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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 Legacy 1999
Audio CD$4.28
$2.45 (used)
LeftovertureLeftoverture
Import
Epic Europe 2001
Audio CD$3.82
$3.81 (used)
Two For The Show (30th Anniversary Edition)Two For The Show (30th Anniversary Edition)
Remastered · Extra tracks
Sony Legacy 2008
Audio CD$11.85
$9.99 (used)
MasqueMasque
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$3.19
$3.18 (used)
Point Of Know ReturnPoint Of Know Return
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2013
Audio CD$2.87
$2.86 (used)
Miracles Out of NowhereMiracles Out of Nowhere
Sony Legacy 2015
Audio CD$6.47
$8.99 (used)
KansasKansas
Remastered
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.86
$2.00 (used)
Song For AmericaSong For America
Remastered
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.99
$2.65 (used)
Audio-VisionsAudio-Visions
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.73
$2.72 (used)
There's No Place Like HomeThere's No Place Like Home
Multiple Formats
STARCITY 2009
DVD$12.27
$9.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
KANSAS- original 1978 Kirshner Records 45 RPM Record- Dust in the wind USD $5.40 Buy It Now 29m 41s
KANSAS- original 1979 Kirshner Records 45 RPM Record- Lonely wind USD $5.40 Buy It Now 29m 42s
Buck Clayton-Goin' To Kansas City-Riverside 353-MONO USD $24.99 Buy It Now 30m 9s
Live at Max's Kansas City by The Velvet Underground (Vinyl, Jan-2016, 2... USD $16.99 Buy It Now 45m 46s
Kansas City Chorale - Fern Hill (American Choral) [CD New] USD $16.60 Buy It Now 47m
45 Buck Owens & Buckaroos/Kansas City song/I'd love to be your man/Capitol/VG+ USD $2.30 Buy It Now 47m 51s
074646641828 Vinyl Confessions by Kansas (1996 MINT CD QUALITY CHECKED USD $26.30 Buy It Now 1h 3m
"7"-Kansas City Jammers-Sing Me that Rock & Roll 70's midwest power pop hard roc USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1h 4m
886972400426 Song for America by Kansas (2008) - MINT - FAST POST CD USD $10.22 Buy It Now 1h 9m
ALBERT NICHOLAS Memorial Claude Bolling Kansas Fields Andre Reweliotty 2 LP USD $24.97 Buy It Now 1h 13m
KANSAS - Paradox - 1977 USA 7" Juke Box Vinyl Single USD $21.93 Buy It Now 1h 23m
KANSAS-SONG FOR AMERICA- 33rpm 12" VINYL LP USD $7.29 [0 bids]
1h 33m
ANNO SANTO 1975 - The Holy Year 1975 - Ex Con Double LP Record Kansas 5350 601 USD $14.60 Buy It Now 1h 45m
Kansas - Drastic Measures [Remastered 2011 MINT CD QUALITY CHECKED USD $14.60 Buy It Now 1h 55m
Kansas "Point of No Return" (Vinyl, 1977, CBS) USD $1.50 [0 bids]
USD $6.50 Buy It Now
1h 58m
1970 BUCK OWENS THE KANSAS CITY SONG LP ~ CAPITOL ST-476 SEALED USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2h 4m
ROGER MILLER * 45 * Kansas City Star * 1960s * NM USA ORIGINAL SMASH with Sleeve USD $6.40 Buy It Now 2h 17m
CD-Kansas City Jammers-Got Good If You...70's garage Power Pop~Dbl. USD $12.00 Buy It Now 2h 24m
KANSAS JOE / BEST OF VOLUME 1 (1929-1935) Earl BD 603 ~ NEAR MINT USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 26m
KANSAS "Power" MCA Records MCA-5838, 1986 MT-/MT- Prog rock USD $7.00 Buy It Now 2h 27m
Kansas - Power (1986 Cassette) Rock USD $2.50 Buy It Now 2h 31m
Dueling Banjos/live At Kansas State - Earl Scruggs New & Sealed Compact Disc Fre USD $14.92 Buy It Now 2h 39m
Kansas Power 1986 MCA 5838 Progressive Rock Vinyl LP NM USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2h 48m
Kansas Audio Visions 1980 Kirshner 36588 Progressive Rock Vinyl LP NM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h 48m
Kansas Monolith 1979 Kirshner 36008 Progressive Rock Gatefold Vinyl LP VG++ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h 50m
Kansas Two For The Road 1982 Kirshner 35660 Progressive Rock 2 Vinyl LPs VG++ USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
Kansas Stand Beside Me 1988 MCA 53425 Hard Folk Rock 45 rpm Pic Slv VG++ USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
Live! Extended Versions by Kansas (CD, Mar-2000, BMG Special Products) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
MAX'S KANSAS CITY New York New Wave Vol 2 LP UK 1977 Various Artists USD $4.48 Buy It Now 3h
KANSAS LEFTOVERTURE EPIC 25AP 3111 Japanese Pressing PROMO Vinyl LP USD $3.25 [3 bids]
3h
Wilbert Harrison - Kansas City / Listen My Darling - Collectibles Label COL 1625 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 3h 20m
Robert Moran Rocky Road To Kansas 1995 CD Minimalism USD $7.29 Buy It Now 3h 24m
THE WOLFGANG PRESS "KANSAS" UK 12" (4AD) USD $5.47 Buy It Now 3h 33m
Lot of 15 Rock 'n Roll 8-track tapes AEROSMITH,THE DOORS,QUEEN, R.E.O.,KANSAS USD $16.99 [1 bids]
3h 34m
The Best of Kansas [1999] [Remaster] by Kansas (CD, Feb-1999, Epic Associated) USD $4.50 Buy It Now 3h 35m
KANSAS LEFTOVERTURE EPIC 25AP 3111 Japanese Pressing OBI Vinyl LP USD $8.66 [7 bids]
3h 36m
Kansas - The Ultimate Kansas NEW 2xCD USD $10.44 Buy It Now 3h 38m
KANSAS Point Of Know Return KIRSHNER LP no bar code USD $8.95 Buy It Now 3h 42m
KANSAS-Mint Vinyl 45 (1972)-Play The Game Tonight/Play On USD $6.25 Buy It Now 3h 45m
Kansas : Leftoverture CD (1990) USD $7.97 Buy It Now 3h 47m
Earl Scruggs + The Earl Scruggs Revue / Live at Kansas State / 1972 / Columbia USD $2.25 Buy It Now 3h 59m
Kansas - Miracles Out of Nowhere, Audio CD New USD $16.91 Buy It Now 4h
Jimmy McConnell-In The Wind-Fifth Street 1022-KANSAS CITY JAZZ USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4h 2m
