Q: Forty-three years ago this week, the rock group Kansas released the hit single "Carry on Wayward Son." The song, from the band's Leftoverture album, was released in 1976 and has become one of the most-played songs on Classic Rock radio stations. Who wrote it?
A: Kerry Livgren
Topeka native Kerry Allen Livgren is an American musician and songwriter, best known as one of the founding members -- and primary songwriters -- for the progressive rock band Kansas! "Carry On Wayward Son," one of many hits written by Livgren, is a single from the band's Leftoverture album, released in 1976. In 1977, the song peaked at No. 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group's first top 20 entry in the nation. The song was certified Gold in 1990. In addition, "Carry On Wayward Son" has become one of the most played selections of all time on Classical Rock radio. The song is also listed as 96th on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. Clearly, that ranking is way too low! (What does VH1 know, anyway?) We salute Kerry Livgren and all the members of the band Kansas. And anyone who disagrees with this assessment by KPR's Kansas Trivia team is just, well... Dust in the Wind.
Fun Factoid: Just like fans of Jimmy Buffett call themselves Parrotheads, diehard fans of Kansas! call themselves "Wheatheads." Here's a 2016 article from the Topeka Capital-Journal about some local and longtime Wheatheads.