Daily Archives: April 18, 2010

SUNDAY NIGHT MUSIC BYTE

Kansas is an American rock band which became popular in the 1970s, with hit singles such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”. They have remained a classic rock radio staple and a popular touring act in North America and Europe.

The debut album, Kansas (#174), which was released in March 1974, showcased Kansas’ signature mix of guitars, keyboards, vocals, and Steinhardt’s violin style, which merged American-style boogie-rock with complex, symphonic arrangements and changing time signatures. Their sound bore the marks of late-1960s, early 1970s progressive rock, such as Genesis and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Promotion by Don Kirshner and touring behind the debut album and its two follow ups, Song for America (#57) and Masque (#70), increased awareness of Kansas.

On the strength of their 1977 hit single “Carry On Wayward Son” (#11) the band’s fourth album, Leftoverture (#5), released in October 1976, on which Steinhardt added viola and Walsh added vibraphone to their work, was a hit which garnered a lot of airplay on the burgeoning AOR radio format. “Carry On Wayward Son” was the closing song to the 1977 movie Heroes, featuring Henry Winkler and Sally Field. The follow up Point of Know Return (#4), released in October 1977, featured the title track (#28) and “Dust in the Wind” (#6), both hit singles.

Both albums had unique album covers, with Point of Know Return depicting a ship teetering over the edge of the world. Both albums have sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone. Both “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind” were certified Gold singles, selling over one million units each.

During this period, Kansas became a major headlining act for several years, selling out the largest venues available to rock bands at the time (e.g., New York City’s Madison Square Garden). The band documented this era with its first live recording, 1978’s double live album Two For The Show, a snapshot of various performances from the 1977 and 1978 tours supporting Point Of Know Return. The band gained a solid reputation for faithful live reproduction of complex studio albums without the aid of additional musicians or MIDI sequencing computers.

Kansas self-produced their follow-up to Point Of Know Return. The 1979 album Monolith (#10) featured lyrics influenced by The Urantia Book and Native American themes. “Kansas” itself is a toponym derived from the Kansa tribe, whose name is widely believed to mean “People Of The South Wind.” The starkly expressive album cover depicts Plains Indians in traditional dress and space suit helmets living in a settlement under the ruins of highway overpasses. While the album produced a Top 40 single in “People of the South Wind” (#23), both the band and the label were disappointed in Monolith’s failure to produce sales or radio airplay close to its two predecessors. Nevertheless, the album went Platinum and the Platinum record hangs in the Kansas State Historical Society.

Kansas’ band members began to drift apart in the early 1980s. Kerry Livgren became a born-again Christian, and this was reflected in his lyrics on the next three albums, beginning with Audio-Visions (#26), and especially on the Top 40 single (“Hold On”) released from that album. Dave Hope soon converted to Christianity as well. Walsh left in October 1981 to form a new band, Streets. In early 1982 Walsh was replaced by vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist John Elefante, also a born-again Christian, who along with his brother Dino, later became known for producing albums for Christian rock bands including Sweet Comfort Band, Petra, Bride, Rick Cua, and Guardian.

Please enjoy this video clip of Kansas performing “Carry On Wayward Son” in 1976…


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Sunday Morning Coffee (or Tea) – 33

Just a few noteworthy news satelites that have been careening around the blogosphere this week.

BREAKING NEWS:  This week’s episode of “Rush To Judgment” features conservative radio comedian Rush Limbaugh. He blamed the labor union for failing to fight for protections for the 29 miners that were killed when Massey Energy’s mine in Montcoal, WV exploded under unsafe conditions. That mine’s owners had been sited for some 50 safety violations during the month prior to the tragedy. Limbaugh said,

Was there no union responsibility for improving mine safety? Where was the union here? Where was the union? The union is generally holding these companies up demanding all kinds of safety. Why were these miners continuing to work in what apparently was an unsafe atmosphere?

Umm, Rush, this was a non-union mine. When the employees tried to unionize, they were threatened with losing their jobs! But don’t let the facts get in the way. Limbaugh also announced that more than 30,000 people attended the Tea-Party rally on Boston Common when no other estimates exceeded 5000.

THIS JUST IN:  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced this week that it will penalize large national banks that do not lower credit card interest rates for consumers. The Washington Post reports, “State Treasurer Timothy Cahill said the state has removed Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo from a list of institutions approved for new state investments. Massachusetts, which is the only state to make such a move, is also beginning to divest $243 million in funds held at those banks, though the process could take up to six months.” Massachusetts’ action, “has reignited advocacy groups that support creating a national usury law after a 1978 Supreme Court decision found that interest rate caps could apply only to state-chartered lenders. As a result, many banks moved their headquarters to states with looser usury laws, such as Delaware, allowing them to bypass limits set in other states.” Massachusetts law caps interest rates at 18 percent. “Last week, state officials met with officials from Bank of America, where Massachusetts has $231 million in investments, to request that it meet that cap for state residents. When the bank declined, Cahill said, his office decided it would shift the funds into other accounts. Massachusetts also has $9 million invested with Citi and $3 million with Wells Fargo.” Good for you, Massachusetts.

BREAKING NEWS:  This week’s edition of “They’re So Crazy They’re Dangerous” features the Oklahoma Tea Party leaders who are petitioning state legislators to create, “a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.” You read that correctly, the Tea-Baggers want to legally arm themselves to fight a war against the United States’ Military. I thought the Tea-Baggers honored the troops. Guess not. Who knew?

THIS JUST IN:  Mediamatters.org reports, “A New York Times poll has revealed that a majority of ‘Tea Party supporters’ named Fox News as the television network they ‘watch most for information about politics and current events.’ It should come as little surprise then that the tea party supporters polled also held positions that reflect misinformation pushed by Fox News on a variety of topics including socialism and the federal budget deficit.”

BREAKING NEWS:  This week’s edition of “It Is Great To Be Patriotic” features Republican Senator, moonbat crazy Michele Bachmann (Turner Overdrive), who said on a radio talk show this week, “We’re, we’re, we’re hoping that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed.”

THIS JUST IN: This week’s edition of “He Must Have Forgotten To Take His Medication” features Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch who surprisingly demanded that television host Sean Hannity return immediately from a planned appearance on behalf of the Tea-Party because Fox News should not be supporting the movement. Murdoch said, “I don’t think we should be supporting the Tea Party or any other party.” Well then, what will they have left to talk about? Our guess is that Fox may finally have realized that the Tea-Party support may reflect badly on the network’s ratings.

BREAKING NEWS:  This week’s edition of “I Simply Cannot Stop Lying” features Fox News host Bill O”Reilly. He denied Republican Senator Tom Coburn’s charge that Fox News hosts have suggested that citizens could be thrown in jail if they do not buy health insurance after passage of the new health reform law. Let’s check the video…

Please click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with the song parody.

The Who’s Baba O’Reilly (Teenage Wasteland) song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ik_K3s7B2A

BLAH, BLAH O’REILLY

(sung to The Who song “Baba O’Reilly [Teenage Wasteand])

Out here on the air
Unbalanced, not fair
I earn my pay with all my fibbing
My show really bites
Just watch tonight
I’ll be on your television

Don’t cry
Don’t hide your eyes
It’s only Bill-O’s Wasteland

Coulter, take my hand
We’re in Fox News Land
We all are liars
“Pinheads” on our shoulders
The Exorcist is here
He’ll drive out all the queers
Dressed all in leather
They could not get much bolder

Bill-O’s Wasteland
It’s only Bill-O’s Wasteland
Bill-O’s Wasteland
It’s only Bill-O’s Wasteland
They’re all wasted

(classic Who musical harmonica fade-out)