The Real Story Behind Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son”
via KANSAS / Youtube
When Kansas reached the stage of working on their fourth album, Leftoverture, their lead singer Steve Walsh, who also served as the main songwriter alongside guitarist-keyboardist Kerry Livgren, was facing a creative block. To initiate the progress of the album, Livgren stepped up and assumed greater responsibility in the songwriting process, composing a song each night.
Livgren said in 2004:
“Back then, I wrote maybe 70 percent of each album, with Steve Walsh supplying the rest.
“And on the very first day of rehearsals, Steve came to me and said that he had nothing—not a single song. I don’t relish that kind of pressure, but with hindsight, it really brought out the best in me.”
Just two days before the band was going to record their album “Leftoverture,” Livgren had one more song to share called “Carry on Wayward Son.” When it was released, “Carry On Wayward Son” became the band’s first huge success, propelling them to stardom.
The song’s blend of progressive and hard rock, introspective lyrics, and intricate instrumentation resonated with audiences, propelling Kansas into the mainstream. “Carry On Wayward Son” remains a timeless rock anthem and showcases the band’s ability to overcome challenges and leave a lasting impact on the music industry.
The song’s popularity also helped the band establish a dedicated fan base that has remained loyal throughout the years.
Over four decades later, “Carry On Wayward Son” continues to be a staple in Kansas’ live performances and has become a classic rock staple on radio stations worldwide. Its enduring appeal showcases the timeless quality of the band’s music and their lasting impact on the rock genre.
A Turning Point
The success of “Carry On Wayward Son” not only solidified Kerry Livgren’s role as a prominent songwriter in the band but also highlighted the collaborative nature of Kansas’ music-making process. The creative block faced by Steve Walsh during the production of Leftoverture ultimately led to a breakthrough moment for Livgren and the band as a whole.
This pivotal period in their career demonstrated the band’s ability to adapt and thrive in the face of challenges, laying the foundation for their continued success in the years to come.