Cool Things - Platinum Record
Not many rock groups consider naming their band after their home state, but Kansas did. This is one of the band's platinum records.
With the release of such popular singles as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind" in the mid-1970s, the band Kansas became almost as well known as the state.
The first Kansas band was formed in 1970 by Kerry Livgren and Phil Ehart, both of Topeka. In 1972 the membership expanded to six, including David Hope and Richard Williams, also from Topeka, Robert Steinhardt of Lawrence, and Steve Walsh of St. Joseph, Missouri. The band signed a record deal with media executive Don Kirshner in 1974 after he discovered them at a Topeka bar.
This American band was heavily influenced by the work of such British groups as Yes and Genesis. Rolling Stone Magazine described their music as a "prosaic blend of vaguely arty, highly accessible light rock." Kansas released their debut album in 1974, and the following two albums attained gold status. The band reached its greatest heights in 1976 with two platinum albums, Leftoverture and Point of Know Return. Vocalist Steve Walsh left the band in 1981 to begin a solo career, and was replaced by John Elefante. The band broke up within a year or two of Walsh's departure. They reunited in 1986 and added several new members. During the short break, guitarist Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope also had formed the Christian rock group AD.
Kansas continues to create new music today. In 1999 the band returned to its home state to play at the annual Country Stampede near Manhattan.
The platinum record featured here was awarded to Kerry Livgren as a member of Kansas when the album Monolith (1979) reached the 1,000,000 sale mark. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards gold and platinum albums after a long and rigorous process of record sales certification. The tradition of awarding gold records to artists who achieve extraordinary success began in 1958, but by the mid-1970s the distribution of records had reached such a mass audience that the platinum record award was introduced to recognize the sale of one million albums.
With the advent of the compact disc in the 1980s, the record industry experienced another boom and the RIAA instituted the multi-platinum award for sales of 2 million albums or more. Kansas has produced eight gold albums, two triple platinum albums, one platinum live album, and a one million-selling gold single, "Dust in the Wind."
Kansas co-founder Kerry Livgren donated this platinum record to the Kansas Museum of History in 1999.
Entry: Cool Things - Platinum Record
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: October 2001
Date Modified: December 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.