Kansas - Best Of Kansas (CD, Oct-1984) ZK 39283 CBS USD $4.64 Buy It Now 4h 5m
SID VICIOUS Live At Max Kansas City NY 1978 Prism Leisure PLATCD 722 2001 CD USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4h 15m
Radio Legends - Jim Channell as Jim Morgan KIRL St. Louis + KUDL Kansas City USD $6.50 Buy It Now 4h 16m
The Troggs Live at Max's Kansas City Vinyl Rare 1978-80 V1 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 4h 17m
VTG 8 TRACKS- BILLY JOEL, KANSAS, JANIS JOPLIN, PETER FRAMPTON, CARPENTERS #T1 USD $19.95 Buy It Now 4h 35m
Blues from Kansas City / Jay McShann Orchestra USD $12.70 Buy It Now 4h 41m
KANSAS-ON THE OTHER SIDE CD NEW USD $8.11 Buy It Now 4h 58m
KANSAS monolith KIR 83644 US kirshner 1979 + insert LP USD $7.31 [0 bids]
5h
The "Kansas City" Sessions, Young, Lester, Very Good USD $16.48 Buy It Now 5h 11m
Kansas - 2005 London Ticket Stub USD $3.65 [0 bids]
5h 36m
Kansas - Freaks of Nature (1997) CD QUALITY CHECKED & FAST FREE P&P USD $27.76 Buy It Now 5h 42m
VINTAGE 1977 KANSAS POINT OF KNOW RETURN (VG) 34929 Vinyl Album 12" 33RPM USD $3.99 [1 bids]
5h 43m
5099748116123 Audio Visions by Kansas (1996) CD QUALITY CHECKED USD $23.37 Buy It Now 5h 54m
KANSAS: Point Of Know Return LP Sealed (half-speed master, sealed in thick oute USD $90.00 Buy It Now 5h 55m
ROCK KANSAS MASQUE LP RECORD EXCELLENT ** USD $14.00 Buy It Now 6h 3m
kansas carry on wayward son USD $0.99 Buy It Now 6h 7m
Kansas, Fight Fire With Fire/Incident On A Bridge, 45 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 6h 8m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "What's On My Mind" USD $7.50 [0 bids]
6h 19m
Kansas DUT 7" w pic/slv "Fight Fire With Fire" USD $5.00 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "Power" USD $5.00 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "Portrait" USD $7.50 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas DUT 7" w pic/slv "Play The Game Tonight" USD $5.00 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "All I Wanted" USD $5.00 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas DUT 7" w pic/slv "Hold On" USD $7.50 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "Point Of No Return" USD $7.50 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Kansas GER 7" w pic/slv "What's On My Mind" USD $7.50 [0 bids]
6h 20m
Mulholland - Bruffy, Kansas City Chorale: Words & Music (Colla Voce) Like New USD $13.00 Buy It Now 6h 23m
KANSAS - Point of Know Return [Bonus Tracks] [Remaster] (CD, Feb-2002) USD $1.99 [0 bids]
6h 24m
Kansas / Point Of Know Return / 8 Track Cartridge Tape 1977 USD $3.65 [0 bids]
6h 30m
KANSAS Masque PZ33806 LP Eg4150 USD $2.99 [0 bids]
6h 31m
ROCK KANSAS MONOLITH PROMO LP RECORD VG+ STERLING MASTER USD $16.00 Buy It Now 6h 32m
Steve Walsh - Schemer Dreamer LP Krishner 36320 KANSAS USD $10.49 Buy It Now 6h 36m
ROCK KANSAS AUDIO-VISIONS STERLING MASTER LP RECORD VERY GOOD+ USD $14.00 Buy It Now 6h 38m
Various-Kansas City Jazz-Decca 8044-MONO ORIG USD $29.99 Buy It Now 6h 52m
LEGENDS KARAOKE CD+G VOL 107 BOSTON KANSAS & J GEILS BAND NEW (LAST ONE) USD $23.99 Buy It Now 6h 56m
TOTO BOSTON KANSAS Progressive Hard Rock JAPAN CD USD $20.40 Buy It Now 7h 6m
KANSAS - THE PREACHER MAGNUM OPUS LIVE '89 - US PROG - KING BISCUIT FLOWER HOUR USD $8.76 [0 bids]
7h 7m
Sidney Bechet: Kansas City Man Blues/Wild Cat Blues 78 RPM Hot Jazz Club # HC 87 USD $10.99 Buy It Now 7h 8m
HUSTLAMADE BUGZY " Heart, Street And Hustle " OG g-funk Kansas City rap rare USD $34.00 [6 bids]
7h 19m
Trini Lopez TEEN FOLK 45 (Reprise PROMO 20,236) Kansas City/Lonesome Traveler USD $4.98 Buy It Now 7h 31m
Kansas - Debut Album (US IMPORT) .SHIPPING .ALWAYS FAST .ALWAYS FREE. USD $12.85 Buy It Now 7h 37m
Goin' to Kansas City [2003] by Jay McShann (CD, Sep-2003, Stony Plain (Canada)) USD $18.07 Buy It Now 7h 40m
JIM JACKSON Kansas City Blues LP Agram Blues Rec. AB-2004 NE M SEALED 3E USD $22.38 Buy It Now 7h 58m
Wilbert Harrison 45 Listen,My Darling/Kansas City Eric Records #161 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h
Kansas 45 Fight Fire With Fire PICTURE SLEEVE 7" vinyl record USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 2m
Kansas 45 All I Wanted PICTURE SLEEVE 7" vinyl record USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 6m
Kansas City Jazz 78 RPM Set Decca A-214 USD $12.50 [3 bids]
8h 22m
John Elefante : Windows of Heaven 1995 Word Sealed New Christian Mastedon Kansas USD $2.99 Buy It Now 8h 33m
KANSAS VINYL audio-visions LP Record in plastic '80 NmVg+ sleeve SHIPS US FREE USD $12.99 Buy It Now 8h 36m
JAMES BROWN STONE FOX/KANSAS CITY US KING with COMPANY SLEEVE GREAT R USD $4.37 [0 bids]
8h 42m
COUNT BASIE Kansas City / Count Basie 6 Pablo 2310-871 USD $40.00 Buy It Now 8h 53m
NEW Count Basie 12" Kansas City Suite Benny Carter MINT Roulette Birdland SEALED USD $238.43 Buy It Now 8h 56m
1957 Joan O'Bryant 10" Folk Songs and Ballads of Kansas FA 2134 FOLKWAYS RECORDS USD $109.72 Buy It Now 8h 58m
MARY HENDERSON & GEOFF SHANNON Kansas dancing 1997 CD 17 tracks USD $16.99 Buy It Now 8h 59m
pc78-Black Gospel-Modern 20-503-Rev. Billups and the Kansas City Singers USD $15.00 Buy It Now 9h 2m
Little Richard Lonesome And Blue / Kansas City 45 RPM Vinyl USD $8.99 Buy It Now 9h 5m
KANSAS, POWER STEREO, HARD TO FIND, GREAT CONDITION . USD $5.00 Buy It Now 9h 12m
LP leftoverture
KANSAS
~ USD $19.45


