music written out on the strip). It was a great metaphor for Schulz’s work… deep and profound statements about the heaviness of the human condition through a cartoon about kids.

    SOOO… and sorry for making this so long… It struck me as meaningful to put all of these ideas together. There’s actually so much more I could say, but… does anyone think that songs can lose some of their power when the writer tells you everything about them? I’d love to see a post about that.

  18. Randall Goodgame

    @randallgoodgame

    The title is “Part One” (of the Peanuts Trilogy)

    It may sound funny but I cried
    The day I found out Schroeder died
    Little green piano on the floor
    Won’t be making music anymore

    Well you know he was the catcher for the team
    But he only threw to second in his dreams
    For those little arms it was just too far to throw
    But put those arms behind that piano

    And he played like Harry Truman
    Without those coke bottles
    That only Marcie wore
    Like Harry Truman
    Without the atom bomb
    Without the burden of a third world war

    Lucy was fragile as a castle in the sand
    But tough as a tuba with a mean right hand
    She always wore that same blue dress
    ‘Cause she fancied Schroeder liked that color best

    She’d watch him hurry home every afternoon
    Blonde hair boppin’ to the beat of a Gershwin tune
    Soon his mama’d cry “Your supper’s turnin cold”
    But he’d fill up on Beethoeven
    Up underneath that bust ‘a painted gold

    He played like Harry Truman
    Without those coke bottles
    That only Marcie wore
    Like Harry Truman
    Without the atom bomb
    Without the burden of a third world war

    Ooo la la ooo, Lucy had a crush on Schroeder
    Ooo la la ooo, Sally had a crush on Linus
    Ooo la la lee, Peppermint Patty
    With her flip-flops and without a single curl
    Could not compete with the little red-haired girl

    Ooh, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown
    What’s it like in God’s hometown
    Do the angels make Lucy keep the football down
    Is every cartoon a full color affair
    Since every day is just like Sunday there

    And when Schroeder plays Beethoeven’s #9
    Does Snoopy still dance, does Lucy still pine
    Everybody dies, but still it always seems too soon
    And so I shed a tear for this cartoon

    He played like Harry Truman
    Without those coke bottles
    That only Marcie wore
    Like Harry Truman
    Without the atom bomb
    Without the burden of a third world war

  19. Peter B

    Randall,

    I just played this for my wife, and the first thing she said afterward was “He didn’t even mention Vince Guaraldi.”

    It’s okay, though; I think she liked the song anyway.

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