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Kansas The Best of Kansas (1999)  album cover
3.26 | 45 ratings | 8 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Carry on Wayward Son (5:22)
2. Point of Know Return (3:12)
3. Fight Fire With Fire (3:40)
4. Dust in the Wind (3:26)
5. Song for America (9:07)
6. Hold On (3:51)
7. No One Together (6:57)
8. Play the Game Tonight (3:27)
9. Wall (4:47)
10. Pinnacle (9:36)
11. Devil Game (5:04)
12. Closet Chronicles (6:54)

Total Time: 65:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Ehart / drums
- John Elefante / vocals
- Dave Hope / guitar (bass), vocals
- Kerry Livgren / guitar, guitar (rhythm), Moog synthesizer, organ, piano, vocals
- Robbie Steinhardt / Harmony vocals, violin, vocals
- Steve Walsh / conga, Harmony vocals, organ, piano, vocals
- Rich Williams / guitar

Releases information

Sony B00000I5Y6

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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KANSAS The Best of Kansas (1999) ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KANSAS The Best of Kansas (1999) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
4 stars Kansas is one of those bands I started to like by the help of a good compilation (and it's possible that very first time I heard Steve Walsh's distinctive voice in Hackett's 'Narnia' where it suits well), but was more or less disappointed at the closer investigation of the discography. Perhaps it's too heavy-rocking for my taste. In other words, to me Kansas means a handful of great songs that have a 'classic' status, but sadly it could't become one of my favourite bands. This compilation therefore satisfies my appetite very well. From the discography I would probably pick "Leftoverture" to be the best, but I don't even mind remembering which song is from which album. 'Dust in the Wind' is a wonderful prog ballad, 'Song for America' and 'Pinnacle' (that wasn't in the '84 edition I referred to in the first sentence) show Kansas doing well in a longer proggy form, and 'The Wall' never fails to give me goosebumps of pleasure. The rest of the compilation is not bad either and I can't remember many Kansas songs that I miss here. Someone may think it's idiotic to rate a compilation above the level of my liking of the band in general, but this is worth 4-.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This remastered version of Kansas’ ‘Best of’ collection is better than the original in many respects, but in the final analysis it can really be seen as simply a partial correction of some of the obvious deficiencies in the original, and overall is not really much of an improvement.

The digital remastering really doesn’t appear to add much here, and at times there seems to be a trace of echo effect added to Walsh’s voice that is even slightly distracting (particularly on “No One Together” and “The Pinnacle”), but overall the quality is excellent. As with too many remasters, the band misses a great opportunity to add some real value and insight with any personal notes, old war-stories from the road, or anything to distinguish this as anything more than a commercial venture. Too bad.

The included tracks make the same sense they did fifteen years prior to this release, with the only retraction on this new version being the forgettable “Perfect Lover”, and good riddance as far as I’m concerned.

The additions are a mixed-bag. “The Pinnacle” from the 1975 studio album Masque, and “Closet Chronicles” from 1977’s Point of Know Return are both outstanding inclusions and definitely improve the overall offering. “The Pinnacle” is often cited as a favorite by hard-core fans of the band, and is a solid progressive effort with brilliant keyboard work, a varied and inspiring rhythm, and thoughtful lyrics. “Closet Chronicles” is an intensely invasive look at the person of Howard Hughes, and musically is both progressive enough for right-leaning fans of the genre, and accessible enough to interest casual fans.

The other new inclusion is “The Devil Game” from 1975’s Song for America. This one is a bit harder to explain. It is a heavy blues number with odd meters and co-lead vocals from violinist Robby Steinhardt and keyboardist Steve Walsh, plus some flat-out wicked bass by Dave Hope. But this is not anywhere near the top of most fans’ best-of lists, and I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why it is included here.

The misses are the same as those on the original release - “Lonely Wind”, “People of the South Wind”, “Reason to Be”, “Got to Rock On”, and “Right Away” were all hit singles but didn’t find their way onto this release. And fans would have to look back to the 1994 boxed-set for a more comprehensive look at some of the band’s better progressive works like “Incomudro”, “Icarus”, “Death of Mother Nature Suite”, “Journey from Mariabronn”, and “Magnum Opus”, or forward to Sail On in 2004 for “Lamplight Symphony”, “Miracles Out of Nowhere”, or “Cheyenne Anthem”. For other gems like “Belexes”, “Apercu”, “The Pilgrimage”, “Hopelessly Human”, or “A Glimpse of Home”, the original studio releases are the only option.

