Year 2013 celebrated the 40th anniversary of Kansas, the most influential progressive rock bands to have emerged in the past four decades. As the band hit different cities on their 2013 tour, fans bought Kansas tickets to catch the original band members live on stage. Marking the reunion of all the six legendary musicians of Kansas for the first time in thirty years, the event was one that fans will remember for years to come.
Active since 70s, Kansas is an American band whose music falls in the genres of progressive and hard rock. Formed in 1970 in Topeka, the band first started playing as a trio consisting of Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope, and Phil Ehart- the founders of the band. In 1971, with the arrival of violinist Robbie Steinhardt, the name of the band was changed to White Clover. Next year, two new members, guitarist Richard Williams and keyboardist/vocalist Steve Walsh joined the band and the Kansas moniker was adopted again.
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The early years of the band’s formation were spent in relentless touring which earned them enough recognition and the band signed their first contract with Kirshner label. Kansas’s first release on Kirshner label came out in 1974. It was a self-titled album which was recorded in New York. The album remained quite successful in establishing the signature sound of the band which was a complex mix of American boogie rock and British progressive rock. However, the band’s most distinctive sound was that of heartland rock added by the violinist Steinhardt.
With the help of Kirshner’s promotion and the extensive tours of their debut album, the band faced no difficulties in developing a nationwide cult following. Next year, in 1975, the band released two albums, "Song for America" and "Masque."In 1976, the band released "Leftoverture," their fourth album whose hit single was "Carry On Wayward Son." Reaching on #5 on Billboard, this album is regarded as the band’s first major breakthrough. In 2001, the album was certified five times platinum.
A year later, their fifth album, "Point of Know Return" hit the stores. This album peaked higher than the last one, landing at #4. The two hit singles of the album included "Dust in the Wind" and the title track. Both fourth and fifth album of Kansas sold more than four million copies each. "Monolith," the follow-up of "Point of Know Return" came out in 1979. This sixth studio album of Kansas was self-produced with its single "People of the South Wind" landing among the Top 40. Although this album wasn’t as successful as the last two albums, it was certified platinum.
The period from 1974-1979 is regarded as the golden era of Kansas. It was during this time period that the band rose to national prominence becoming a major headlining act in the country. The band also did a number of sold out concerts at venues like Madison Square Garden. To document this era, the band released a live album named "Two for the Show" in which most of the recordings are of their live performances from the tours of1977 and 1978. It was during this same period that the band was named Ambassadors of Goodwill by UNICEF.
In the early 80s, the tensions started to arise among the group which eventually led to the change in their original line-up. The first album to come out in this period was "Audio-Visions" which produced a Top 40 single "Hold On" and was certified gold. Creative differences started to surface among the group due to the new direction that their lyrics were taking. Soon, Walsh left the band and was replaced by vocalist, John Elefante. With Elefante, the first album of Kansas was "Vinyl Confessions" which managed to gather new audience with its new Christianity-based lyrics.
In the following years, the line-up was changed a dozen more times resulting in their next eight albums. Their last studio album "Somewhere to Elsewhere" came out in 2000. The band started its "Collegiate Symphony Tour" in 2011 and next year they kicked off their "Fall 2012 Tour." To mark their 40th Anniversary, the band announced a number of concerts in 2013 which fans attended by getting some cheap Kansas tickets .