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KANSAS

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Kansas biography
Original members Kerry LIVGREN (guitar) and Phil EHART (drums) combined their two separate bands into one large band. Kerry's band was called SARATOGA, and Phil's was called WHITE CLOVER. The band changed its name to KANSAS. They were from the beginning just an ordinary rock band, but were quickly compared to other progressive bands in the 70's like GENESIS, YES and KING CRIMSON. Combining the musical complexities of British prog-rock with the soul and instrumentation of the American heartland, KANSAS became one of the biggest selling and most successful touring acts of the 1970s. With huge hits like "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind", they helped define the sound of "classic rock". They are loved all over the world.

I- THE 1970s
The Early Days: Their self-titled debut album was released in 1974, but nationwide response was slow. Their second album, "Song For America", saw a softening of KANSAS' sound, with more classical influences evident. The third album, "Masque", featured more pop songs and lyrically quite dark. They suffered ridicule from people around the world, because they wore overalls and had a violonist, which made people think that they were a country music group.
The Best of Times: "Leftoverture", with the popular single "Carry On Wayward Son", became a signature piece and pushed the album to platinum success. The followup, "Point Of Know Return" (1977) contained the ever-popular acoustic "Dust In The Wind". During their tour, they recorded their first live album, "Two For The Show" (1978) and the next studio album "Monolith" (1979).

II- THE 1980s
Seeds Of Change: A year later, the band followed up with "Audio Visions", the last production of the original band lineup. WALSH left the band due to creative differences. "Vinyl Confessions" had Christian lyrical content. The next album, "Drastic Measures" (1983), had some hard rock material on it, including the song "Mainstream". In 1984, the band released a greatest hits compilation, "The Best Of Kansas", which featured one new song, "Perfect Lover".
The Second Generation: The group split in 1983, only to reform in 1986 with the albums "Power" and with "The Spirit Of Things" (1988). Sales of these two albums were not very strong. Thus, the second generation of KANSAS had come to an abrupt end.

III- THE 1990s: The Third Generation
The new lineup released their second live album, "Live At The Whiskey", and featured live renditions of their classics. In...
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Buy KANSAS Music


