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Going To Kansas City: 6 Songs That Celebrate The City As A Destination


We want to know what brought you to Kansas City, and what made you stay. Was it the relatively low cost of living? The arts scene? Was it the recession-proof economy? Or perhaps the barbeque? 

To collect these stories, KCUR is launching a new series called, Going To Kansas City

To kick off the series, I explore the idea of Kansas City as a “destination in song” with music historian Chuck Haddix. In the coming weeks we will profile Kansas Citians and share their stories about why they came here, and what made them stay.

Below you can listen to an evolution of songs celebrating Kansas City as a destination:

"Kansas City Blues," recorded by Jim Jackson in 1927 on the Vocalion label. This song was so successful, Jackson recorded it in four different versions.
"Kansas City" was written by Leiber and Stoller and performed by Little Willie Littlefield in 1952. The song was originally recorded as "Kansas City Lovin'." The song immortalized the corner of 12th Street and Vine, which was the entertainment center of Kansas City at that time.
Wilbert Harrison's 1959 version of "Kansas City" was one of the top selling records of 1959.
Little Richard's 1959 version included a new twist to "Kansas City," the song had different lyrics and was combined with Richard's song, "Hey, Hey, Hey."
The Beatles were heavily influenced by Little Richard and they began performing a medley of “Kansas City" and "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” during their Hamburg days, and recorded it in 1964.

Do you have an interesting or unique story about coming to Kansas City? Let us know! Email goingtoKC@kcur.org.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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