I don’t know if anyone has been listening to anything other than Bowie this week (doubt it), but there has been one song interrupting all thoughts this week and that would be a certain Wilbert Harrison single – “Kansas City”.
“Kansas City” was a hit for Harrison, reaching #1 on the Billboard Charts and later becoming a gold record in the late 50’s. Actually, it debuted at 100 and made it all the way to #1 six weeks later – the only song in history to do so. It’s a chugging little single that has a long history of cover versions and even had a song uh, “inspired” by it that would later have somewhat more success historically.
The song, written by songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller (who you might have heard of for writing some obscure tunes like “Hound Dog” and “Yakety Yak”), was originally recorded in 1952 by Little Willie Littlefield under the title “K. C. Lovin'”. That version is a bit more jazzy with the inclusion of horns and hi-hats , but it didn’t have the same success as Harrison would later with his version in 1959.
The lyrics have the simplicity of most rock and roll music of the time, but that’s what helps it be all the more enjoyable and catchy. There’s nothing more that can be said about a song that lives so well in your head. The 50’s really had so much great music, but I often forget how dorky it was too. “Mack the Knife” won best record of the year at the Grammy’s that year. Also we allowed Frankie Avalon to have a hit record.
But does Kansas City really have wine? Or am I too stupid to pick up on something else? Also, sorry for your loss yesterday, Chiefs.