The Best of KansasThe Best of Kansas
Remastered · Extra tracks
Sony 1999
Audio CD$3.27
$2.50 (used)
Point of Know ReturnPoint of Know Return
Sbme Special Mkts. 2002
Audio CD$2.57
$2.56 (used)
KANSAS: Miracles Out Of Nowhere (Documentary DVD/CD)KANSAS: Miracles Out Of Nowhere (Documentary DVD/CD)
Legacy 2015
Audio CD$12.98
$12.99 (used)
LeftovertureLeftoverture
Import
Epic Europe 2001
Audio CD$4.54
$6.93 (used)
Kansas (Expanded Edition)Kansas (Expanded Edition)
Remastered
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2004
Audio CD$2.57
$2.56 (used)
Song for AmericaSong for America
Remastered
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.57
$2.56 (used)
MasqueMasque
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.74
$2.73 (used)
Original Album ClassicsOriginal Album Classics
Box set
Epic 2015
Audio CD$15.21
$15.20 (used)
Audio VisionsAudio Visions
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.64
$2.63 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. "LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY" ATLANTIC UK 1972 LP. USD $30.71 Buy It Now 33m 33s
Count Basie - Kansas City Powerhouse (2002) - Used - Compact Disc USD $0.99 Buy It Now 49m 39s
Kansas Point of Know Return 1977 1st Sterling 1C ARCHIVE MASTER Ultrasonic CLN USD $46.75 Buy It Now 56m 19s
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Joe Turner "The Boss of the Blues" SINGS KANSAS CITY JAZZ LP ATLANTIC #1234 USD $39.98 Buy It Now 1h 8m
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1h 54m
LP Young, Lester "Lester Young And & The Kansas City 5" EMI STATESIDE SL 10002 USD $26.09 Buy It Now 2h 28m
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2h 53m
Best Of Kansas by Kansas (CD, Oct-1984, Cbs Assoc.) USD $2.49 [0 bids]
3h 10m
SHOP ASSISTANTS/THE WOODENTOPS, TRAIN FROM KANSAS CITY/LOVE TRAIN, VG/VG, 4 Trac USD $3.67 Buy It Now 3h 20m
KANSAS POINT OF NO RETURN RECORD VINYL USD $2.59 Buy It Now 3h 59m
Kansas Point of no Return LP EX+ "Lyric Sleeve" USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4h
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Boy (Bert) Berger - Kansas City (1956-65 Vogue & Telefunken) - Deutsche Oldie... USD $19.36 Buy It Now 4h 16m
Kansas City Cryers - Gotta Roam (2011) - Revival Rock & Roll/Rockabilly USD $19.61 Buy It Now 4h 18m
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4h 19m
Kansas City Jimmy - Saturday Nite / Cheatin' Women 45rpm - Singles Repro/R USD $12.57 Buy It Now 4h 28m
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4h 47m
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1959 Wilbert Harrison Fury 1023 45rpm Blues R&B Black R&R New Orleans Kansas NR USD $5.99 Buy It Now 5h 4m
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Kansas - LIVE AT THE WHISKY CD 1992 INTERSOUND CDI 9107 USD $5.27 Buy It Now 5h 20m
Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe - Vol. 3-(1931-32) [CD New] USD $16.47 Buy It Now 5h 21m
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People's Liberation Big Band Of Greater Kansas Cit - Nutcracker USD $22.16 Buy It Now 6h 20m
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Rock 45 Harold Dorman With Roland James Orch. - Moved To Kansas City / Take A Ch USD $5.00 Buy It Now 6h 39m
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6h 41m
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6h 43m
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6h 43m
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6h 43m
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6h 43m
IAN DURAN LP Dust In The Wind KANSAS Father & Son CAT STEVENS Sung IN SPANISH USD $24.99 Buy It Now 6h 43m
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6h 44m
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Philip Rambow Max's Kansas City Volume II vinyl LP Ram Records punk USD $15.00 Buy It Now 6h 52m
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Point Of Know Return - Kansas 8718469533664 (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $27.48 Buy It Now 7h 5m
Live at the Whisky by Kansas USD $4.29 Buy It Now 7h 6m
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7h 12m
KANSAS - Miracles Out Of Nowhere - RARE 2015 USA 24-track CD album PLUS DVD!! USD $1.52 [0 bids]
7h 20m
KANSAS Audio-Visions UK LP +insert 1980 near mint/ex+ promo USD $15.34 Buy It Now 7h 24m
NAT GONELLA & HIS NEW GEORGIANS Kansas City Moods 10" 78 COLUMBIA FB2754 USD $19.94 Buy It Now 7h 34m
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KANSAS: MASQUE LP PZ 33806 USD $5.82 Buy It Now 7h 42m
KANSAS / Masque 2008 JAPAN CD Mini-LP w/OBI EICP-1049 USD $22.50 Buy It Now 7h 58m
Kansas City Jazz Spectrum, 1978, Kaycee Jazz, KC-7801, AUTOGRAPHED by Milt Abel USD $19.00 Buy It Now 7h 59m
The 70s - Kansas USD $2.00 Buy It Now 8h 9m
Freaks of Nature by Kansas (CD, Aug-2002, Diablo (UK)) USD $6.08 Buy It Now 8h 22m
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TOMMY WILLS-KANSAS CITY/K.C. DRIVE-1973 SOUL 45 ON JUKE [1171] USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 42m
Kansas Record Album Monolith LP USD $5.24 Buy It Now 8h 48m
the sweet bye and bye vinyl desto kansas city lyric theater USD $14.89 Buy It Now 8h 48m
HEAR IT ROCKER Rockin' Ronald & the Rebels END 1043 Kansas City and Cuttin' Out USD $15.00 Buy It Now 8h 52m
BALLERS STYLE - MY LIFE FROM A HUSTLERS POINT 2000 Kansas City, MO DOPE GFUNK USD $99.99 [0 bids]
8h 55m
KANSAS Power Vinyl Record LP 1986 MCA-5838 NM/VG++ USD $17.99 Buy It Now 8h 57m
19 Rock tapes: Genesis, Yes,Malmsteen, REM, Kansas, Rush, Van Halen, Stones USD $5.99 [0 bids]
9h
Kansas - Best of (1984) 10 TRACKS USD $2.29 [0 bids]
9h
Zeem - No Coke in My Remy 1999 Topeka, Kansas DOPE GFUNK USD $99.99 [0 bids]
9h 5m
Vintage Vinyl Album Kansas-Point Of No Return USD $1.00 [0 bids]
9h 14m
KANSAS Two For The Show LP Live Dust In The Wind Carry On Wayward Son Paradox USD $11.99 Buy It Now 9h 22m
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Shakespeare's Tempest - A. Sullivan (CD Used Very Good) Kansas City Symphony USD $12.57 Buy It Now 9h 35m
Kansas City 3-For The Second T - Count Basie USD $8.74 Buy It Now 9h 37m
Kansas - Point Of Know Return Cassette Tape CBS JZT34929 1977 Vintage Item USD $5.65 Buy It Now 9h 41m
KANSAS MONOLITH AL36008 LP CE0361 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
9h 48m
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33 RPM 10" Record Bennie Moten's Kansas City Jazz Volume 2 "X" RCA LVA-3025 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 9h 55m
LP- KANSAS POINT OF NO RETURN **VG+ VINYL** 40 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 9h 56m
Johnny Clueless Kissed in Kansas CD USD $2.99 Buy It Now 10h 12m
Kansas City - Soundtrack - Robert Altman Nicholas Payton Joshua Redman Don Byron USD $3.99 Buy It Now 10h 13m
Various Artists : Kansas City CD (1997) USD $3.56 Buy It Now 10h 19m
Buck Clayton-Goin' To Kansas City-Riverside 353-NICE USD $29.99 Buy It Now 10h 25m
JAKE HANNA Kansas City Express Mary Ann McCall Richie Kamuca Nat Pierce LP USD $9.97 Buy It Now 10h 29m
Basehead Not in Kansas Anymore CD USD $4.00 Buy It Now 10h 31m
Unknown Artist The Kansas City Sound CD USD $4.17 Buy It Now 10h 44m
Sixty Watt Sarah All Night to Kansas City CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 10h 46m
Count Basie - And the Kansas City 7 - Speakers Corner 180 grams SEALED USD $34.95 Buy It Now 10h 47m
Let's Work Together/Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison (2013, CD New) CD-R USD $8.39 Buy It Now 10h 53m
Let's Stick Together/Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison (2013, CD New) CD-R USD $9.01 Buy It Now 10h 54m
Delta Blues Museum Band From Clarksville to Kansas City CD USD $7.73 Buy It Now 10h 54m
Strayer, Kerry Orchestra Christmas in Kansas City CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 10h 57m


