• lead vocal: Christopher Jon
  • background vocals: Christopher Jon and Doug
  • Wurlitzer A200, Hammond A100 and bass: Doug
  • backing tracks programmed and played by Doug
  • sequenced on Sonar 3.1 Producer Edition using VSampler 3; EZdrummer; VI.One; Yamaha NP-V80
  • recorded at: Bird-On-Fire Recording Studio / West Union, Iowa

Doug's notes:

Everybody likes "Kansas City." This song was written in 1952 by two, nineteen-year-old kids from LA, Mike Leiber and Jerry Stoller. If the names Leiber-Stoller sound familiar, it's just that they wrote a ton of hit songs during the '50s and '60s including: Love Potion #9; Hound Dog; Jailhouse Rock; There Goes My Baby; Yakety Yak; Charlie Brown; Stand By Me; On Broadway; Spanish Harlem - the list goes on and on. They're unquestionably one of the most-successful songwriting teams ever.

Kansas City and Hound Dog both written in 1952 were their first major successes. Kansas City was originally recorded by Little Willie Littlefield in 1952 (surprise it wasn't Wilbert Harrison!) If you listen to Littlefield's recording here, you must admit this has a definite rock 'n roll vibe to it - predating Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock by two years!

After Littlefield's recording in '52, Little Richard recorded two versions of it 1955 - these recordings would not be released until 1959 and 1970! However, the definitive version of Kansas City was released by Wilbert Harrison in March of 1959 and became a bona fide hit reaching #1 on both the R&B and pop charts remaining there for seven weeks.

During the heyday of Wilbert Harrison's success with this song in 1959, several other artists quickly released their versions of it that same year - but none came close to Harrison's success. Since then over 300 performers have recorded this song including such diverse artists as Bill Haley, Trini Lopez, Peggy Lee, Tom Jones, the Beatles, Fats Domino, James Brown, Sammy Davis, Jr. and of course the Memory Brothers!

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Doug Koempel © 2015
SONG #47

writers: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
album: Feelin' Alright (BOF-94) 2014
artists: the Memory Brothers
publishing: Sony/ATV Songs LLC
play "Kansas City"