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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 | 484 ratings
Kansas
1974
4.14 | 569 ratings
Song For America
1975
3.69 | 417 ratings
Masque
1975
4.22 | 862 ratings
Leftoverture
1976
4.13 | 626 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.20 | 292 ratings
Monolith
1979
3.06 | 225 ratings
Audio-Visions
1980
2.73 | 179 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
1982
2.19 | 168 ratings
Drastic Measures
1983
2.69 | 184 ratings
Power
1986
2.84 | 158 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
1988
3.69 | 7 ratings
The Christmas Album
1989
3.23 | 170 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
1995
3.42 | 111 ratings
Always Never the Same
1998
3.48 | 209 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
2000

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

4.30 | 201 ratings
Two for the Show
1978
2.87 | 39 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
1992
2.56 | 32 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
1998
2.05 | 11 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
1998
4.02 | 54 ratings
Device, Voice, Drum
2002
2.09 | 8 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2002
1.22 | 4 ratings
From The Front Row...Live!
2003
1.88 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits Live (Kansas)
2003
4.06 | 47 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
2009
4.29 | 7 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
4.55 | 49 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
2009
4.20 | 11 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
2015

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

2.53 | 65 ratings
The Best of Kansas
1984
3.81 | 36 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
1994
3.06 | 11 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
3.22 | 35 ratings
The Best of Kansas (1999)
1999
1.18 | 6 ratings
Extended Versions
2000
3.90 | 26 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas
2002
3.75 | 4 ratings
Closet Chronicles - The Best of Kansas
2003
4.05 | 3 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2004
4.16 | 27 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 | 16 ratings
Original Album Classics
2009
3.72 | 4 ratings
The Music of Kansas
2010
4.25 | 11 ratings
The Classic Albums Collection 1974-1983
2011