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KANSAS shows & tickets


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KANSAS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KANSAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 437 ratings
Kansas
1974
4.14 | 513 ratings
Song For America
1975
3.69 | 376 ratings
Masque
1975
4.22 | 783 ratings
Leftoverture
1976
4.13 | 568 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.21 | 259 ratings
Monolith
1979
3.05 | 198 ratings
Audio-Visions
1980
2.73 | 160 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
1982
2.19 | 152 ratings
Drastic Measures
1983
2.69 | 165 ratings
Power
1986
2.83 | 140 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
1988
2.75 | 4 ratings
The Christmas Album
1989
3.23 | 153 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
1995
3.43 | 100 ratings
Always Never the Same
1998
3.53 | 191 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
2000

KANSAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.29 | 180 ratings
Two for the Show
1978
2.87 | 37 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
1992
2.47 | 30 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
1998
2.05 | 10 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
1998
4.02 | 52 ratings
Device, Voice, Drum
2002
2.09 | 8 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2002
1.22 | 4 ratings
From The Front Row...Live!
2003
1.78 | 4 ratings
Greatest Hits Live (Kansas)
2003
4.07 | 39 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
2009
4.25 | 4 ratings
Bryn Mawr 1976
2014

KANSAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.28 | 13 ratings
Best Of Kansas Live (VHS) (aka Live Confessions DVD)
1982
4.20 | 55 ratings
Device - Voice - Drum (DVD)
2002
4.57 | 45 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
2009
4.60 | 5 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
2015

KANSAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.49 | 56 ratings
The Best of Kansas
1984
3.78 | 35 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
1994
3.06 | 11 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
3.21 | 30 ratings
The Best of Kansas (1999)
1999
1.18 | 6 ratings
Extended Versions
2000
3.88 | 22 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Closet Chronicles - The Best of Kansas
2003
4.05 | 2 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2004
4.16 | 26 ratings
Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004
2004
2.89 | 5 ratings
On The Other Side
2005
2.28 | 6 ratings
Works In Progress
2006
4.14 | 14 ratings
Original Album Classics
2009
3.71 | 3 ratings
The Music of Kansas
2010
4.19 | 7 ratings
The Classic Albums Collection 1974-1983
2011

KANSAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
What's On My Mind
1977
3.67 | 3 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.67 | 3 ratings
Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado)
1977
3.50 | 2 ratings
Portrait (He Knew)
1978
3.67 | 3 ratings
Dust In The Wind
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
People Of The Southwind
1979
3.50 | 2 ratings
Hold On
1980
3.50 | 2 ratings
Play The Game Tonight
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
Right Away
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
Fight Fire With Fire
1983
3.50 | 2 ratings
All I Wanted
1986
3.50 | 2 ratings
Power
1987
3.50 | 2 ratings
Stand Beside Me
1988

KANSAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Always Never the Same by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.43 | 100 ratings

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Always Never the Same
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by YagKosha

2 stars Who picked these songs songs? seriously.

Every time I listen to this album I can't help but think what it could have been rather than what it is. In short, the track listing for this record is boring. Yeah, it's boring. The band clearly thought it would have been a good idea to exclude all of their classic hard rock material and go with just the casual flow of their safe softer material.

The album opens up with a Beatles cover (Eleanor Rigby) which is one of -- if not -- the most bizarre decisions they've ever made. Like, seriously? Out of all the awesome material they have conceived since the band's inception, they decide to go out of their own catalog and take a boring 60s song that appealed to mostly teenage girls? Ugh. To follow that up, they go with one of the worst renditions of Dust in the Wind I've ever heard. Walsh's voice sounds so weak, and the guitars have absolutely no presence; they sound like they were mixed far into the background which just is not right. The only good thing to come from this track are the orchestrations, but that's only one minor aspect that is not enough to save one whole song.

Preamble, and Song for America is when the album starts get on the right track; utilizing the orchestra and giving their songs the correct unison that is needed between the two. In Your Eyes is a neat song that is exclusive to this very record. With good lyrics and a nice chorus, it works rather well in this album.

After that, the interest really seems to get lost. This is really the point in which you think to yourself, "Really? Out of all the excellent symphonic songs that this band has culminated, they used hardly any of them?" To whoever the imbecile(s) who picked the tracks for this album is, I'd like to list a number of songs that would have been a way better addition than the extremely weak list they came up with: Magnum Opus, Icarus, The Pinnacle, Belexes, Lightning's Hand, Hopelessly Human, Reason to Be, Lamplight Symphony, and the list goes on.

What this album lacks completely is energy. The band was probably too skeptical about the notion of combining their excellent progressive hard rock material with an orchestra, so they played it safe and attempted to keep it overall more "classical," which is inane. The band really missed the mark with this one.

Now that Steve Walsh and his long-dead voice is no longer in the band, I say that if the band is too pessimistic about releasing a new studio album without any of Livgren's songs, then they should right the wrongs they made with this one and return to the studio with an orchestra, Ronnie Platt's voice, and select the songs that I have listed. Sure, the possibility of this happening is one in a million, but it's a nice optimistic thought. In reality, this is the only Kansas album with a symphony orchestra we're ever going to get, and it's an utter disappointment.

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 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 568 ratings

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Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I think that KANSAS is somewhat underrated as a band by some Prog Rock fans. And I think that it is not fair. Maybe the mixture of Progressive Rock music with some Hard Rock and Heavy Metal guitars and arrangements or even the fact that they had some hits played in the radio like "Carry On Wayward Son" or "Dust on the Wind" are maybe the main things that some Prog Rock fans don`t like from this band. I have to say that even it really took to me some time to like KANSAS`s music in the late seventies and early eighties. But it was until I bought and listened to their very good live album called "Two for the Show" in 1984 that I really started to appreciate how good was this band since the seventies. In fact, i did not like very much this "Point of Know Return" album when I listened to it in the late seventies and early eighties!

This album maybe represents for KANSAS not only their commercial peak as a band with their original line-up thanks to "Dust in the Wind", an acoustic guitar musical piece with very good "existential" lyrics by Kerry Livgren and very good arrangements, but also, in my opinion, with this album KANSAS as a band really reached their peak as musicians, composers and performers. With most tracks composed by Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh (but with the title track composed by Walsh, Phil Ehart and Robby Steinhardt, with "Dust in the Wind" and "Hopelessly Human" composed by Livgren, and "The Spider" composed by Walsh) this album sounds like a very good work done as a real team by all members of the band. Every song is very good, with even some very good arrangements influenced by Classical music with some heavy guitars. The keyboard arrangements are also very good. Phil Ehart also shines as a very good drummer in this album too, and the vocals are sung by Walsh and Steinhardt very well.

