While the song “Kansas City” is officially credited to rock ’n’ roll demigods Lieber and Stoller, the first man to record it, then-20-year-old Little Willie Littlefield, often claimed in the ensuing years to have written it himself. It’s not hard to believe Littlefield had at least a hand in writing the song. After all, it was he who was hanging out on the corner of 12th Street and Vine in 1952, not Lieber and Stoller. They apparently never visited until 1986, to receive a key to the … [Read more...] about The man who sang “Kansas City” first
The nostalgic triple bill coming up at Starlight Theatre on Friday, May 10 -- Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent -- made me wonder just how many times those three acts have collectively played Kansas City. The poster at left shows that promoter Chris Fritz presented two of the three groups – along with Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm – at Memorial Hall in the early ’70s. Nugent was still billed as leader of the Amboy Dukes then, just a few years after their Top 40 hit from 1968, "Journey to the … [Read more...] about Starlight memories
Kansas City amusement parks were often the site of rock concerts in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The tradition of "School's Out" concerts at Fairyland sponsored by Top 40 radio station WHB goes back farther than I realized in my earlier "World's Happiest Broadcasters" post. Those events took place in the early 1970s. I have since found a newspaper ad (above) from June 1965 touting such a show with Len Barry of "1-2-3" fame as the headliner. That song came out the following month on Decca Records … [Read more...] about Carney Rock
Among the holy grails of the Kansas City Rock History Project, in terms of photos, is the Jimi Hendrix Experience concert Nov. 1, 1968, at Municipal Auditorium. If anyone out there has photos of Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell on stage in Kansas City, please be in touch with me. And anyone who attended, please feel free to share your memories by commenting below. I have found some ads for the concert, whose opening act was Cat Mother and All-Night Newsboys, on the back of a KUDL Boss 30 … [Read more...] about Calling all shutterbugs!
Thirty-seven years ago this week, more than 100,000 young rock music fans descended on Sedalia, Mo., (population 22,000) for three days and nights of debauchery known as the Ozark Music Festival. The event held at the state fair grounds July 19-21, 1974, has been called the height -- or the nadir -- of decadence in a decadent era. The 22-act bill included several destined to become Rock Hall of Famers (Eagles, Skynyrd, Seger) performing at their peak. Yet critics called it a disaster, … [Read more...] about The Day of the Locusts
I got a chance to talk to a boyhood idol this past weekend: Phil Jay, formerly the #2 on-air personality on WHB-AM, Kansas City's dominant #1 radio station during rock's golden era of the 1960s. As Phil and many other reference works tell it, WHB owner and Omaha, Neb., native Todd Storz was the inventor of Top 40 radio. WHB was one of the first to employ the format 24-7, starting soon after Storz bought the station in 1954. Phil Jay joined top dog … [Read more...] about World’s Happiest Broadcasters