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

3.33 | 3 ratings
What's On My Mind
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.96 | 5 ratings
Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado)
1977
3.33 | 3 ratings
Portrait (He Knew)
1978
3.96 | 5 ratings
Dust In The Wind
1978
2.17 | 4 ratings
People Of The Southwind
1979
3.09 | 4 ratings
Hold On
1980
3.67 | 3 ratings
Play The Game Tonight
1982
3.33 | 3 ratings
Right Away
1982
3.33 | 3 ratings
Fight Fire With Fire
1983
2.17 | 4 ratings
All I Wanted
1986
3.04 | 4 ratings
Power
1987
1.30 | 4 ratings
Stand Beside Me
1988

KANSAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Christmas Album by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.69 | 7 ratings

BUY
The Christmas Album
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars By mid-autumn 1990 the members of Kansas were not in a very good place. The group had reformed in late 1985 and released two studio albums on the MCA label, but changing public tastes and a rapidly condensing music industry combined to cloud the band's future. Having Steve Walsh, one of the most recognizable voices in American rock, along with five-time Guitar magazine artist-of-the-year Steve Morse should have all but ensured success for the group, but MCA had set sights on the MTV generation and was in the process of unwinding its relationship with Kansas following a critically-acclaimed but financially disappointing 'In the Spirit of Things' album and subsequent tour. There were rumors of Morse's departure, which were confirmed in the spring shortly after the 'Spirit' tour sputtered to a halt. And despite persistent efforts by drummer and band leader Phil Ehart to bring original violinist Robby Steinhardt back into the fold, the group appeared ready to close out the 1980s without a label and without their signature string sound.

And then came a glimmer of hope. The story goes that in late summer 1990 a German concert promoter made a deal with the original Kansas lineup to reform and embark on a European tour. In reality that 'German promoter' was Phil Ehart himself, working behind the scenes to inject some sign of life into a band that otherwise appeared headed for the boneyard, though his role would not come to light until many years later. Unfortunately Steinhardt was still off in Florida creating musically average and unjustifiably hard-to-find CDs with ganja buddy Rick Moon, but the rest of the group including Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope agreed to spend the winter of 1990 trapesing through the rapidly transforming European countryside. Like many other American and British bands, they saw the financial upside of belting out rock anthems while perched atop recently dismantled Soviet monuments to slightly shell-shocked crowds of prospective patrons as they emerged from drab Cold War hovels and embraced their glorious capitalist future. Or something like that. Wind of change indeed.

One problem - the band had no album to promote. And since MCA had dropped them in favor of pop-star du jour Tiffany they also had no studio sponsorship and no advance money to cover the cost of producing an album, not to mention no one to write the songs. Ehart considered framing the upcoming concerts as a European leg of the recently completed 'In the Spirit of Things' tour, but the legal drones at MCA made it clear the band would spend the winter in court rather than on the road if they tried to abscond with the label's copyrighted property.

Which is how the band Kansas came to add a Christmas album to their discography.

On the surface this project made no sense. Before the 1990s few if any progressive rock (or even hard rock) bands had ever released a Christmas record; in fact, even today holiday records are mostly cranked out by country singers, evangelists or washed-up actors. The most notable prog rock example is Jethro Tull's 2003 Christmas album, and Ian Anderson has often and openly credited Kansas for inspiring him to add a holiday record to his own band's collection. Walsh was quoted several years after the recording saying he found the experience to be more spiritual and inspiring than 'any of that cross-hugging crap Kerry made us play in the 1980s', and in fact he has since gone on to appear on several upbeat, Christmas-themed records including the 2001 December People collection; a 2003 album titled 'Remember the One' recorded with children and a priest from Walsh's old primary school in St Joseph, Missouri; and of course 'Glossolalia'.

So the band needed a tour and one magically appeared, and now they needed an album. And one magically appeared. Once again Ehart pulled a rabbit out of an orifice and came up with the idea of wrapping a holiday theme around the upcoming shows, and given the tour would start just three weeks before Christmas, he figured that featuring the holiday prominently made perfect (albeit contrived) sense. Phil has said his inspiration (and several of the song tracks) came from a drunken all-nighter the band pulled during the early studio sessions for 'Vinyl Confessions' back in 1981. At that point Walsh hadn't walked out on the band and been replaced by John Elefante yet, but as the holidays approached their time in the studio was becoming more fractious and correspondingly less productive. Queen's drummer Roger Taylor, who was guest musician for the sessions but found himself acting increasingly as referee between the holy (Livgren, Hope) and hell-raiser (Walsh, Williams) factions of the band, recounted to them how he and Freddie Mercury eased tensions of their own during the final Trident sessions for Queen's first studio album back in 1972. Queen had also been recording late in the year with holidays approaching, and like Kansas the sessions were strained. In Queen's case this was due to the band being forced to re-record several tracks they had previously laid down at De Lane Lea studio earlier in the year but which producer Roy Thomas Baker had refused to mix. The band was being squeezed into downtime slots at the studio to save money and nerves were wearing thin. Taylor brought them together one evening with a case of Nyetimber Cuvee and a collection of classic Christmas tunes. The results were several spectacular hangovers along with the legendary (and never released) Queen Christmas recordings now known as the 'lost Trident Nativity Scene'.

In Kansas' case Taylor had his work cut out for him given half the band's members were teetotalers, but he somehow got them to agree to a late weekend session and managed to keep them happy with a combination of non-alcoholic spritzers and a couple of cases of Grolsch's stout lager (along with Walsh's frequent trips to the restroom to do lines off the back of a toilet seat). The reward was a stellar rendition of 'Magnum Opus' as well as a rather silly but charming version of 'Dust in the Wind'.