I can`t only mention a few songs as highlights in this album, because I like all the songs from this album. But I think that KANSAS always has sounded better playing in concert. Like in their previous album called "Leftoverture", their studio work is very good, but the best versions of the songs from both albums and from their previous albums sound better played in concert, in my opinion, because they played them with more freedom and even adding some very good arrangements in concert like the extended lead guitars section played at the end of the song by Rich Willams and Kerry Livgren in "Portrait" or the more energetic live versions of "Point of Know Return", "Paradox" and "Closet Chronicles" in their live album "Two for the Show". In fact, the 30th anniversary edition of "Two for the Show" has eight of the ten songs from this "Point of Know Return" album played better in concert. But this 1977 studio album for me represents their peak as a band working in the studio. If the "Leftoverture" album was mostly influenced by the songwriting work of Kerry Livgren, with this "Point of Know Return" album the band had contributions in the songwriting by other members of the band, and I also think that the arrangements also improved.

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 Song For America by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.14 | 513 ratings

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Song For America
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Recently, I have acquired a few albums by American prog bands of the seventies and I have to say that on all them the musical influences are blatantly obvious: Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis. The music is really good and each band gives something of its own to the music, but nevertheless, it is still highly derivative. Kansas, however, I find are not so obvious, having developed their own sound early on.

I have never heard the debut of Kansas; however, their second album, 'Song for America' sees them steering on the course that would eventually produce 'Leftoverture' and 'The Point of Know Return' all the while keeping their barroom rock style on par with their more complex music.

The album features three shorter boogie rock songs that are more of the rock hall crowd-pleaser variety and three longer songs where the band can really stretch out. So, let's look at 'Song for America', 'Lamplight Symphony', and 'Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman' for this is where Kansas' unique brand of progressive ROCK is at its most spectacular.

'Song for America' takes over three minutes to get to the lyrics as we are treated to various instrumental parts featuring piano, violin, and guitar. The bass is mixed right up there with the lead instruments and for good reason because it is a busy instrument. The song is about the rampant exploitation of the natural resources of America. The music goes through many paces and there are some wonderful parts that are classically influenced and others more rock. Of the three Kansas albums I have from the seventies, this might just be my favourite song.

'Lamplight Symphony' is a little bit Blue Oyster Cult in style as it is a bit darker and the lyrics are about a man who sees the ghost of his wife. Musically, it is suspenseful and dramatic at times but also includes some quieter parts with piano and violin.

The final track 'Incomundro - Hymn to the Atman' is the longest and provides plenty of room for instrumental showcasing, particularly the synthesizer solo that has a signature seventies symphonic prog sound that is reminiscent of Camel. There's a hard rock theme that gives way to more classical influences at reflects a bit of Yes and some other classic English prog bands. There's a dramatic classical-like conclusion on the synthesizer but with fast-paced drums and bass.

As I understand it, Kansas improved upon their debut with this album but then turned a bit more mainstream for their third album. Much praise goes to 'Leftoverture' which many say is their best album. So far, however, I think the longer tracks on 'Song for America', particularly the title track, are either on par with or more interesting than a lot of the material on 'Leftoverture'. In any case, this is a very good album and quite exemplary of Kansas' style in the seventies. To me, their rock sound is similar to Triumph only with more keyboards and a violin. But their symphonic prog ROCK pieces are quite worthy of mention among some of the big names of seventies prog. If you've tried and liked 'Leftoverture' and 'Point of Know Return', I do recommend getting this album next. Only their second album and the band have put out quite a piece of work.

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 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 783 ratings

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Leftoverture
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by thwok

5 stars This is simply American prog at its best - certainly symphonic prog, what the majority of people would instantly think of when they hear the word "prog". This is a 5 star album for me. The songs are very well-written and memorable. The musicianship is great. Leftoverture contains two of my favorite Kansas songs - "What's On Mind" and "The Wall". The second one shows off what Steve Walsh can do. IMHO he's one of the best singers in prog, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he and I share a last name! This review is short because with over 100 reviews, we really don't NEED another one. I'll just finish by saying this is an essential record.

