Sunday, May 31, 2009

Couldn't wait 'til June

Happy, Happy, Happy: Today's impressive batch of birthday boys includes Clint Eastwood (1930), Johnny Paycheck (1938) and John Bonham (1948). Some people just can't wait for June.

And it's a little fuzzy, because I wasn't yet nine years old, but I do remember hearing a song on the radio that was No. 1 on the Billboard charts on this day in 1959.

A simple 12-bar blues song written in 1952 by hitmakers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller was originally recorded by Little Willie Littlefield as "K.C. Lovin' '' -- much to the songwriting duo's chagrin. Its original title was restored seven years later when Wilbert Harrison took it to the top of the charts.

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

That's right, going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come...

"Kansas City'' is the first song -- and most likely the only one -- to enter the chart at No. 100 and make it to the top. It would be replaced two weeks later by another song about an American city: Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans.''

The Billboard Top 5 on this date in 1959:

1. Kansas City, Wilbert Harrison
2. Sorry, I Ran All the Way Home, Impalas
3. The Happy Organ, Dave "Baby'' Cortez
4. Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb), Edward Byrnes , with Connie Stevens
5. A Teenager in Love, Dion and the Belmonts

Clint, by the way, was celebrating his 29th birthday as Rowdy Yates in the first season of TV's "Rawhide.'' Bonham? The Led Zeppelin drummer-to-be turned 11, and had already worn out the snare drum he received for his 10th birthday. Paycheck, born Donald Eugene Lytle, was 21 and singing country harmonies under the handle Donny Young.

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