'Magnum Opus' turned out to be a great choice given the lengthy instrumental parts of that song, which meant the band had to change only a few lyrics to make it work as a Christmas medley, and the slightly cynical nature of those words were perfectly explainable given the amount of alcohol consumed that evening:

'Yuletide again, and the snow it falls, The frost dances light in the air; Under the tree in the room, those presents are all for you, And no, you don't have to share. But once this night is over, I'll be paying off the bills 'til June.'

The 'Dust' version features bells and glass harp in place of strings. Most people don't know this but the original 'Dust in the Wind' included a viola score along with violin (Steinhardt played both), so this version with bells playing the supporting viola role comes off as a faithful reworking of the well-known tune but with an added touch of more range and a flourish to the melody.

I read somewhere that Walsh actually recorded vocals for 'Miracles out of 42nd Street' and if that's true those would be very cool to listen to today. Unfortunately the band didn't keep the vocal tracks from the recording, or maybe they decided the 'substituted' lyrics were either too racy or too rough to include in this release. So we're left with an instrumental that is basically 'Miracles out of Nowhere' but with several bridges that splice in snippets of 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Frosty the Snowman'. The whole thing works mostly because of the song's placement, coming just before 'Magnum Opus Redeux' which itself has numerous abrupt tempo and mood changes. So this portion of the record ends up sounding a bit like a Kansas retrospective medley but with the occasional off-key note and more tinny percussion than what appears on most Kansas albums. Near the end of the song there's a faint spoken vocal in the right speaker that the post-production people seem to have overlooked. I'm not exactly sure who is talking but it sounds like Rich Williams, and the only words you can make out are 'on your mother's slack- jawed face' so I'm guessing there's a missing punchline there as well.

The first of two hidden tracks follows 'Gnome Attack' and is preceded by about 4.5 minutes of dead space. The first few times I listened to the record I thought the space was just tape hiss, but if you crank it up on a decent pair of speakers you'll realize the sound is an almost uninterrupted stream of pissing into a porcelain toilet. I'm not sure if this was looped or if the band members just left a microphone in the bathroom and spliced together all the evening's urination opportunities to come up with this impressive stretch of tape. Either way it's an interesting touch that I'm guessing was lost on most listeners.

The first hidden track is kind of lame, nothing more than a bland version of "Pact with Lucifer" from Coven's 1969 debut album (the one-hit wonder whose claim to fame was the melancholic 'One Tin Soldier'), admittedly and probably intentionally a strange choice for a Christmas album. The song was actually recorded as a rehearsal piece during a preparation session for the band's 1979 'Audio-Visions' tour, making it one of the few tracks on the album that includes Robbie Steinhardt and features violin. Rather than backward-masking (a technique Tipper Gore incorrectly thought was widespread at the time), the band recorded the song as-is and then had the grooves on the vinyl album cut backwards so it could only be played 'normally' by back-spinning the record. Their rather elaborate effort is completely lost on the CD version, where listeners can hear an accurate and mostly boring version of the song with Steinhardt providing vocals.

Since we're discussing hidden tracks, the second and final one appears at the very end of the album/CD. This one is also preceded by a couple minutes of silence but in this case the space seems to actually be silence and not some urologic event. This time the band delivered something truly special, and in doing so started an urban legend that made its way to the internet and will probably live on forever. This is a complete and very tight studio cover of Gary Wright's 'Dream Weaver', the version rumored to exist since shortly after Wright recorded it back in 1975. I've never found anything in writing that explains when or where Kansas recorded this song (or why they never released it), but turns out it does very much exist. Wright of course came up as a member of Spooky Tooth, and the two bands appeared together several times in concert during the Tooth's (Teeth's?) 1973 tour supporting their 'You Broke my Heart, so I Busted your Jaw' album, so the Kansas band members all knew Wright and presumably followed his music. Who knows why they made the recording, but it turned out great and makes for a nice bonus on this album.

The reason this record is considered a studio album and not a compilation is largely thanks to the second half songs. While the first three tunes (and both hidden tracks) were dredged out of a vault somewhere, Phil Ehart did manage to book some studio time for the band to record a few new tracks to include on their European Christmas album. The group laid most of the tracks down at the Rainbow Recording Studio in Omaha Nebraska, a small and mostly urban music studio but one that was available cheap and on short notice. Local sound engineer Ricardo Cabeza assisted in production. Interestingly enough, Cabeza once worked as a roadie for the band during their early touring days and was present at the club known as 'A Warehouse' (New Orleans) in December 1970 when Kansas appeared on stage with the Doors for their disastrous final concert with Jim Morrison before his death. The concert is mentioned in the liner notes of the 'Ultimate Kansas' boxed-set released by Legacy in 1994.

Back to the story at hand. Ehart used the studio's name to come up with a fictitious label ('Rainbow Records') and catalog number (RSCD-1369), but in reality the album was underwritten by MCA as a modest parting gift when they dropped the band from the label. This is also why the copyright notice is dated 1989, when the record was actually put out in 1990. The backdated release date allowed the label to take a tax write-off on the studio expense since they could claim the band was still employed by MCA at the time.