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 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 568 ratings

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Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As a kid in the late 70's, I can remember standing in Zeller's department store near the cafeteria and looking at the covers of the record albums on display in the music department across the aisle. Three covers made a deep enough impression that I easily recognized them when, years later, that style of music became my preference. One pictured a domed city on a gigantic guitar with rocket flames churning out from below. "Boston" was emblazoned in gold letters across the guitar, and the earth was exploding in the distance. Another cover featured an intense-looking, long-haired man furiously clutching and playing a guitar from whose head was bursting forth flame and sparks, like a double barrel shotgun blasting. The third album cover was quite different. No flames, guns, rockets, or explosions, just a silhouetted ship tipping over the edge of a seemingly endless waterfall with no bottom. A black sun shone from beyond the falls, providing a sense of hope because a sun existed beyond oblivion but at the same time mystery and a dread of the unknown. I became familiar with the first two albums in my teens; however it was only a few weeks ago that I sat down to order an album by Kansas, just to see what all the fuss was about, that I was at last able to put a band name to that haunting album cover with the ship going over the ocean- breadth-sized waterfall.

"Point of Know Return" was not my first Kansas album. I bought "Power" several years ago when I was in a Deep Purple haze craze and wanted to hear what the members past and present of that legendary band were doing when not in DP, and the Steve Morse connection brought me to Kansas. Only at that time did I even first know that "Dust in the Wind" was a song by the same band! Yeah, I know: what part of the world was I hiding in all these years?

So, at last a classic Kansas album made it to my CD collection and I can tell you that even though "Leftoverture" is higher rated on PA, it was that cover that impressed me so well at the age of six that made me click to order "Point of Know Return" instead.

I'd read the reviews and knew to expect a few things: arena rock, violin, and 70's American prog (whatever that last part meant). With the opening title track I heard the first two aspects but not much of the third. Seventies arena rock with violin and organ syncopation. Oh, well. A decent driving song. I guess that's what this album will be about, I thought.

But to my pleasant surprise, the 70's American arena rock sound was relegated to the passenger seat on most of the other songs. "Paradox" begins sounding a lot like Dixie Dregs, and "The Spider" is a blatant salute to ELP. "Portrait (He Knew)" is a nice blend of the two prevailing styles of hard rock and prog, and "Closet Chronicles" presents an anthemic musical theme in the styling of classic Uriah Heep but with an instrumental section that favours tempo and mood changes, and prog instrumentation.

The arena rock sound returns for "Lightning's Hand" and "Sparks of the Tempest" (interestingly, the rock aspect of "Tempest" reminds me of Montrose), but not without the trademark sudden tempo changes, odd time signatures, and rapid bursts of classically- influenced playing. And in between these two tracks, timely slotted, is the beautiful acoustic number, "Dust in the Wind". Though I've heard it dozens of times on classic rock radio, I actually got chills when it came into my ear buds. It does stand out as the odd ball of the album, in a way much like "Lucky Man" stands out from ELP's debut.

The last two tracks, "Nobody's Home" and "Hopelessly Human" really focus on the progressive rock side of the band and make for a great pair of songs. I can't help but feel that "Nobody's Home" may have influenced one of Saga's early songs.

I was surprised how familiar the band often sounded to me. Of course "Dust in the Wind" and their other huge hit "Carry On Wayward Son" are classic rock radio staples whose choruses I have known most of my life. Then there's the occasional similarity to Dixie Dregs sans guitar wiz, Steve Morse. But the arena rock aspects and Steve Walsh's vocals are still to be found years later on "Power". Actually, I really like Walsh's vocals, typical of American seventies rock, and I realize how much of an influence rock of the seventies had on my musical preferences even though I was only a kid.

Duly impressed from the first listen to this album, I have now ordered "Song for America" and "Leftoverture". Kansas my just be my next Nektar or Saga, two other bands whose second addition to my CD collection immediately warranted the purchase of a few albums more.

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 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 783 ratings

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Leftoverture
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by HarmonyDissonan

5 stars ONE OF MY PERSONAL FAV. PROG ALBUMS FROM THE CLASSIC ERA!

First I'll say that I'm sure I won't due this classic justice. I grew up in the seventies and I can't help but feel as though I was blessed with great music to grow up to, both from the previous half decade and the decade of the seventies! But for prog purposes, the seventies were awesome and this album is in my personal top 10 progger's from the seventies list!

