Former Port man cheers the Cubs through song

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Carl Giammarese, one of song's co-writers, shows off ChicagoCheer's logo at Wrigley Field. (Photo courtesy of Ken Franklin)

The Chicago Cubs’ quest to defend their World Series title ended when they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, but they did succeed in inspiring local music license agent Ken Franklin to write the song “Chicago Cub Family (Fly the W)” which was released in August through his group ChicagoCheer.

Franklin has been a New York Mets fan for most of his life but felt a draw to Chicago and the Cubs.

“I just had a connection with Chicago,” Franklin said. “I worked for a division of RCA Records, getting songs played on Chicago radio, knowing a lot of Chicago bands … and the Cubs being lovable losers I felt attracted to them.”

Franklin attended LIU Post and lived in Port Washington for several years. He continues to cheer for the Mets. But like many Cubs fans, Franklin became interested in the team during its run to the World Series in 2016.

“I’m not a jaded New Yorker who won’t cheer for other teams if their team doesn’t make the playoffs,” Franklin said. “So when the Cubs made the playoffs, you couldn’t help rooting for them.”

The traditions of Cubs fans helped inspire the lyrics of the song. “Fly the W” refers to the flying of a white flag with a blue W after the Cubs win. Franklin also borrowed the “Go Cubs  Go” refrain from the song of the same name written by Steve Goodman that is played after Chicago victories.

Franklin wrote the lyrics but needed help turning that into a song. So he used his connections in the music industry to reach out to several interested musicians. Among them was Carl Giammarese, singer/guitarist for the Buckinghams (who hit No. 1 on the charts in 1967 with “Kind of a Drag”) and a Cubs fan. He also worked with Chicago-based singer-songwriter Liz Chidester to finish the lyrics.

“She said she was a big Cubs fan, so I gave her some of my lyrics, and she added lyrics as well, and then she demoed it in my home,” he said.

But Franklin knew he needed some help to give the song an extra boost. He reached out to session player Joe Vitale, who has played drums during recording sessions and on the tour for groups like the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

“Even though he was a Cleveland Indians fan, he loved the song and wanted to be a part of it,” Franklin said. The Cubs defeated Cleveland in the 2016 World Series.

Recording was completed in March and the song was mixed soon after. It was released in August.

Franklin said this song is just the start, and that he is looking to get further involved in Chicago.

Because of the success of the song, I am in talks to put on the first ChicagoCheer charity concert, where we bring in a bunch of singer-songwriters from Chicago to perform songs about Chicago,” Franklin said, and added that all proceeds would go to Chicago-based charities.

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