The first of the new tracks is, along with 'Dream Weaver', a cover tune. 'Holy Sh!t, it's Christmas' is the brainchild of comedian Red Peters. Peters first released the song on his studio album 'I Laughed, I Cried, I Fudged my Undies' in 1994, but it dates back to the 1970s when Peters was known as Matt Maverick and appeared extensively as a regional opening act for many touring bands including Badfinger, Spirit and Kansas. Frank Zappa once called him 'the best musical comedian in the world'. This is a light song, obviously meant to be humorous and was probably included so the band would have something they could play as a closing number for smaller venues during the tour.

Despite the similar title 'Silver Bells (and Golden Needles)' has no relation to the Jack Rhodes/Linda Ronstadt country standard 'Silver Threads (and Golden Needles)'. Rather, it's a simple version of the pop standard 'Silver Bells' made famous by Bob Hope in the 1950s, but in this case the band managed to convince Steinhardt to provide cello accompaniment to the song. I'm not sure if he actually appeared in the studio or mailed it in, but this is a very nice touch to what would otherwise have been a fairly pedestrian rendition of the classic. This is also one of the few tunes the original Kansas ever recorded where Walsh or Steinhardt did not provide vocals. The singer is Livgren, marking the first time since 'Point of Know Return' that he adds vocals to a Kansas tune, and the first time since his 1980 solo album 'Seeds of Change' that he is the featured singer.

'Mysteries and Marzipan' is of course a version of the 'Masque' song 'Mysteries and Mayhem'. This is the version I always thought the band should have made for a live album, as it features black gospel backing vocals from the late Reverend James Cleveland's Southern California Community Choir, a group introduced to the band just two years before when they appeared on 'In the Spirit of Things'. This version also features Rich Williams on banjo and Walsh playing a Farfisa organ, both of which combine to provide a primitively festive, almost Appalachian folk vibe to the song. The original has always been overlooked on the 'Masque' album but I count myself among those fans that believe this song was never arranged right when it was first recorded, and that it has at its core a gospel soul. The version on this album lets that soul shine brightly.

And except for the second hidden track, the album closes with 'Nobody's Home (this year for Christmas)', a feel- good a cappella reworking of the Bing Crosby wartime Christmas classic 'I'll be Home for Christmas' that manages to add in the string solo from 'Nobody's Home' off the 'Point of Know Return' album. As far as I know this is the only time you'll ever hear all five members of Kansas singing a capella (yes, Steinhardt shows up here too), although I'm pretty sure all of them sang on the original 'Magnum Opus' and also on 'Whiskey Seed' from Livgren's first solo album. The combination of somber yet hopeful lyrics and the mournful strings from 'Nobody's Home' make for a really emotional end to the album. The group definitely outdid themselves on this one.

I'm not sure how many of these records the band managed to sell at their merch tables during the 1990 European tour (and I believe that tour ended up extending into Japan and the Philippines in early 1991 as well). It was never distributed in North or South America despite being printed and released in New York City, so copies are all but nonexistent outside of Western Europe today. The vinyl version was only released as a promo, and there are a few copies of that floating around the U.S. and Canada, though most are probably in private collections. 'Holy Sh!t, it's Christmas' was released on a white vinyl 12 inch picture disc, and I have a mint copy of that in my man cave to this day.

If you ever run across a copy in decent condition, snatch this one up and hang onto it. Little pieces of music history like this don't come along every day, and given Kansas are in the twilight of their career, this is probably your last chance to own something like this from them.

If I had to rate this solely on the music I'd give it two stars since the record is almost the definition of 'for collectors only', but given the history and the fact reviewers are free to give any rating they want regardless of actual merit, I'm going to go with four stars. I won't give this a strong recommendation based on the quality of the songs, but will say you should add this to your collection if you are ever flipping through stacks in a dusty old record store in some seedy little out-of-the-way European burg, or at least as long as some of those places still exist.

peace

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 Power by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.04 | 4 ratings

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Power
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars From their "Power" (1986) album the record label (and maybe the band too) selected the title song of the album to be released in the Side "A" of this single. And it was a good choice, because it is a good song too. It was written by Steve Walsh, Steve Morse with an external songwriter (Randy Goodrum, who also was going to work as an external songwriter with JOURNEY, STEVE PERRY and others). It sounds a bit related to the "old" style of the band in the seventies, but without being very Progressive. Anyway, the song has some good arrangements. It is one of the best songs from the album and in fact it was played a lot in some FM Radio stations in my city. It also was a minor HIt Single in the U.S. for the band.

"Tomb 19", in the Side "B", is also a good song, also related to the more Progressive Rock musical style of the band in the seventies. It also was written by Morse and Walsh. An energetic song with good guitars by Morse and Rich Williams.

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 All I Wanted by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
2.17 | 4 ratings

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All I Wanted
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In 1986 KANSAS makes more music for the Pop Rock / Power Ballad / Corporate Rock musical industry of the eighties, like they did with their "Drastic Measures" (1983) album, after which Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope left the band. But their "Power" (1986) album, their first after their reunion in 1985 (without Livgren, Hope, John Elefante, and Robby Steinhardt, but with Steve Walsh rejoining the band) still has some good songs. Unfortunately, but obviously, their new record label selected the most commercial song and not one of the best of the album to be released in the Side "A " of this single.

