Tuesday, November 20, 2018

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Wilbert Harrison

Artist:Wilbert Harrison
Song:Kansas City
Album:Kansas City 1953-1962 Sides

I'm sure you have heard this classic oldie which topped the charts in 1959. It was the only big hit for Wilbert Harrison. He was born Jan. 5, 1929 in Charlotte, NC. He grew up singing in church. He moved to Miami after being discharged from the US Navy in 1950. Harrison performed a calypso style in clubs. Henry Stone signed him to his Rockin' label in 1953. The single This Woman Of Mine was Kansas City with new lyrics written by Stone. Harrison moved to New Jersey and signed with Savoy Records. He recorded several unsuccessful singles for Savoy. Then in 1959 Harrison met legendary New York record store owner Bobby Robinson and he released Kansas City on his Fury label. Kansas City topped the charts. The record featured a great guitar solo by Wild Jimmy Spruill. Kansas City was written by legendary songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller for Little Willie Littlefield in 1952. It was released by Federal Records as KC Loving but it was not a hit. Of course Harrison recorded it as This Woman Of Mine. Little Richard recorded Kansas City in 1955 and then he recorded it in 1956 as Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey. Several artists recorded it in 1959. But Harrison's recording was the big hit. The problem was Harrison was still under contract to Savoy. They sued Robinson and by the time that got sorted out Harrison had cooled off. He recorded for several labels in the 60s. Harrison scored a top 40 hit in 1969 with Let's Work Together. Canned Heat had a bigger hit with that song. You can get all of Harrison's 50s recordings on this budget comp. Harrison continued to tour until he died on Oct. 26, 1994 at age 65. His recording of Kansas City was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2001. Here's Wilbert Harrison performing Kansas City on the Dick Clark Beech Nut Show May 2, 1959.

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