Kansas (album)

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Song for America
Kansas studio album


March 8, 1974



Label (s) Kirshner, Epic

Format (s)


Genre (s)

Progressive rock

Title (number)


running time


  • Kerry Livgren
  • Robby Steinhardt
  • Rich Williams
  • Dave Hope
  • Phil Ehart


Wally gold

Studio (s)

Record Plant , New York City

- Song for America Song for America
Single releases
1974 Can I Tell You "/ The Pilgrimage
1975 Lonely Wind / Bringing It Back

Kansas is the music album # debut album by the American progressive rock band Kansas . It was released on March 8, 1974. In 2004 it was re-released remastered on CD and in 2014 another remastered version on vinyl LP followed .


The Kanas album was created after the merger of two musical groups from Topeka : Kerry Livgren from a previous line-up who occasionally appeared as Kansas from 1970 to 1971 , and White Clover , who played mainstream rock and blues . The newly formed group signed with Kirshner Records in 1973 and traveled to New York to record their first record.

The material for Kansas was written mainly by guitarist and keyboardist Livgren and singer and keyboardist Steve Walsh and consisted of a selected repertoire of both founding groups. Livgren's songs were generally longer and more elaborate than Walsh's and contained mystical text passages that reflected his intense interest in Eastern religions. The title Journey from Mariabronn was inspired by Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund , while Belexes and Aperçu were influenced by the pseudo-Asian sounds of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot .

The alum was promoted by Don Kirshner and advertised with print ads with the slogan Kansas is Koming (grammatically incorrect because Koming is spelled with C, Coming ). A 7-inch promotional single called Man the Stormcellars: Kansas is Koming! was sent to radio stations. Two other singles, Can I Tell You and Lonely Wind , were released but failed in the charts, although a live version of Lonely Wind from the double album Two for the Show even hit the top 100 in early 1979.

Cover design

Tragic Prelude by John Steuart Curry from 1937

The album cover shows the abolitionist John Brown in an excerpt from the 1937 monumental mural Tragic Prelude by Kansas-born John Steuart Curry (1897–1946), which is emblazoned on a wall in the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. Then John Brown admonished, with a long flowing beard, emerged from a crowd of warring Northerners and Confederates . In his hands he holds a rifle and an open book, the pages of which show the Greek letters Α and Ω, presumably the Bible. The picture on the album cover is more orange colored and trimmed, there is only a section from the center of the original painting.


In a contemporary review for the New Musical Express , Max Bell wrote that, Kansas, despite the use of all elements for subtlety, the album "... is bursting with hard rock everydayness, tempo and beat, but quickly erasing all references to originality," and with it exhibits a lack of personality that makes listening to the album a boring endeavor.

The retrospective of AllMusic rated the mixture of the album from progressive rock and boogie rock as unique, but notes that it therefore also something is less interesting than other progressive rock bands. In addition, she certifies Kansas an exaggerated ambition with: "... numerous scales and arpeggios , galloping triplets , dramatic organ passages and stately ballads that mean nothing and lead nowhere."

Tom Karr of ProgressiveWorld.net described the album as "... an outstanding debut, a brilliant display of songwriting and musicality, and a great statement of the musical ethos of Kansas." He thought that "the song Apercu, with its frequent rhythm - and tempo changes and the well-developed musical themes that Kansas shows as a group of outstanding musicians and arrangers. The level of their instrumental virtuosity shown here is breathtaking, and there were few groups on either side of the Atlantic who could even come close to Kansas in their craftsmanship. ” He defined the song Journey from Mariabronn as “ Kansas first full symphonic rock masterpiece that has so many strong elements and themes that it goes beyond simple analysis. This song provides the paradigm for the great works of the future and introduces the writing style that would produce the wonderful songs of early Kansas discography. "

The Kansas album sold over 135,000 copies in the months following its release in the spring of 1974 and peaked at number 174 on the Billboard album charts . The more successful later albums Leftoverture (1976) and Point of Know Return (1977) revived the commercial interest in the band's early production. The Kansas album had sold over 500,000 copies by 1995 and was awarded gold by the Recording Industry Association of America .

Track list

page 1

  1. Can I Tell You - 3:32
  2. Bringing It Back ( JJ Cale cover) - 3:33
  3. Lonely Wind - 4:16
  4. Belexes - 4:23
  5. Journey from Mariabronn - 7:55

Page 2

  1. # The Pilgrimage - 3:42
  2. Aperçu - 9:54
  3. Death of Mother Nature Suite - 7:43

CD 2004 bonus track

  1. # Bringing It Back (Live at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio, 1975) - 9:41




  • Wally Gold Production
  • Dan Turbeville - sound engineer
  • Kevin "Whip" Herron - sound assistant
  • Jimmy Iovine - sound assistant
  • Tom Rabstenek - audio mastering
  • Greg Calbi - audio mastering
  • Ed Lee - cover design
  • John Steuart Curry - painter of the cover picture
  • Don Hunstein - photos of the back cover
  • Jeff Glixman - Production of the Remastered Edition
  • Jeff Magid - Production of the Remastered Edition

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kansas (2) - Kansas. In: Discogs. Retrieved July 9, 2020 .
  2. Chris Chantler: The 10 best album sleeves taken from old paintings. In: LOUDER. January 2, 2016, accessed July 9, 2020 .
  3. ^ Max Bell: Kansas: Kansas . In: New Musical Express . April 26, 1975 ( rocksbackpages.com [accessed July 9, 2020] subject to charge).
  4. Stephen Thomas Erlewine: Kansas: Kansas - AllMusic Review. In: AllMusic. Retrieved July 9, 2020 .
  5. Tom Karr: Kansas - Kansas. In: ProgressiveWorld.net. May 2, 2004, accessed July 9, 2020 .
  6. Kathie Staska, George Mangrum: Kirshner Plans Big Anniversary Show . In: The Fremont Argus . March 28, 1975, p. 22 (English).
  7. ^ Mark Mehler: Success of Kansas Traced to Constant Touring, FM Airplay . In: 'Cashbox . January 14, 1978, p. 12 (English).
  8. Kanas. In: Gold & Platinum. Recording Industry Association of America, accessed July 8, 2020 .