"All I Wanted" is a song written by Walsh with then new KANSAS's guitarist Steve Morse. A "sugar ballad" with some good lead guitar parts (which makes it an almost "power ballad") which is somewhat "out of style" for the band. It sounds like it was written "on order" from their new record label to have an eighties's style Hit Single. And they were right : it was a Hit Single in the U.S. With very eighties's keyboard sounds. Not as bad as their "Stand Beside Me" single from 1988. At least, "All I Wanted" was composed by some members of the band. "All I Wanted" also has a very eighties 's "sugar" video which can be watched to in youtube.

"We're Not Alone Anymore" is another song composed by Walsh and Morse. More heavy, almost Progressive, with very good guitars by Morse and Rich Williams, and very good drums by Phil Ehart. It is one of the best songs from their "Power" album.

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 Stand Beside Me by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
1.30 | 4 ratings

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Stand Beside Me
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Maybe this single is KANSAS's worst single ever. Taken from their "In the Spirit of Things" (988) album, it really shows Corporate Rock's influences over the musical careers of some bands during the eighties. But at least other bands were allowed to record their own songs in their albums, But by 1988 KANSAS was recording several songs which were not composed by the members of the band, to please the record label.

"Stand Beside Me" is a very commercial and mellow Pop Rock song, full of the eighties's very characteristic "plastic" production ingredients (electronic drums, reverberation, etc.). The band even made a video for this song, with the band in very eighites's looks. It is not really difficult to think why the band didn't record another album for that record label (MCA). This song really sounds like a STARSHIP's song, with the KANSAS band name being only used as a vague reference, but nothing more. Despite this, the song reached the Number 13 (!) in the Hit Parade charts of the U.S.

"House on Fire", composed by some members of the band, is a much better song in comparison. A Hard Rock song with good guitars. It really sounds to me as more related to the KANSAS's sound that the "A" Side of this single.

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 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989) by KANSAS album cover Live, 1998
2.56 | 32 ratings

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King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars KANSAS was another Prog Rock band which could not escape in the eighties from the record companies's pressures to change their musical style to update it for the "new sounds of the new decade". And they had to change it a bit, with them recording two albums for MCA ("Power", from 1986, and the disappointing "In the Spirit of Things", from 1988, which also included several songs not composed by the members of the band). This live album, recorded for the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio programme, was recorded in February 1989 during the tour they did for their "In the Spirit of Things" album.

Despite some people don't like this album very much, I can say that it has a very good recording and mixing. They included four songs from their "In the Spirit of Things" album ("One Big Sky", "T.O. Witcher", "The Preacher" and " House on Fire" , with "T.O. Witcher being a good brief acoustic guitar solo piece by Steve Morse) and one from their "Power" album (the very mellow power ballad "All I Wanted"). "One Big Sky" sounds like a very eighties Hard Rock song, but it is not bad. "The Preacher" sounds like a Hard Rock Gospel influenced song which in the studio version included a Gospel choir (and maybe it is the best from their 1988 album), and "House on Fire" is an extended Hard Rock song with lead guitars. The rest of the songs are old songs from the seventies played with new arrangements and new keyboard sounds by Greg Robert, plus energetic guitars by Steve Morse and Rich Williams, with Morse replacing some of the violin parts playing good guitar parts and with sounds (maybe done with pedal effects or even with a guitar synth ) which sometimes sound like a violin (particularly in "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Dust in the Wind"). Some people mention that Morse really played a violin, but I really don't know. Or maybe Robert played some of those violin sounds with his keyboards. Steve Walsh's vocals soond very well in this album in comparison to the "Live at the Whisky" album from 1992. Phil Ehart plays energetic drums, and Billy Greer sings very good backing vocals. So, the band really sounds very well, maybe a bit similar to the eighties line-ups of GENESIS and YES playing in concert, with new personnel, instruments and sounds. Maybe the very eighties's sound didn't help them very much then, but they still were playing very well in concert, in my opinion.

A good live album which was re-issued several times under different titles and by different record labels.

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 The Ultimate Kansas Box Set by KANSAS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
3.81 | 36 ratings

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The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars By the early 90s KANSAS became more a touring band than a recording studio band. Having recorded two more Pop Rock influenced albums for MCA after their return as a band with Steve Walsh since 1985, they found themselves without a record label and maybe without the pressures from those record labels which in the 80s wanted mostly commercial songs to be released as singles. So, by the early 90s the band toured with several line-ups, which also included a reunion with Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope for a time (with also Steve Morse and Billy Greer being involved in some tours), and with Phil Ehart being the Manager, leaving the drums playing for another drummer sometimes.

In 1994 this Box Set was released by their former label (Kirshner / Legacy). I consider this a much better compilation than "The Best of Kansas" album, despite the fact that it mostly includes songs recorded by the "classic" line-up of the band (Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt and Dave Hope) from their albums which were released between 1974 and 1980. I think that it is a more representative compilation of their music from their best period of time, because the "classic" line-up was their best line-up anyway.

This Box Set has some previously unreleased recordings which work more as a "marketing trick" for the fans to buy it. One is a demo of a song called "Can I Tell You" (which was later recorded for their first album). Also, there are three live recordings from the seventies from KANSAS ("Death of Mother Nature Suite"and "Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman", both of them very heavy, and "On the Other Side", a very good live version), plus a new studio song, "Wheels", recorded by Livgren, Walsh and Ehart plus new violin player David Ragsdale in the early 90s. "Wheels" is a very good song, maybe a bit Rock Pop influenced. KANSAS also played this song without Livgren in the early 90s, and a live version of it appeared in their "Live at the Whisky" video from 1992.

