ZK 39283 The Best of Kansas
previously released material
(track 6 produced by Kansas)
Released on September 1984
PLATINUM RECORD (10/25/90), 2x PLATINUM (9/12/95),
3x PLATINUM (1/29/97), 4x PLATINUM (12/19/01)
Find it at GEMM
ZK 39283 cover
[high resolution scan]

T here are days when I wonder if American prog fans aren’t all Anglophiles in denial. Consider that Kansas may be our country’s greatest contribution to the canon. Who else are you going to pick? Styx? Starcastle? Yes, Kansas may be the best American prog band of all time. Ours is a country founded by humorless religious zealots, and it shows. Not that American proggers shouldn’t be proud of Kansas, but we really haven’t delivered a top-tier prog band along the lines of Genesis, Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull or Gentle Giant. By the release of The Best of Kansas, even our pre-eminent prog band had petered out, leaving “Perfect Lover” as its imperfect epitaph. Now I won’t tell you that everything here belongs in a discussion of what’s best about Kansas the prog band; certainly something from Masque would have covered their prog period better than “Play The Game Tonight.” And choosing “The Wall” to close the compilation, while a pleasant surprise, blocks Monolith from showing. In recent years, double-disc sets have done a better job of capturing the best of Kansas, but honestly the “best” of Kansas appears on the albums Leftoverture and Point of Know Return. Start there first if you’re interested in the proggy side of Kansas, here if you just want the ‘80s hits plus the old classics. With time, I’m warming to the Elefante years, but I’ve yet to warm to the notion that Kansas belongs with the progressive masters. Maybe it’s the Don Kirshner connection, the Middle American stigma or their prog-by-numbers approach. I enjoy Kansas on occasion, but my snobbery prevents me from embracing them as an American answer to a European phenomenon. As I’ve said earlier, the sommelier connection is interesting, since I detect a “no good wine can come from Kansas” in my thinking. I’ll keep trying anyway, and keep hitting the same wall after a Point.

ZK 39283 booklet back cover
ZK 39283 booklet back cover


  1. CARRY ON WAYWARD SON    (Kerry Livgren)    5:22
  2. POINT OF KNOW RETURN    (Steve Walsh/Phil Ehart/Robert Steinhardt)    3:11
  3. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE    (John Elefante/Dino Elefante)    3:40
  4. DUST IN THE WIND    (Kerry Livgren)    3:27
  5. SONG FOR AMERICA    (Kerry Livgren)    9:08
  6. PERFECT LOVER    (John Elefante/Dino Elefante)    4:19
  7. HOLD ON    (Kerry Livgren)    3:52
  8. NO ONE TOGETHER    (Kerry Livgren)    6:57
  9. PLAY THE GAME TONIGHT    (Kerry Livgren/Phil Ehart/Rich Williams/Danny Flower/Rob Frazier)    3:26
  10. THE WALL    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:49

    CD/CS reissue bonus tracks


Kerry Livgren -- mixing (1,10)
Davey Moire -- mixing (1,10)
Rich Williams -- mixing (1,10)
Kevin Elson -- engineer (6)
Neil Kernon -- mixing (6)
Steve Carver -- illustration
Lane/Donald -- art direction

return to KANSAS discography

US September 1984 CBS Associated LP/CS QZ/QZT 39283  
UK September 1984 Epic LP/CS EPC 26065 inner sleeve
JPN 1984 CBS/Sony CD SRCS-9489  
US 1985? CBS Associated CD ZK 39283 digital master w. lyric sleeve
NET 1994 Sony CD 461036  
US February 1999 Epic CDX/CSX ZK 65690 digital remaster w. bonus tracks


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