This is a slightly better version of the original ‘Best of’, largely because “Perfect Lover” has been removed, and “The Pinnacle” and “Closet Chronicles” have been added. That said, the glaring weaknesses of the album remain in the tracks that were not included, especially considering the band could have left out “The Devil Game” and had anywhere from ten to twenty minutes of recording time left to add a couple of better choices from the early studio albums.

In that light I can’t see rating this one much above the original, so three stars here again. If you’re buying this album new today, this is the version you’ll get anyway since the 1984 version is out of print and largely unavailable.


Review by Australian
3 stars Due to lack of money, and the relative rareness of Kansas in Australia (No one likes Kansas in Australia unfortunately), the 1999 version of "The Best of Kansas" was my only album by the band for a long while. I have only very recently acquired some of their other albums through imports, though luckily I was able to find 'Song For America' easily. So as you can imagine I have listened to this album many times, and it has been a great source of enjoyment against the backdrop of a dreary day. The album was remasterd in 1999 and in the CD booklet there is a quote from the band, "With the Inclusion of The Pinnacle, The Devil Game and Closet Chronicles, we feel that this is truly our best." This quote leads me to believe that this collection is the band's idea of their best songs. It's strange because many of the songs on the album couldn't necessarily be considered to be their best works. So now I'm beginning to think that the band's idea of their best songs is different to that of you or me, interesting perspectives.

Of course, no Kansas best of album go without "Carry on Wayward Son" or "Dust in the wind." As usual a couple of the songs have been cut short slightly, but in these cases it isn't a major loss. Because of the sheer enjoyment I've received from listening to this album both in the past, and now today, for me it is worthy of a three star rating. Just to clarify, "The Best of Kansas" was remasterd in 1999 and three additional songs were included, The Pinnacle "The Pinnacle", "The Devil Game" and "Closet Chronicles." The CD also included slightly different packaging and a Mimi fold-out poster of some of the band's best albums. Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Review by Chicapah
4 stars Kansas is one of the great prog bands that I somehow lost track of early in the game and I regret it to this day. In 1975 I purchased and really liked the "Song for America" album but, for some reason, I didn't buy "Masque" when it came out later that same year. Perhaps someone whose opinion I respected steered me away from it or maybe there was just always another LP that I chose to take home from the record store instead (I was heavily into Jazz Rock/fusion about that time). Anyway, when I saw this offered for a very low price online recently I figured it was time to spring for what the group considers to be their best material and I'm glad I did.

The CD starts with a bang. The remastered "Carry On Wayward Son" sounds like a million bucks and then they jump right into the exemplary "Point of Know Return." These two songs are stellar examples of intricate yet accessible progressive music and they both went a long way in keeping the candle of intelligent rock and roll aflame as radio was gradually turning into a disco inferno in the mid 70s. Everything about these back-to-back hits is top notch and every serious progger in the world should have them in one form or another.

"Fight Fire with Fire" isn't a bad tune per se but it sounds a lot more like Loverboy or Starship than Kansas and inherently reflects the glossy MTV mindset that had infected the business when it came out in 1983. The classic ballad "Dust in the Wind" follows and there's a good reason why it has lasted despite its fatalistic, sobering lyric. A simple but memorable melody backed by superb musicianship is the secret to any great hit song and this one reached as high as #4 on the singles chart.

"Song for America" is the best track this group ever recorded and it has never sounded better than it does here. I could go on and on about how fantastic it is but I will instead refer you to my review of the album by the same name in the archives if you need more proof of my admiration. Needless to say, this epic alone is more than enough reason to get this disc. "Hold On" is the next cut and it's an inspiring song about hope and faith where vocalist Steve Walsh really shines.

"No One Together" has excellent musicianship throughout but the tune itself about the need for unity is uncharacteristically short on their usual dynamics. "Play the Game Tonight" is another excursion into the slickness of the 80s that features the singing of John Elefante. It sounds a whole lot like Styx to me but in a good way, I guess, because the tune isn't a total turn-off. "The Wall" is first-rate all the way with the band streaking along in its mid 70s creative stride and "The Pinnacle," despite being a bit contrived, makes me think I really missed the boat when I didn't go ahead and get the "Masque" LP back in '75. I might have become a die-hard fan. Both songs are wonderful examples of progressive rock and a joy to listen to.

Their frantic "The Devil Game" is one of the most energetic and exciting numbers from their early years and I'm glad it's included in this compilation. "Closet Chronicles," though, is only okay considering the fact that it's a live performance but the tune is a little too long-winded and overly dramatic to be effective.