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 Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado) by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
3.96 | 5 ratings

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Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado)
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to say that the first time that I listened to KANSAS's music I didn't like it very much. I also think that the very first of their albums to be released in my country was "Leftoverture" (1976). This album was played a lot by my brothers in the late seventies. So maybe I became a bit bored of that album. It took me until 1984, when I bought their live album "Two for the Show" (1978), to really like KANSAS's music and to be interested in listening to "Leftoverture" again and to some of their other albums.

I think that the song which first made KANSAS popular in muy country (Mexico) was "Carry On, Wayward Son", composed by Kerry Livgren. It is one of their most known songs. It reached the Number 11 in the U.S. Hit Parade charts, and it became a Hit Single in several countries. It is mainly a Hard Rock song which still is played in some FM Radio stations in my city. It also sounds very "American Rock" in musical style. A good heavy song with some Prog Rock influences.

"Questions of my Childhood", composed by Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh, is a more Prog Rock influenced song with some good violin and synthesiser melodies and more keyboards in comparison to "Carry On, Wayward Son". It is one of the best songs from their "Letoverture" album.

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 People Of The Southwind by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
2.17 | 4 ratings

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People Of The Southwind
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars By 1979, some changes started in KANSAS's music, with the main composers (Kerry Livgen and Steve Walsh) working each one apart in their respective songs, with Livgren still having the main Progressive Rock influences in the band, while Walsh was starting to compose more Pop Rock / Hard Rock songs for the band. I have to say that I don't like their "Monolith" (1979) album very much. In fact, I think that the best song from that album was "On the oher side", another "existential" song composed by Livgren. But maybe their record label wanted more Pop Rock / Hard Rock songs from the band to be released on singles, so even Livgren had to compose some songs to please the record label.

"People of the souht wind" , composed by Livgren, is that kind of song. It starts with very good violin and guitar riffs somewhat influenced by Prog Rock music, but after that, the song becomes a more Hard Rock / Pop Rock song with some Funky music influences. The song is good, but not so good for my taste. It didn't matter, anyway. The song reached the Number 23 in the U.S. Hit Parade charts.

"Stay out of trouble", a song composed by Steve Walsh, Rich Williams and Robby Steinhardt, and sung by Walsh and Steinhardt, is another Pop Rock song with some Hard Rock / Blues influences.

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 The Best of Kansas by KANSAS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1984
2.53 | 65 ratings

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The Best of Kansas
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There are two versions of this album. This, the first version, has some of their singles (with some of them being real Hit Singles) from the band, with their two main lead singers (Steve Walsh and John Elefante) plus two songs ("The Wall", "No One Together") that were not released as singles, and a new song (the very Pop Rock in music style, "Perfect Lover", which also was released as a single) recorded by the then three remaining members of KANSAS (John Elefante, Phil Ehart, Rich Williams) before they went their separate ways for a time in 1984 (with Ehart and Williams reforming the band in mid 1985 with Walsh, Steve Morse and Billy Greer). The other version of this album, which was released in 1999, was expanded with additional songs, and it is maybe better than this 1984 compilation album. That album didn't include "Perfect Lover" anymore, a song which maybe now is more like a "rare" track from the band.

In this original version of this album, from the "classic" line-up there are the next songs: "Carry on Wayward Son", "Point of know return", "Dust in the wind", "Song for America", "Hold on", "No one together " and "The wall". The rest of the songs ("Fight fire with fire", "Perfect lover" and "Play the game tonight" were from the line- ups with John Elefante. Ten songs for a "Best of " or a "Greatest Hits" compilation, which for the casual listener could have been a very good buy, but for the main fans maybe it was a bit "incomplete" compilation, despite the inclusion of several very known songs.

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 Hold On by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Hold On
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars KANSAS's "Audio Visions" album from 1980 was the "point of no return" for the band, because Kerry Livgren, their main composer, became a Christian, and his new found faith was reflected in the lyrics of his songs. This caused some frictions mainly with lead singer and keyboard player Steve Walsh, who after the tours for this album left the band in 1981. The Christian themes in the lyrics became more prevalent with the addition of a new lead singer and keyboard player called John Elefante, and with bassist Dave Hope also becoming a Christian, for their next album titled "Vinyl Confessions" (1982). Anyway, the music still was Progressive, and the band still played very well. I don't have any objections with the religious content of the lyrics, with it not being very "direct" for the listener.

"Hold On" was composed by Livgen apparently with his wife in mind, asking her to also become a Christian. This is a good song, with acoustic and electric guitars, a very good melody played with the violin and good backing keyboards. The song also has some Pop Rock influences, but it is good anyway. It reached the Number 40 in the Hit Parade charts in the U.S. It seems that some of their fans didn't have problems with Livgren's religious themes in his lyrics.

"Don't Open Your Eyes" is a song composed by Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Kerry Livgren, Phil Ehart and Dave Hope, more influenced by Pop Rock but with also some Prog Rock influences. Like other Prog Rock bands from the seventies KANSAS also was changing the sound of their music with some new influences from Pop Rock for the eighties. It also is a good song anyway.

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