Writer: Kerry Livgren
Producer: Jeff Glixman
Recorded: 1976, Studio on the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana
Released: November 1976 (album), January 1977 (single)
|Players:||Steve Walsh–keyboards, lead vocals
Robby Steinhardt–violin, viola, vocals
Kerry Livgren–guitar, keyboards
|Album:||Leftoverture (Kirshner, 1976)|
“Carry On Wayward Son” was Kansas’ first top 40 hit. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 on Christmas Day in 1976, it peaked at Number 11.
Guitarist-keyboardist and songwriter Kerry Livgren remembers, “We’d put out a few and had just given up on singles. Sure as s**t, as soon as we stopped trying…we got it!”
Leftoverture peaked at Number Five on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over three million copies.
Of Leftoverture, guitarist Rich Williams says, “We’d been playing for eight solid months, touring by the seat of our pants. We had no credit cards, no money…we just put everything out of our minds and worked on pleasing ourselves as best we could. Our taste and the audience’s had matured into being the same. It was the greatest feeling.”
Kansas had its biggest hit a year later with “Dust In The Wind.”
Kansas formed in Topeka in 1970 and named itself for its home state. The group likes to point out that Chicago–usually credited with being the first band to use a geographic moniker–was still called Chicago Transit Authority at the time.
Originally known as White Clover, the group changed monikers after Livgren joined.
For most of its career, the band was on Don Kirshner’s label Kirshner, which was distributed by CBS.
Drummer Phil Ehart–who put the band together–was the only group member without a mustache or beard. Most visually notable were violinist Robby Steinhardt’s long, wavy brown hair and bushy beard and Livgren’s totally straight, pale blond hair and mustache.