It opens with the classic- 'Carry On Wayward Son'! Now that alone is very near the price of admission but the great music doesn't stop there! The next track is 'The Wall' a beautiful song with many nice changes in tempo and instrumentation, something that is the true definition of progessive music in my book. This song, almost as much as any on this great album gives the impression to me of the overall message being relayed on it. Literal or subliminal, the message within the songs seems to be to me a quest or personal journey of spiritual and emotional discovery, the teller of musical stories and his (I say 'his' since it is a male singer) description of them. Although as I listen to this as I try to type with my two index finger style, I have to say that one of my favorites on the album is also like 'The Wall' in that is another very album conceptual track and that would be 'Miracles Out Of No Where'. I love the baroque break in this song, very intricate with an almost fugue feel to it.

The next track, 'Opus Insert' is a great rocker with some slower introspective moments to it and as I had said earlier, this is what prog rock means to me. I love the break in this song too! Great percussion! I love good percussion performed well and from piano and other keyboards to xylophones and other misc. percussion they do a fine job here on 'L'! 'Questions Of My Childhood' keeps the vibe going strong with some very fine grooves and their ubiquitous violin which is well known as one of their calling cards.

'Cheyenne Anthem' has always held a special place with me and in my spyche. So much so that back in the day I had a yellow t-shirt with the KANSAS lettering across the top, I might have gotten it at their concert and I wrote the last lines of this song across it. I'm a bit of a hoarder, but I can't seem to find that shirt. I can't help but think that in a moment of weakness, I might have let it slip away. Oh well.

This treasure ends with the longest and probably the most proggie track on it, 'Magnum Opus'. It is another classic, although it does end the album in a slightly different vein than put forward by the previous tracks. It is also very good, but just a little different. I don't think it distracts much, but it is a track that I don't always listen to as I drive and listen to music. Maybe I would if I had a longer commute. But I can't help but feel that having lived 1 mile for my commute to work for 23 years and now 2.5 for the last 11 that that has been a blessing in itself. Anyway, it is a good, but slightly different song than the rest and perhaps that is one of the reasons for it's positioning on the album. I don't feel that it has any long- lasting detrimentalness to this classic. One of my personal fav. prog albums from the classic era!

This is IMHO a classic prog album that anyone with a love for classic prog era prog would probably appreciate! Well that's about it. Take care and enjoy God's gift of music!

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 Masque by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.69 | 376 ratings

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Masque
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''Song for America'' brought Kansas in notice with its 250,000 sold copies and the album climbed up to No.57 of the US charts, eventually becoming gold in 1980.Even so Don Kirshner somewhat pushed the band to write more commercial material for their next album.''Masque'' was recorded at the Country in Bogalusa, Los Angeles, but lyrically it ended up to be Kansas' more sinister effort, dealing with issues such as nightmares, death and the dilemma of life.Most of the material was written by Livgren and Walsh and the album was released in September 1975.

The same formula used in the previous Kansas works is present in yet another effort by the Americans with tracks like ''It takes a woman's love (to make a man), ''Two cents worth'' and ''It's you'' clearly written to reach a wider audience with their friendly style and their heartfelt lyrics.Straight rockers, which still retained the talents of the Kansas' crew due to the bombastic sound of Hammond organ and the smoky violin solos of Robby Steinhardt.On the other hand ''All the world'' is great US Prog/Art Rock with great use of synths, piano and organ and Classical-flavored violins, evolving from lyrical ballad-like movements to symphonic grandieur with a powerful sound.''Icarus - borne on wings of steel'' is nice attempt on groovier, proggy material with emphatic vocals and organ, played with complexity and virtuosity, supported by yet another nice performance by Steinhardt on violin.''Child of innocence'' is definitely more pompous Hard Prog with a questionable lyrical content but great switches between angry and sensitive vocal lines and fiery instrumental room at the middle with punchy guitars and keyboards.''Mysteries and mayhem'' is pretty similar, standard rhythmic Hard Rock with passionate vocals, melodic violins and a few impressive, proggy breaks and interplays.I do not know if ''The pinnacle'' was named so to indicate the album's most intricate piece, but this definitely Kansas at their best, familiar Classical-drenched Progressive Rock with striking, instrumental lines, great melodies and adventurous twists and turns.Great piano lines, confident organ and synth runs, beautiful symphonic orchestrations and some more Hard Rockin' instrumental textures.Monster track.

