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Watch “Kansas City-Wilbert Harrison-1959” on YouTube

13 Jun

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“Kansas City”

is a rhythm and blues song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1952.[1] First recorded by Little Willie Littlefield the same year, the song later became a #1 hit when it was recorded by Wilbert Harrison in 1959. “Kansas City” became one of Leiber and Stoller’s “most recorded tunes, with more than three hundred versions,”[2] with several appearing in the R&B and pop record charts.

Original song

“Kansas City” was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two nineteen-year-old rhythm and blues fans from Los Angeles, who had their first success writing Charles Brown’s #7 R&B chart hit “Hard Times”. Neither had been to Kansas City, but were inspired by Big Joe Turner records.[3]

I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come (2x)
They got a crazy way of lovin’ there, and I’m gonna get me some
I’m gonna be standing on the corner, of Twelfth Street and Vine (2x)
With my Kansas City baby, and a bottle of Kansas City wine…
Through a connection to producer Ralph Bass, they wrote “Kansas City” specifically for West Coast blues/R&B artist Little Willie Littlefield.[2] There was an initial disagreement between the two writers over the song’s melody: Leiber (who wrote the lyrics) preferred a traditional blues song, while Stoller wanted a more distinctive vocal line; Stoller ultimately prevailed. They taught the song to Littlefield at Maxwell Davis’ house, who arranged and provided the tenor sax for the song.[2] Littlefield recorded the song in Los Angeles in 1952, during his first recording session for Federal Records, a King Records subsidiary. Federal’s Ralph Bass changed the title to “K. C. Lovin'”,[4] which he reportedly considered to sound “hipper” than “Kansas City”. Littlefield’s record had some success in parts of the U.S., but it did not reach the national chart.

en.m.Wikipedia.org

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