Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey

Kansas City
Paul McCartney singing "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey."

The Beatles appeared on the usual "top song" shows of their era. One of them was "Shindig," on which they played "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey" in October 1964. The Beatles released this performance on the "Anthology" album package. Paul sings lead on this cover of a Little Richard medley of "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey." The Beatles recorded their album version of the song on 18 October 1964 for their fourth British album. The Beatles personally liked the song and gave an enthusiastic performance.

Little Richard Kansas City

This was the B-side to the "Boys" single, which did not do much on the charts. "Boys" peaked at No. 73/75 in the United States (depending on which chart you used). "Kansas City" also appeared on "Beatles for Sale." While it is common to believe that the Beatles became completely different people during the course of their career, a version of this song from their earliest Hamburg days appears at their very end in the film "Let It Be" (recorded on 26 January 1969). However, that version is the Wilbert Harrison version, not the Little Richard one. So, they never really lost their roots, regardless of appearances.

Beatles Little Richard Kansas City
Little Richard with the Beatles in 1962. Billy Preston was playing keyboard with Little Richard, which is how the Beatles met him.

To this day, the Beatles version of "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey" is played at the conclusion of Kansas City Royals home games when the team wins at Kauffman Stadium. Incidentally, "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey" did hit No. 1 in 1959 by Wilbert Harrison.


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