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Kansas

Kansas

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:Rock & Roll  
Country  USA
Years active1970-
Kansas is a 1970s American rock and roll band, specializing in prog rock with a distinctly American flavor. In spite of a harsh critical reception then and now, Kansas has remained a classic rock radio staple. Band founders Kerry Livgren (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Dave Hope (bass), Phil Ehart (drums) and Robby Steinhardt (violin) had initially formed a group called White Clover. Upon the arrival of Steve Walsh (keyboards) and Rich Williams (guitar), the band's name was changed to Kansas and the group soon won a record deal with Don Kirshner's eponymous label.

A somewhat successful debut album, Kansas, was released in 1974, and showcased Kansas' signature mix of guitars, keyboards, vocals, and Steinhardt's ever-present violin submerging American-style boogie-rock in complex arrangements and changing time signatures. Relentless promotion by Kirshner and touring behind the debut album and its two followups slowly brought Kansas' name to households across America. By the time the band's fourth album, Leftoverture (1976) was released, Kansas was popular enough for the album to be a smash hit and a constant presence on the burgeoning AOR radio format, as was the followup Point of Know Return (1977).

After a few more albums, Kansas began to fall apart in the early 1980s. Hope and Livgren became born-again Christians and Walsh formed a new band, replaced by John Elefante. In spite of a successful 1982 album called Vinyl Confessions, the group split in 1983, only to reform in 1986 with the album Power. The 1990s saw a string of barely noticed releases, and Kansas has continued to tour sporadically, but the band has never been able to regain any mass popularity or critical notice.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, a list of approximately 150 songs circulated on the Internet, purported to be from radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications to its subsidiaries, with the recommendation that these songs be pulled from airplay (it was later revealed that the list was originally the work of a few specific station program directors, was not an official Clear Channel missive, and changed over time as it was redistributed). The band's song "Dust in the Wind" was on the list.