Little Willie Littlefield  - Kansas City

First performance: 19/11/1979


Bruce performed the song 9 times in full, 1 time as part of the "Detroit Medley" and once as a snippet:
Likely the inspirational version was Little Richard’s.
  • Performed live 10 times as a stand-alone song

Also sounchecked: Tour debut "Kansas City," opens the show.
The "Kick Up Your Paws" benefit for the Monmouth County SPCA, hosted by Max and Becky Weinberg. Springsteen joined The Max Weinberg 7 at the end of their set. About 500 people were in attendance for the fundraiser, at the Weinberg's farm. "Terry Magovern was involved in this event, too, and he was looking forward to it," Max told the Asbury Park Press, "so it's dedicated to him."
2002-09-24 Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO
Set includes a super long version of "Kansas City", which was wonderful and seemed unrehearsed. It was so spontaneous that he went to Clarence Clemons for a solo, and Clarence struggled to get something going. Then Bruce had to tell the sound guy to turn up Clarence so we could hear him. Bruce was cracking up as Clarence struggled to get through a solo with his baritone sax. On the next solo break, Bruce called for Steven Van Zandt, and it took two or three notes before the sound guy got Steve above the mix. This version of "Kansas City" included the band walking off the stage singing the "bye bye" refrain while Roy Bittan was left at the piano. Roy just stayed there by himself for a good five minutes. I wondered if Roy was going to end the song and walk off. Finally, Bruce and band snuck up stage right behind Roy and they resumed. Jon Landau had a guitar when the band came back on stage, and he joined Bruce at the microphone for a verse. Landau didn't sing.

1994-08-20 Marz American Style, Long Branch, NJ
Bruce guests with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers, along with special guests John Eddie and Dion DiMucci. Bruce playes The wanderer and Kansas City with ion DiMucci
1989-06-20 Martell's Sea Breeze, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
With Bobby Bandiera.

1987-04-12 Stone Pony (The), Asbury Park, NJ
With most of the E Street Band and members of Cats On A Smooth Surface. Jon Bon Jovi guests on "Kansas City".

1982-06-13 Stone Pony (The), Asbury Park, NJ
With Cats On A Smooth Surface.

1981-02-05 Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO

1979-01-11 Lock Stock And Barrel, Fair Haven, NJ 
A private 37th birthday party for Clarence Clemons, with Springsteen and the entire E Street Band (except for Steven Van Zandt) attending and performing a rollicking set of classics for the invitation-only gathering of close friends and family. Clarence’s pre-E Street band compatriot, Norman Seldin, was playing an extended residency at the club at the time and both Clarence and Garry Tallent had made guest appearances with Seldin at the club the previous week. The above-mentioned setlist is incomplete and not necessarily in the correct performing sequence – there were many other songs performed, although no Springsteen compositions. Apparently Bruce took the lead or co-lead vocal on the under- mentioned titles.
1965-00-00 Freehold Regional High School, Freehold, NJ
The Rogues open for The Chevelles. Springsteen sings lead vocals on "Twist And Shout", while Donnie Powell sings the other two songs listed; Craig Caprioni also sang a couple unidentified Rolling Stones covers. It is uncertain whether this show and the previous four are in the correct order. 
  • included in the Detroit Medley
1984-11-19 Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO

  • Snippet

1975-09-28 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS


"Kansas City" is a rhythm and blues song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1952. First recorded by Little Willie Littlefield the same year. "Kansas City" became one of Leiber and Stoller's "most recorded tunes, with more than three hundred versions," with several appearing in the R&B and pop record charts. The original title for the song was "k c loving". Likely the inspirational version was Little Richard’s ( 1955 ). He recorded two rather different versions of "Kansas City": The first version, which was very close to the original song, was released much later, in November 1970, on the compilation album Well Alright!. This version was the first to bear the new title "Kansas City" (after Littlefield's original version titled "K.C. Loving"). Richard's second version which had the same name, but which had been substantially re-worked by Little Richard (in particular, this version featured the new refrain starting with words "Hey, hey, hey, hey; Hey baby, hey child, hey now") was released in late 1958. on The Fabulous Little Richard and in April 1959 as a single. Later, this particular version was covered by the Beatles.On May 9, 1956, Little Richard recorded his own song "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey", also known as "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! (Goin' Back to Birmingham)". which turned out to be very similar to a part of the second version of "Kansas City" recorded six months earlier (and which had the same refrain as mentioned above). So a new song had been introduced — it included most of the changes made by Little Richard to the second version of "Kansas City" and had a new name and new writer, Richard Wayne Penniman (Little Richard himself). This song was released in January 1958 as the B-side of "Good Golly, Miss Molly" (Specialty 624) and in July 1958 on Little Richard. So it happened that the public perceived the song "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey" (released in January 1958) as an earlier work than "Kansas City" (released in late 1958/March 1959) and as its predecessor (while in fact it was actually the other way around). This allowed Little Richard to claim co-authorship with respect to this version of the song. In 1964, when The Beatles released their album featuring their version "Kansas City" as performed by Little Richard (naturally, the second version, as the first one was not yet released at that time), the attorneys representing Venice Music made a complaint, and as a result the record label was revised to read: "Medley: (a) Kansas City (Leiber/Stoller) (P)1964 Macmelodies Ltd./KPM; (b) Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey (Penniman) Venice Mus. Ltd. (P)1964." Formally, however, this song could hardly be called a medley, as by definition a medley is a piece composed from parts of existing pieces. Moreover, when Little Richard was recording "Kansas City", the song "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey" did not yet exist.

Bruce on the artist

2023-10-09 SiriusXM Studio, New York City, NY
Bruce played the song in the KANSAS CITY - HEY!-HEY!-HEY!-HEY! medley of the Beatles during The 'From My Home to Yours' series, returning for the first time since 2021, with Episode 30, featuring Bruce and high school friends and surviving members of the early Freehold rock and roll scene Craig Caprioni, Mike Domanski, Donnie Powell, and Mike Wilson discussing the music they listened to in those mid-'60s days.


Pd… I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
They got some crazy little women there
And I'm gonna get me one
Pd… I'm gonna be standing on the corner
Twelfth Street and Vine
I'm gonna be standing on the corner
Twelfth Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine
Pd… Well I might take a train
I might take a plane
But if I have to walk
I'm goin' just the same
I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
They got some crazy little women there
And I'm gonna get me one
Pd… (Instrumental Interlude)
Pd… Now if I stay with that woman
I know I'm gonna die
Gotta find a brand new baby
That's the reason why
I'm going to Kansas City
Kansas City here I come
They got some crazy little women there
And I'm gonna get me one
They got some crazy little women there
And I'm gonna get me one
They got some crazy little women there
And I'm gonna get me one …Pd.