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Freaks of Kansas Menu


This US group was formed in 1972 after David Hope (b. c.1951, Kansas, USA; bass) and Phil Ehart (b. 1951, Kansas, USA; drums/percussion) changed the name of their band, White Clover, to Kansas, recruiting Kerry Livgren (b. 18 September 1949, Kansas, USA; guitar/vocals), Robert Steinhardt (b. c.1951, Michigan, USA; violin/strings/vocals), Steve Walsh (b. c.1951, St. Joseph, Missouri, USA; keyboards/vocals) and Richard Williams (b. c.1951, Kansas, USA; guitars). Although an American band, Kansas were heavily influenced from the outset by British rock of the time, such as Yes and Genesis, and this was evident in the lyrics of their primary songwriter, Walsh. Kansas released their debut in 1974, and the following two albums attained gold record status, guaranteeing the band a high profile in the USA (although no Kansas albums made the charts in the UK). By 1977 the band had tired of the progressive rock pigeonhole into which the music press was forcing them, and decided to try a more commercial approach. Their popularity was confirmed on 27 June 1978 when they attended a ceremony at the Madison Square Gardens in New York at which the organization UNICEF named the band Deputy Ambassadors of Goodwill. In the early 80s Walsh decided to leave the band after he became unhappy with the increasingly commercial sound they were producing. He released the solo set, Schemer Dreamer, which featured other members of Kansas. He was replaced by John Elefante (b. c.1958, Levittown, New York, USA; keyboards/vocals) who wrote four of the songs on Vinyl Confessions. The band split in 1983 following two unsuccessful albums. Livgren and Hope had become born-again Christians, the former releasing Seeds Of Change, a commercially disastrous solo effort based on his religious experiences. In October 1986 Walsh, Ehart and Williams re-formed Kansas with Steve Morse, lately of Dixie Dregs (guitar), and Billy Greer (bass). This reunion was celebrated with the release of Power, an album that rejected the jazz-rock feel of earlier releases in favour of a heavier sound. Their first studio album in seven years was released in May 1995.

Encyclopedia of Popular Music Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 1998

Freaks of Kansas designed by Jason Bozarth and maintained by Kevin Robertson. Site originally opened on October 31, 1998 and changed ownership on July 5, 2000.