While ''Masque'' finds Kansas at their most accesible phase during their progressive period, the consistently tight songwriting, the solid arrangements and the bombastic, proggy themes in here stabilized them as a top Prog/Art Rock band of the 70's.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Two for the Show by KANSAS album cover Live, 1978
4.29 | 180 ratings

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Two for the Show
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Surprisingly, the land of cheeseburgers, baseball and gun crime didn't produce much prog during the genre's peak years, though it did - thank the stars - give us Kansas. Alongside Styx, Starcastle, Journey and Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Kansas were part of this very big country's very small progressive movement, melding earthy Southern rock with Yes-style histrionics on such winning album's as 'Song For America', 'Leftoverture' and 1978's cunningly-titled 'Point Of Know Return'. Of course, once the 1980's came calling, the group would slowly morph in a much more commercially-viable entity and that, coupled with Kerry Livgren's conversion into Evangelical Christianity, saw the end of Kansas the prog-rockers. Theif first six albums are all well worth investigating for those interested, and if you really can't be bothered to collect them all then you can just buy this double-sided live album which rounds up the best of those albums in rousing live form. Live albums, though, are always a gamble. One of the music industry's most quixotic creations, live albums can either be absolutely brilliant - think Chicago's quadruple-sided 'At Carnegie Hall', Santana's epic triple-sized 'Lotus' or the scintillating 'Solar Music Live' from German symphonic proggers Grobschntt - or they can be a complete and utter waste of time. Great live albums find a group stretching out and adding to the studio material, turning already great songs into even bigger and better ones; bad live albums are either inaudible, unneccessary and dull, and there is nothing worse than a live album where each-and-every song resembles the studio version with no added extras. Simply put, what is the point? You already have the studio albums, so why listen to inferior versions featuring inferior sound quality, unless there is something extra that adds to the music. Although 'Two For The Show' certainly isn't a bad album, it does come under the 'rather unneccessary' banner, as the live versions here are merely note-for- note re-enactments of their studio counterparts. There is nothing wrong with the actual playing - it is, for the most, pretty superb - it's just that those little extra's that can make live albums soooo good simply aren't here. So, what you have is essentially a live greatest hits conpendium of Kansas' peak years. Give me the studio albums any day.

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 The Best of Kansas (1999)  by KANSAS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
3.21 | 30 ratings

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The Best of Kansas (1999)
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

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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 Song For America by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.14 | 513 ratings

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Song For America
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by YagKosha

5 stars Kansas' sophomore album is both their most artistic, progressive, and impressive showing in the band's history. The album starts off with 'Down the Road', a fast-paced southern rock-esque song that is just under four minutes. This is an excellent way to start off the album; it showcases the band's melodic songwriting as well as their fantastic instrumentation with violin, guitar, and keyboard soloing throughout. In a way, it's giving a hint of what to expect from the rest of the album, only in a (relatively) short sequence.

In my opinion, the title-track is one of, if not the greatest progressive rock song ever written. 'Song for America' never fails to amaze me by its sheer brilliance in every sense of the word. Kerry Livgren began writing this song while he was in an airplane soaring over American landscapes. Inspired by the relatively young age of his country, the song's lyrics discuss the abrupt colonization and damage that North American land endured in a short amount of time. The song itself is almost ten minutes exact. I can't begin to describe how many melodies this song has. When listening, it almost sounds like there's a brand new melody every ten seconds. It's just incredible that one man came up with all of these, and he did it during the 70s on a sheet of paper!

'Lamplight Symphony' is another great song. It slower in pace than its predecessor and sounds very majestic. The song is about a widower who is confronted by his wife's ghost. It's a haunting, yet very beautiful song. Next up is 'Lonely Street'. I can't lie, I don't like this song at all. It's dull, boring, out of place, doesn't sound anything like a Kansas song, shouldn't be on the album, moving on. 'The Devil Game' is an awesome track. Here, the fast tempo recurs and it shines with a genuinely presence. This is Steve Walsh-written song, and in my opinion, the best Kansas song he wrote during the 70s. The lyrics are about how one chooses to live their life, "Life is a game, and the stakes will remain the same."

The concluding song on the album being the longest. "Incomudro" is Livgren-written journey about spirituality. It definitely is the most progressive of all tracks. Starting slow and symphonic, and building into a Moog synthesizer showcase. The song eventually leads into a drum solo which I always used to question whether it's necessary or not. But I figure, why not? This is prog we are talking about. Anyways, "Incomudro" is a decent song, it requires close attention in some aspects in order to appreciate more.

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