Song: Kansas City by Wilbert Harrison

 Place: 12th Street and Vine, Kansas City

Kansas City skyline
Our thanks to James Olsson
Cheboygan, Michigan
Lyrics passage I'm gonna be standing on the corner
On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine
phoneSend "Kansas City" Ringtone to your Cellphone
Kansas City skylineKansas City skyline Fountain in Kansas City (Our thanks to Mike Middleton)Fountain in Kansas City (Our thanks to Mike Middleton)
Wilbert Harrison’s 1959 version of “Kansas City” is the song’s most famous recording. Its lyric spotlights an intersection of 12th Street and Vine, even though natives say these streets never actually meet to form a true intersection. Instead, you can think of this as a mythical party point. It’s a place where a guy longs to visit to have a good time.

In the first verse, Harrison dreams of being with his Kansas City baby, “and a bottle of Kansas City wine.” The second verse speaks of how “they got a crazy way of loving there/And I’m gonna get me some.” This could mean wild women. It could also refer to prostitutes. But because songs about prostitutes didn’t get on the radio back in 1959, we’ll just need to use our imagination regarding what he truly meant.

Kansas City sure didn’t seem to have a great reputation among right living folks, though. In fact, Harrison tries his best to keep this party journey a secret.

I’m gonna pack my clothes
Everybody will be sleeping
Nobody will know where I’ve gone


Ironically, when Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller originally wrote the song, they gave it the title “K.C. Lovin’.” Little Willie Littlefield was the first artist to track it, seven years earlier in 1952. The Beatles and Little Richard also recorded the tune. On May 11th, 1959, Harrison’s version of "Kansas City" reached #1 on the R&B chart and stayed there for seven consecutive weeks.

“Kansas City” is a rollicking rhythm and blues song. However, in the ‘30s and ‘40s, Kansas City had a thriving jazz scene. Today, it hosts the annual Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival.

Although the song has a basic blues chord progression, it bops along with a rocking dance beat. With its rolling piano part, it could easily pass for a Fats Domino song. In fact, Fats Domino also does a wonderful version of the song.

People don’t likely think of Kansas City when it comes to good-time destinations. Instead, the sin and gambling locales of Atlantic City and Las Vegas are probably the first party choices. However, with its classic Kansas City-style barbecue, which blossomed in the inner city and can be traced back to barbecue pioneer Henry Perry from Memphis, Tennessee, restaurants like Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q, which opened in 1946, made this downtown area a place for good music, crazy women, and tasty food.

Sadly, America in the 21st century has lost a lot of its original regional flavor. However, in the late ‘50s, back when Wilbert Harrison was riding high with this Midwestern road song, there was still good reason to hit any highway that would take you to Kansas City. Nevertheless, you can still hear this song sung and played by bar bands in nightclubs today. With a drink in one hand and dancing shoes on your feet, you can always go to downtown party central in your mind. Kansas City, here I come!
~ Dan MacIntosh
phoneSend "Kansas City" Ringtone to your Cellphone

COMMENTS: 5pages [ 01 ] 02 >

Groovy Grant from Kansas CityThe Song was First Recorded by Little Willie Litterfield around 1952, K.C. Loving
Groovy Grant from Kansas CityThe Song was First Recorded by Little Willie Litterfield around 1952, K.C. Loving
Al Everest from Alberta CanadaMuddy Waters cover of this song is great oho!
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 Video: Kansas City


 Place: 12th Street and Vine, Kansas City


 SongFacts

In the UK, this was a #26 hit for Little Richard also in 1959. He would play it in a medley with his song "Hey, Hey, Hey."
Album : Kansas City: The Best of Wilbert Harrison Released : 1959
US chart position : 1

More facts for Kansas City @songfacts.com


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