Rooting for the Chicago Cubs during his years growing up in Arlington Heights, Ted Wulfers couldn't be content just watching that glorious World Series Game 7 victory with his friends in Los Angeles last November. So, the 37-year-old professional songwriter and singer drove to his studio in the middle of the night and wrote and recorded "The Cubs Won It All in 2016" in a few hours of fervid inspiration.
"I put it out thinking I'd have 35 likes on Facebook," Wulfers admits.
But the song made an immediate emotional connection with people, including avid Cubs fan and radio legend Lin Brehmer, who played it the morning after the World Series during his morning-drive shift on WXRT 93.1-FM.
"It became a hit on WXRT," says Wulfers, who marveled at how quickly the song's popularity grew. "Then the lyrics of the song went into the baseball Hall of Fame, and that's such an honor."
Wulfers will receive another honor Saturday, when his song will be released on a special 7-inch vinyl record as part of the celebration of Record Store Day 2017, an annual event to promote the 1,400 independent record stores across the nation. Wulfers will perform his hit song live at noon to kick off Record Store Day 2017 at Laurie's Planet of Sound, 4639 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.
"It's just a great way for people to celebrate the joy of the World Series and the joy of new music," says Wulfers, who has a passion for both. "I was playing baseball at 18 months old, and I started playing piano at age 3, so they really are the oldest parts of me."
He played for youth baseball teams in Arlington Heights.
"It was one of the best places in the world to grow up playing baseball," Wulfers says. "I was a big, power-hitting first baseman,"
That changed by the time he started high school at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.
"Freshman year was when I put the bat down and picked up a guitar, and that turned out pretty good," Wulfers says.
He formed a band called Beggar's Bridge and recorded his first album at 17. He recorded a second album two years later, and he got his first song aired on WXRT when he was 21.
Wulfers taught himself to play numerous stringed instruments, including the guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, cello, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar and Dobro guitar, as well as drums, organ and harmonica. He also has a 4½-octave vocal range. Wulfers has released eight original studio albums, scored soundtracks for TV, film and video games, and has performed gigs around the world.
In 2008, Wulfers made news after he was fired from a job at a TGI Friday's inside Milwaukee's Miller Park because he performed "Go, Cubs, Go" after the Cubs beat the Brewers.
A student of all kinds of music, Wulfers gives a nod to "Go, Cubs, Go" artist Steve Goodman in "The Cubs Won It All in 2016." Wulfers references Goodman's "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" in a verse that says, "And I know there's a Cubs fan with a dying request. Well, Steve, this year, they're finally the best! No more doormats, if you know what I mean."
Wulfers' song also pays homage to late Cubs broadcasters Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse, stars Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, and to Wulfers' dad, John, who died in 2011, when the Cubs lost 91 games.
The flip side of his record features his song "Dreams Come True."
"People are finding huge emotional connections to my songs," Wulfers says, noting that earlier songs have become favorites for weddings and funerals.
"This is a song for my dad, and all the other moms and dads who never got to see it," he says.
Wulfers' Cubs song begins, "I wish I could tell them, they finally won. You should have seen Game 7. Man, it was fun."
It's still fun for Wulfers, who says he is honored to have his song released on vinyl for Record Store Day 2017.
"It's the very first song on vinyl about the Cubs winning the World Series, because the last time the Cubs won the World Series, vinyl hadn't been invented," Wulfers notes. "So that's pretty cool."