Rock and roll band. Founded: 1973.
Kansas, the state's most commercially successful rock group, was formed in Topeka in 1973.
Kansas was one of the most skillful creators of what is known as "progressive rock;" melodic, often thematic songs and albums with high levels of musicianship and relatively (for rock) complex orchestration.
The band is best known for its three "platinum" albums of the 1970s: "Leftoverture," "Point of Know Return" and "Monolith." "Leftoverture" featured Kansas' breakout hit, "Carry On Wayward Son," which has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. "Point of Know Return" equaled those sales totals and produced two hit singles in the album's up-tempo title track and the contemplative "Dust in the Wind." All three of these singles remain as staples of the classic rock radio format, as does the biggest single from "Monolith," "People of the South Wind," taken, of course, from the meaning of "Kansas."
A reconstituted Kansas still tours worldwide, featuring classic Kansas lineup members Phil Ehart (percussion), Steve Walsh (vocals, keyboard), and Rich Williams (guitar). Robby Steinhart (vocals, strings) has retired from touring. Dave Hope (bass) is a minister in Florida. The writer of "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind," Kerry Livgren (guitar) moved to a career in Contemporary Christian music, and currently composes music, farms, and teaches a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church, among other activities.
In terms of spreading the state's "brand name," as well as being a positive demonstration of pride in the Sunflower State, Kansas has had perhaps no more visible proponent than, well, Kansas.
Entry: Kansas Band
Author: G. Joseph Pierron
Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.
Date Created: November 2012
Date Modified: October 2013
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.