Music Monday – Kansas City by Fats Domino

Fats Domino singing about Kansas City

This is the first song I can remember hearing that mentions our beautifulf Kansas City.  I was pretty young when I heard it and thought “I know where THAT is!  KEWL!”

Domino released “Kansas City” on ABC Records in October of 1964. It was the “B” side of of the record, backing up the song “Heartbreak Hill” (ABC 10596).

The song was written in 1952 by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who went on to write hits for Elvis, Ben E. King, and many others. This is certainly one of the first songs penned by Leiber and Stoller to become widely recorded.

The original title was “K.C. Lovin’.” The song was first recorded in 1952 by the R&B singer Little Willie Littlefield. It wasn’t until 7 years later that Wilbur Harrison turned the song into a hit, becoming by far his most famous track.

In the UK, “Kansas City” was a #26 hit for Little Richard, in 1959 also. In his live performances, he would play it in a medley with his song “Hey, Hey, Hey.”

One notable Beatles performance of the song came during their 1964 tour of the U.S., on September 17. Charles O. Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, paid them $150,000, the highest amount ever paid for a rock-and-roll show at that time, to perform at Municipal Stadium, This is one of the earliest concerts held in that now gone facility.

I used to work with a lady who attended that show. She proudly brought in a small square of a bed sheet supposedly used by the Beatles during their overnight stay here. She still was all jittery and excited talking about that show and her high dollar prize from many years before.

Only 20,000 people came to the show in a stadium that could seat 35,000.  Many fans stayed away in protest of Finley, who was taking some heat over his management of the losing franchise. The Beatles played 12 songs that night, and included a special rendition of “Kansas City” in their set. It was the only time The Beatles played the song in the United States.