Top 10 Kansas Songs

Kansas Songs

Photo: By DanielleCannova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Kansas Songs lists takes a look at a band that had tremendous success in the mid 1970’s on a mass cultural level. Kansas were one of the few rock bands in classic rock history that enjoyed commercial airplay while still maintaining its progressive rock edge and respect of its sophisticated hardcore fans. That commercial success was due to AM and FM radio’s acceptance of one of the most intensely performed and well written progressive rock songs of all time. “Carry On My Wayward Son,”  was an outlier in classic rock history. Most songs that heavy don’t become huge pop hits. Of course, it had been done before. Yes had a huge hit with “Roundabout,” Foghat with “Slow Ride,” Edgar Winter with “Frankenstein,”  and above all Led Zeppelin with “Stairway To Heaven.” Nonetheless, there was a difference between AM and FM hits. Heavy rock usually did not transcend well on AM radio. The song “Carry On Wayward Son,” was so strong, it crossed all formats.

The band followed up the song “Carry On Wayward Son,” with the Point of Know Return album that further continued their success. The album’s first single “Point of Know Return,” was a hit, but it was the release of the album’s second single “Dust in the Wind,” that further cemented the band’s golden touch for commercial success juxtaposed against well written songs of quality and substance.

The band was never able to follow-up on the commercial success that the Leftoverture and Point of Know Return albums garnished them. The band also went through personal changes over the years just like any other long lasting classic rock band. The most notable addition to the band was the addition of Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse. Even though commercial success faded away, the band still continued to release quality albums. From the band’s debut album in entitled Kansas in 1974, to their most recent recording The Prelude Implicit  in 2016, the band Kansas released fifteen studio albums, seven live albums, and nine compilation albums.

This Top 10 Kansas songs list is an attempt to list some of their biggest hits and most loved songs. Of course its subjective, but it’s also designed to tum people on to the band who may not be familiar with the group’s catalog.

# 10 – Dust In The Wind

Starting out our Top 10 Kansas songs list is one of the band’s biggest hits. The song’s huge commercial success in 1978 is the reason why we have included the song on our top 10 Kansas songs list. “Dust in the Wind,” is the band’s only top 10 hit. It was released on the Point of Know Return album.

# 9 – Silhouettes In Disguise

In 1986, Steve Morse joined the band Kansas. The legendary guitarist for the Dixie Dregs would also later join the band Deep Purple in the 1990s. However, the result of Steve Morse joining Kansas was a less progressive-sounding band. Nonetheless, Steve Morse’s brilliant and exciting guitar playing made for a great rock record that sounds better 30 years later than it did upon it’s first release.

# 8 – I Can Fly

You might not have heard of this great Kansas song in 1995 because bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were getting all the press and airplay at the time during the grunge era. However, Kansas released a great rock album in 1995 that deserves to get mentioned hear. If you have not heard Freaks of Nature, it’s a great listen especially when you realize what was happening in the music business at that point in time. “I Can Fly,” was one of the ultimate progressive rock songs of the 1990s.

# 7 – Song For America

“Song for America,” was quintessential Kansas. The title pretty much sums it all up. Simply stunning music that is timeless. The album was released in 1975. One can hear in the music the potential that was about to be released two years later on the Leftoverture  album.

# 6 – Reason To Be

“Reason to Be,” was a heartwarming beautiful song by Kansas that never gained the popularity it deserved. The song was released on the band’s Monolith album. The record was released in 1979.

# 5 – Miracles Out Of Nowhere

We could have easily composed a top 10 Kansas songs list with just tracks from their masterpiece of an album Leftoverture . Every track on the album was brilliantly written, produced and performed. The album still sounds as exciting today as it did forty years ago. The Leftoverture album featured Steve Walsh on lead and backing vocals plus keyboards, Kerry Livgren on lead and rhythm guitars and keyboards, Robby Steinhardt on violin, lead and backing vocals, Rich Williams on lead and rhythm guitars, Dave Hope on bass guitar and Phil Ehart on drums.

The Leftoverture album hit number five on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. It was their highest charting album at the time only to be eclipsed the following year by Point Of No Return which peaked at number four. Still, Leftoverture remains their biggest selling album of the band’s career selling over five million copies in the United States alone.

# 4 – Point Of Know Return

One can hear the band’s search to continue its commercial success on the opening track to the band’s album Point of Know Return. It’s a great track that at the time, crossed the line between commercialism and substance. Nonetheless, the song was popular and its role as the follow-up to “Carry On Wayward Son,” is significant enough to warrant it a top spot on our top 10 Kansas songs list.

# 3 – Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel)

The great track” Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel),” was released on the band’s Masque album. The record was released in 1975. It was the band’s third album in two years. The band on the second album featured Steve Walsh on lead and backing vocals plus keyboards, Kerry Livgren on lead and rhythm guitars and keyboards, Robby Steinhardt on violin, lead and backing vocals, Rich Williams on lead and rhythm guitars, Dave Hope on bass guitar and Phil Ehart on drums.

# 2 – Carry On Wayward Son

The opening track of the band’s mighty Leftoverture album. Easily the band’s signature song. It was written by Kerry Livgren. The song just missed the Billboard top 10 as it peaked at number eleven. It was the song that turned most rock fans onto the band. It still continues to do so. Everything about this song just screams classic! The songs opening guitar lick that resonates all throughout the track is one of the most legendary guitar licks in classic rock history. The vocals on this are out of this world.

# 1 – The Wall

It was really tough to pick any other Kansas song besides “Carry On Wayward Son,” to land in the number one spot on a top 10 Kansas songs list. The popularity of the song goes beyond the band Kansas. It was a decade-defining rock song. That all being said, we simply like the album’s “The Wall,” song better. That’s why these lists are subjective and that’s why we have fun doing them.

 

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