As "Best Of" extravaganzas go, this one is top shelf and one that supplies an honest, representative overview of this underrated American band's extensive repertoire. Since I'm not familiar with their deeper album cuts it allows me to discover some excellent songs that are new to me and still enjoy their most popular tracks at the same time. It's a win-win situation. 4 stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
3 stars The Best Of Kansas is certainly a condensed version of the greatest the band had to offer. All the standout tracks here are found on any of their compilations: Carry on Wayward Son, Point of Know Return, Fight Fire With Fire and Dust in the Wind.

There are no rarities and if you have all Kansas albums, nothing new is on offer here. The booklet is neat and to the point with pictures of their album covers and information on each track.

The sound quality is terrific and if you simply want an introduction to the bans, this is one of the best on offer of all their best of compilations. I was able to pick this up for less than $5 so it was a real bargain.

Better Kansas material can be found on albums 'Point of Know Return' and 'Leftoverture', which are real progressive conceptual works.

This compilation features more mainstream releases. Best track on it is of course Carry on Wayward Son that rocks with many time sig changes and incredible guitars, the vocals are impressive too. If you haven't heard it, do so now as it is quintessential prog and the best from Kansas.

Overall this compilation is an excellent way to be introduced to Kansas.

Review by Epignosis
3 stars This is essentially a release of a compilation released fifteen years prior, but with some very important changes, changes which make this compilation much closer to the best of Kansas. I recall that, while skiing in West Virginia one beautiful Saturday afternoon, a friend showed me this CD he'd picked up. I told him I'd already had it and knew what was on it (he didn't), but thanks, because I'd love to listen to some Kansas anyway. I was in for a surprise toward the end. This was the very first time I ever heard "The Pinnacle," and being so high up on those snow-covered West Virginia mountains, with the crisp air and the misty air of bygone youth to shroud my memory of it all now, I consider it one of my fondest moments ever hearing my favorite band. That and one other experience brought me into the cult that is a deep love of progressive rock. "Perfect Lover" is gone, but this is of small consequence given the appearance of not only one of the bands greatest epic pieces, but also "Closet Chronicles" and "The Devil Game." With all of these fantastic inclusions (though a couple more certainly could have been added, especially with the removal of other, far less interesting tracks), this is a step in the right direction, and more worthy of the title "The Best of Kansas."
Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars This is just a reissue of the 1984īs collection plus 3 new songs. Another way to fool potential Kansas fans and cash in with a poor compilation that bears a deceptive title. This is FAR from kansas best although som e stuff here is indeed very well known (some quite overplayed). The track order is a mess, mixing their prog stuff of the 70īs with the pop hits of the early 80īs. Key songs are missing like the beautiful Icarus or Journey To Mariabronn, just to mention two.

Worse: they didinīt use all the available space in the CD format even if in 1999! There was room for more. And even if the inclusion of the great Pinnacle is a plus, Devilīs Game is hardly their best nor a hit song to justify its inclusion. No unissued material is included, nor some different mix or anything like that.

If youīre just looking for the radio hits - plus some uneven stuff, go for it. But if you want to know the real great band Kansas is, then this CD is just too poor. Three stars for the quality of the songs included, zero stars for the package= 2 stars.

Review by Isa
3 stars |C| A good compilation with some unnecessary "hits."

(On a personal note, this compilation has some element of being someone important to me, for it was among my first exposures as a child to progressive rock, and this reissue was part of the turning point for me wanting more of this "complex music" in my High School years.)

Indeed, this is a reissue of the compilation of that came out in the eighties, with some replaced songs that most seem to agree improved its quality by a slight margin. To sum it up, it has mostly Kansas hits, including the good ones from their first few albums, as well as really lame ones (Fight Fire With Fire, Hold On, and Play The Game Tonight) that really dampen the validity of the compilation's title; but then again, for that you would pretty much only include anything from the first few albums regardless! However, considering that the compilation originally came out in the infamous 80s, we should be appreciative that they didn't do a much worse job with the commercialization aspect of selecting songs. All of the tracks over 4 minutes long are just fantastic, practically classical compositions in a lot of ways, I find, coming from a classical musician perspective!

(I'll always remember sitting on the bus on the way to high school listening to The Pinnacle on my walkman, thinking "wow, what a beautiful song, and so long and interesting! Such cool influence from classical music!")

A good compilation in general - if you're not too interested in "getting into" Kansas, but would like a good set of some of their finest material, this compilation will definitely serve you well.

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