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Music: Kansas

"Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
"
Kansas, "Carry On Wayward Son"

Kansas is an American Progressive Rock band from Topeka, Kansas. The band formed in 1973 and still tours in North America and Europe, though the lineup has changed over the years. They debuted with a Self-Titled Album in 1974 and have since become quite popular, becoming a staple on classic rock radio and having their songs played in movies and TV shows.

Supernatural and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy fans most likely recognize them as the creators of "Carry On Wayward Son", which is easily one of their most popular songs along with "Point of Know Return" and "Dust in the Wind" (all three of which may be priced slightly higher on digital distribution channels).

Kansas provides examples of:

  • Christian Rock: Some of the members became born-again Christians in the early '80s and the music from then on reflects it.
  • Cut Song: "Perfect Lover" was cut from later releases of The Best of Kansas.
  • Eagleland: The title "Song for America" suggests Flavor 1, but the lyrics are full-on Flavor 2 at times:
    Ravage, plunder, see no wonder, rape and kill and tear asunder/Chop the forests, plow it under...
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Expect this at least Once An Album. An example is the organ solo at the beginning of "Away from You".
  • Epic Rocking: As expected from a prog-rock band. Examples include the fittingly titled "Magnum Opus," as well as "Song for America", "Journey from Mariabronn", and, last and longest, "Incomudro—Hymn To The Atman".
  • Fun with Homophones: "Point of Know Return", There's Know Place like Home.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The final verse of "Death of Mother Nature Suite"; pollution is the side effect of all of man's wondrous advances in technology. The last two lines (as sung by Robby) are "The ignorance of man will reach an end/And now she's gonna die", the last line being the same line that ends the first two verses. However, if the lyrics as printed in the album are Word of God, then Kerry Livgren originally ended the verse with "Cause now we're gonna die".
  • Grief Song: The moody acoustic guitars and lyrics waxing about the inevitability of death certainly make "Dust in the Wind" this. Subverted by the fact that one of the guitarists had simply come up with a fingerpicking exercise on his guitar, his wife complimented him on the melody and asked what the lyrics were, and the guitarist wrote up some lyrics to fit the tune. Nobody's grandmother or puppy died in the making of this song.
    Kerry Livgren: I thank God that it became so popular, but it was just a fingerpicking exercise.
  • Hard Rock: When they aren't playing Progressive Rock or symphonic rock music.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Magnum Opus" is over 8 minutes, with just this one verse surrounded by instrumental work:
    This foolish game, is still the same
    The notes go flying off in the air
    And don't you believe it's true,
    The music is all for you
    It's really all we've got to share
    Cause rocking and rolling,
    It's only howling at the Moon.
    It's only howling at the Moon.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: A box set with multiple discs (and much more music) has been released (though it's also available via digital distribution such as iTunes and Google Play Music).
  • Long Runner: About to hit the 40th anniversary of their first album, and they still play songs from it.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Carry On Wayward Son".
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Ranges from 1 ("Dust in the Wind") to 5 ("Carry On Wayward Son", "Portrait (He Knew)") with even a few 6's ("Lightning's Hand" comes to mind).
  • New Sound Album: Inverted. For some time the violin was absent, so its return resulted in a return to the band's old style.
  • Not Christian Rock: Some of Kerry Livgren's work before his spiritual rebirth follow this, most notably "Incomudro—Hymn to the Atman" from Song for America.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Present in every song on the symphonic rock albums Works in Progress and Always Never the Same. Very prevalent in "The Wall" on the former and "Miracles out of Nowhere" on the latter (not counting the non-rock sections, such as the preamble to "Song for America" or the orchestral, instrumental medley of Kansas songs), with both originally violin-heavy songs having even more violin usage plus other classical instruments.
  • Power Ballad: "Dust in the Wind".
    • "Cheyenne Anthem" as well.
    • A couple others that made the charts are "Hold On" and "Play the Game Tonight".
  • Progressive Rock: One of the more mainstream examples in North America.
  • Refrain from Assuming: Despite the lyrics, the title of "Carry On Wayward Son" does not have the word "my" in it.
  • Sequel Song: "Carry On Wayward Son" was written as one to "The Pinnacle".
  • Single Stanza Song: "Can I Tell You", gutsily released as their first single and the first song on their first album.
  • Something Completely Different: "Works in Progress" and "Always Never the Same" are much, much more symphonic than most of their work. (Normally, their style limits it to a few instruments not associated with non-progressive rock such as a violin, saxophone, or flute.)
  • Uncommon Time: Many of their songs, notably "Point of Know Return" and "Miracles out of Nowhere".
  • Updated Re-release: Some of their albums have been remastered over the years. Although The Best of Kansas cut "Perfect Lover", later releases added a bit more in return.
    • Rereleases of their live album Two for the Show have added almost twice the songs to the album.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Happens on most of their albums. Steve Walsh has sung the majority of the band's output (including all of the hits when he was a member of the band), but Robby Steinhardt has had a role in many of their other well-known songs, such as "Down the Road" and "Miracles out of Nowhere".
  • Weird Moon: The man on the front of the cover of Monolith has an enormous moon in the sky behind him.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The name of the song "Point of Know Return" and the album There's Know Place like Home intentionally misspell "no".

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