Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

Throwback Video of the Week!

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 19: Richard Williams, Tom Brislin, Ronnie Platt, Joe Deninzon and Billy Greer of the band Kansas perform at the Ryman Auditorium on August 19, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

When you think of the cities where great rock & roll acts originated, a few come to mind: London, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and even Liverpool. But the midwestern prairie town of Topeka?  Yes, it turns out that in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Topeka, Kansas was an incubator of progressive rock. That’s where the band Kansas was born in 1973, and that’s where we’re headed for this Throwback Threesome.

There were actually three Kansases at the beginning. Kansas I came into being when rival Topeka prog rock groups Reasons Why and White Clover joined forces in 1970. That iteration only lasted about a year when founding members Phil Ehart (drums, percussion) and Dave Hope (bass) left to re-form White Clover. The remaining members, including Kerry Livgren (guitars, keyboards), became Kansas II, which was also short-lived.

Finally, in 1973, the White Clover lineup of Ehart, Hope, Robby Steinhardt (vocals, violin, viola, cello), Steve Walsh (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion), and Rich Williams (guitars) recruited Livgren from the second Kansas, which then folded. After signing their first record deal, the group took on the Kansas name yet again. This time it stuck.

If there were one word to best describe the music of Kansas, it would have to be “enduring.” The band appeared on the U.S. Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the 1970s and 1980s and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. Their signature song, “Carry On Wayward Song,” was the second-most-played track on U.S. classic rock radio in 1995 and No. 1 in 1997. Original members Phil Ehart and Rich Williams are currently leading the band on its 50th anniversary tour.

Throwback Threesome: Kansas

  • Carry On Wayward Son (1976)

    Written by guitarist Kerry Livgren, “Carry On Wayward Son” was released in 1976 as the lead single from Kansas’ fourth studio album, Leftoverture. The song became the band’s first Top 40 single, reaching No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in early 1977. According to Songfacts, it’s considered the unofficial theme song of the CW series Supernatural, and is featured in all 15 seasons of the show as the anthem of the Winchester brothers. In 2017, the Kansas surprised 7,200 Supernatural fans with a performance of the song at Comic-Con San Diego

  • Point of Know Return (1977)

    Up next is the title track from the 1977 Kansas album Point of Know Return. The song was written by Steve Walsh, Robby Steinhardt, and Phil Ehart, who came up with the title. Despite being the album’s lead track and first single, “Point of Know Return” was actually included at the last moment. It went on to become one of the band’s most popular songs.

  • Dust in the Wind (1977)

    According to Songfacts, Kerry Livgren was inspired by Native American poetry and the Bible when he wrote the introspective “Dust in the Wind.” Kansas released the song as the second single from their 1977 album, Point of Know Return. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1978, making it Kansas’s only single to reach the top ten in the U.S.

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