Rich Williams recalled how Kansas responded with an “Oh, crap!” when Kerry Livgren presented his new song “Carry On Wayward Son.”
It’s become the band’s signature track, but back in 1976, as it prepared to record its fourth album, Leftoverture, the members just didn’t want to learn any more music, as guitarist Williams told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“We were going to start packing up and head down to Bogalusa, [La.,] where we’d been recording,” he said. “And Kerry, the last day, goes, ‘I’ve got another song.’ ‘Oh, crap!’ We really didn’t want to learn anything else. So he starts playing. ‘Whoa! This has got some promise to it!’ So we learned – just barely learned – it and then we went on to the studio.”
When the moment came, the band realized, ‘Well, we better get on that other song now,” Williams said. “So I would imagine that the version of the backing track on the album is probably the first time we got it right. We were learning it as we went, really!”
Listen to Kansas’ ‘Carry On Wayward Son’
“Carry On Wayward Son” reached No.11 on the singles chart and helped Leftoverture reach No.5 in the albums chart. It remains the band’s biggest-selling LP, having been certified five times platinum in the U.S.
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