Kansas' self-titled debut LP appeared in 1974; while only mildly successful, the group toured behind it tirelessly, and their fan base grew to the point that their third effort, 1975's Masque, sold a quarter of a million copies. In 1976, Leftoverture truly catapulted Kansas to stardom. On the strength of the smash hit "Carry on Wayward Son," the album reached the Top Five and sold over three million copies. Released in 1977, Point of Know Return was even more successful, spawning the monster hit "Dust in the Wind." While the 1978 live LP Two for the Show struggled to break the Top 40, its studio follow-up, Monolith, the band's first self-produced effort, reached the Top Ten. That same year, Walsh
issued a solo record, Schemer-Dreamer.
In the wake of 1980's Audio-Visions, Kansas began to splinter; both Hope and Livgren
became born-again Christians, the latter issuing the solo venture Seeds of Change, and their newfound spirituality caused divisions within the band's ranks. Walsh
soon quit to form a new band, Streets
; the remaining members forged on without him, tapping vocalist John Elefante
as his replacement. The first Kansas LP without Walsh
, 1982's Vinyl Confessions, launched the hit "Play the Game Tonight," but after only one more album, 1983's Drastic Measures, they disbanded.
In 1986, however, Kansas re-formed around Ehart, Williams
, and Walsh
; adding the famed guitarist Steve Morse
as well as bassist Billy Greer, the refurbished band debuted with the album Power, scoring a Top 20 hit with "All I Wanted." When the follow-up, 1988's In the Spirit of Things, failed to hit, seven years passed before the release of their next effort, Freaks of Nature. The London Symphony
-assisted Always Never the Same followed in 1998, and in 2000 Kansas issued Somewhere to Elsewhere, their 14th studio album, which saw the return of founder singer/songwriter Kerry Livgren
. The next decade found Kansas continuing to tour heavily and release compilations and live albums, culminating in their 2014 induction into the Kansas Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, which coincided with the group's 40th anniversary. Miracles Out of Nowhere, a DVD/CD career retrospective, followed in early 2015. After signing with Century Media
label, Kansas released The Prelude Implicit in 2016. Their 15th studio effort overall, the prog-heavy LP also marked the band's first new album in 16 years. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi