Kansas - Leftoverture
On October 21, 1976, "Leftoverture", the fourth album in two years by the band "Kansas" was released.
We write quite a bit about the effects of one artist on another, the feedback that always exists between artists and bands with the pendulum shifting the dominance in the music market between England and the US over the years. Basically, the whole concept of our radio show - "Face/Off", of our Facebook page and our site, is built on this tension between old and new, between influential and influenced, and this album is one of the most prominent examples of this. An album that sits on the "crossroads" of influenced and influential. On one hand it sucks from British progressive rock with bands like "Genesis", "Gentle Giant", "Emerson Lake &" Palmer and "Camel" and on the other hand influence on bands that will emerge a decade or more later like "Dream Theater" which borrowed some of it's brilliant riffs from this album .
This album is probably the pinnacle of the band's work. The album that put "Kansas" on the map and moved it from the venues to stadiums. A masterpiece that moves between the magical and the formidable, between progressive and soft rock and from there to hard rock, and even in this case it's a kind of "crossroads".
On the one hand it has pure progressive tracks like the mighty and amazing "The Wall" which is one of the most beautiful tracks on the album and occasionally makes us flashbacks from our favorite bands "Genesis" and "Camel", "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" where you can hear the influences from Rick Wakeman and Gentle Giant, "Cheyenne Anthem" whom part of sounded to us like "ELP", the mini-work "Opus Insert" and of course "Magnum Opus" which is a six-part masterpiece consisting of short sections that were not perfected into songs, literally "Leftovers" as the name of The album.
On the other hand, this album has the rhythmic rock songs like "What's on My Mind", "Questions of My Childhood" and of course the masterpiece "Carry On Wayward Son", which was written by guitarist Kerry Livgren, just two days before the end of the recordings and hardly entered To the album.
It's the band's breakthrough song to international success and the song that actually saved the band, which after the commercial failure of the album "Masque" its future was not clear. In this context we will mention that the hit "Dust in the Wind" will only come on the next excellent album from 1977 - "Point of Know Return".
Singer and keyboardist Steve Walsh had writer block at the time, forcing Kerry Livgren to work harder to produce new material for the album, and indeed the talented Kerry was almost exclusively responsible for writing, with Walsh's assistance only in three of the album's eight tracks.
Although the song can be interpreted as dealing with religion, Kerry noted that at the time of writing he was not thinking about religious, but about self-search. Kerry felt a strong need to continue his self-search and by 1980 became an evangelical Christian. He saw himself as the same "rebellious son" who stars in the song and seeks a spiritual answer. The line "Surely heaven waits for you" towards the end of the song became "a self-fulfilling prophecy", as as mentioned Kerry saw the light when he became an evangelical Christian 4 years later.
The song actually continues from the same point where the previous album "Masque" ended. The last words in the song "The Pinnacle" were "I stood where no man goes Above the din I rose", where the word Din means "noise", "the commotion". While the first line in the first sentence of the song "Carry On Wayward Son" (after the a cappella) begins with the words "Once I rose above the noise and confusion", meaning in both cases it is a person who rose above the noise and commotion.
By the way, some claim that the opening riff of the song was borrowed from the song "I'm Gonna Leave You" by the band "Journey". To the skeptics among you, we will say that the song is taken from Jurney's album "Look into the Future" from 1975 and that the two bands were on a joint tour that year. Listen and judge for yourself:
In conclusion, this is an excellent album that does not have weak moments. There is a perfect balance here between progressive and basic rock, between complex and simple, between melodic and virtuoso, which allows progressive lovers and classical rock lovers to meet at the crossroads created by this album and enjoy it in perfect harmony.
On this occasion we mention that in July 2020 the band released the album "The Absence of Presence", the band's 16th album, and it is definitely a recommended album.
And now for the Israeli connection and to detail interesting trivia. The first album of "Kansas" from 1974 has a song called Aperçu after which the Israeli band "Aperco" was named, and we are of course eagerly awaiting the release of their second album.