Kansas Only Had 1 Top 10 Hit Song, And It Wasn’t Even Close to No. 1

<p>Kansas fans may find it hard to believe the band never had a number one hit song, despite releasing catchy tunes that would<a href=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-voice-where-did-girl-named-tom-get-their-name.html/”> still play on the radio decades later.</a> The progressive rock band is best known for their hit single “Carry On Wayward Son,” but even this classic song didn’t crack the Top 10. Instead, it was another track by Kansas that reached number six on <a href=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/music/”>music</a> charts and became the band’s highest-charting song. </p>

<h2 id=”h-dust-in-the-wind-by-kansas-landed-the-number-six-spot-in-1978″>‘Dust in the Wind’ by Kansas landed the number six spot in 1978</h2>

<figure class=”wp-block-image size-full”><img decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”1200″ height=”800″ src=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?strip=all&quality=95″ alt=”The band Kansas performs onstage” class=”wp-image-3428915″ srcset=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg 1200w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?w=150&h=100 150w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?w=640&h=427 640w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?w=768&h=512 768w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?w=1024&h=683 1024w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Kansas.jpg?w=90&h=60 90w” sizes=”(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px”><figcaption class=”wp-element-caption”>Musicians Rich Williams, Tom Brislin, Billy Greer, Phil Ehart, David Ragsdale and Ronnie Platt of the classic rock band Kansas perform onstage in 2022 I Scott Dudelson/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>

<p>Released in 1978, “Dust in the Wind” peaked at number six on the <a href=”https://www.billboard.com/artist/kansas/”>Billboard Hot 100</a> chart, remaining on the list for 20 weeks. Its success stunned band members, including the song’s writer Kerry Livgren. During a 1992 radio interview on “<a href=”https://web.archive.org/web/20041228111915/http://www.potsw.org/InTheStudio-POKR.html”>In The Studio,”</a> Livgren expressed his surprise that many people identified with such a<strong> </strong>“dismal song.” </p>

<p>Kansas guitarist Rich Williams reflected on the “Dust in the Wind’s” success on its 35th anniversary, calling it “a fluke.” Talking to <a href=”https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/kansas-williams-dust-in-the-wind-success-was-an-absolute-fluke-504506/”>Billboard.com</a>, Williams recalled wondering how the song would be received, saying, “We were always outside of the box, but this was outside of the box for us. What’s funny is that, in retrospect, we took a lot of heat for ‘selling out.’ What about ‘Dust in the Wind’ was mimicking anything to do with the mainstream? That was an absolute fluke that it was a hit. We had no idea it was going to be talked about 35 years later. It was only a hit because it…was a great song. Even a blind pig finds a truffle once in awhile.”</p>

<p> Not all of the members of Kansas felt that way, though. Just a year after releasing “Dust in the Wind,” singer<strong> </strong>Steve Walsh told <a href=”https://tennessean.newspapers.com/image/111666750/?terms=steve%20walsh&match=4″>The Tennessean</a>,<strong> </strong>“I thought [‘Dust in the Wind’] would be a hit from the very first. It [defies] the basic formulas — the Boston, Foreigner, Heart formula — that most [rock] groups try to follow. They don’t realize it’s not the formula [that matters], it’s the song.”</p>

<h2 id=”h-kerry-livgren-wrote-lyrics-inspired-by-american-indian-poetry”>Kerry Livgren wrote lyrics inspired by American Indian poetry</h2>

<figure class=”wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-4-3 wp-has-aspect-ratio”><div class=”wp-block-embed__wrapper”>
<div class=”jetpack-video-wrapper”><iframe loading=”lazy” title=”Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)” width=”925″ height=”694″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tH2w6Oxx0kQ?feature=oembed” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

<p>Livgren came up with the concept for “Dust in the Wind” while reading some poetry. While talking to the host of <em><a href=”https://www.inthestudio.net/online-on-demand/kansas-point-of-know-return/”>In The Studio</a></em>, the musician recalled the moment inspiration for the lyrics hit him. </p>

<p>“I was reading a book on American Indian poetry one day, and I came across that line – this American Indian said, ‘for all we are is dust in the wind.’ And I thought, well, you know, that’s really true. Here I got all this success — I’ve got material possessions — I’ve got a goal in my life that had been accomplished at that point, but I’m going back into the ground — and what does this really mean in light of that? And that’s really kind of the message of that song, but the amazing thing was that so many people identified with that.”</p>

<p>That was only the beginning, though. An unplanned encounter with his wife while Livgren practiced using an acoustic guitar helped bring the rest of the pieces together. </p>

<h2 id=”h-kerry-livgren-s-wife-overheard-a-pretty-thing-that-became-kanas-hit-song-dust-in-the-wind”>Kerry Livgren’s wife overheard a ‘pretty thing’ that became Kanas hit song ‘Dust in the Wind’</h2>

<figure class=”wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio”><div class=”wp-block-embed__wrapper”>
<div class=”jetpack-video-wrapper”><iframe loading=”lazy” title=”Kansas – We Knew It Was Going to Be a Hit (Digital Video)” width=”925″ height=”520″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/OcjGqrNamP4?feature=oembed” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

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<p>As an avid electric guitar player, Livgren decided to give the acoustic guitar a shot and “expand my musical horizons.” He made up an exercise to help him learn to fingerpick, which his wife happened to overhear him practice one day. According to his radio interview, she wouldn’t let up on the “pretty thing” she heard him play, ultimately leading him to write “Dust in the Wind.”</p>

<p>“I was sitting in my music room, playing this thing,” Livgren said on<em> In The Studio</em>. “And my wife walked by — and she stood there and listened for a second, and she goes, ‘Boy, that’s really pretty — you should make words with that.’ I said, ‘No, honey — this is just — I’m just trying to learn how to – how to do this.’ She goes, ‘No, no — that’s really nice- – don’t forget that now.’ And she kept bugging me about this ‘pretty thing,’ you know. She really seemed to latch onto it, so I made it into a song.” </p>

<p>Between 1977 and 1987, Kansas had 14 top songs on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The band’s other well-known hit song, “Carry On Wayward Son,” wasn’t too far behind “Dust in the Wind,” landing the number 11 spot in 1977. “All I Wanted” and “People Of The South Wind” were also top 25 hits.</p>

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