“Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more”
(from “Carry On Wayward Son,” by Kerry Livgren)
If you were living in the 1970s, I think it would be nearly impossible not to immediately recognize the above lines as the unaccompanied introduction sung by Kansas members Steve Walsh and Robby Steinhardt to the band’s epic rock song, “Carry On Wayward Son.”
The song comes from the band’s fourth studio album, Leftoverture (1976). That was the first music I had heard by Kansas, an American rock band formed in the early 1970s in Topeka, Kansas. They have remained active until the present (aside from disbanding briefly from 1984 to 1985). The group’s primary songwriter, guitarist Kerry Livgren, also wrote the similarly well-known “Dust in the Wind” from their fifth studio release, Point of Know Return (1977).
A school mate who was a big fan of Genesis (and later, the solo works of Peter Gabriel, as I mentioned in a post on “Come Talk to Me”) introduced Leftoverture to our group of friends. Though I bought the record, I never really followed the band or picked up anything else from their prolific discography of 16 studio albums, seven live albums, nine compilations and 29 singles.
“Carry On Wayward Son” is a significant song from my mid-teens and is highly reminiscent of the era of massive, sold-out arena rock concerts. An anthem to turmoil and conflict, it always seemed to fit well as a marker of youth seeking place and meaning.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official video for the song from the Kansas VEVO/YouTube channel:
Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.