JZ 34224 Leftoverture
Produced by Jeff Glixman
Released on November 1976
US CHART POSITION #5 . . . PLATINUM RECORD (3/15/77), 5x PLATINUM (12/20/01)
Find it at GEMM
JZ 34224 cover
[high resolution photo]

H eartland prog, which is to say earnest and even evangelical in tone but ultimately a flat facsimile of the genre’s musical nooks and crannies. Kansas had created a dialectic interpretation of what was originally a European phenomenon, adding country elements that included twangier vocal harmonies, fiddling and “bible belt” sentiment to prog’s mystical soup. At its best, this music rocked and resonated simultaneously; look no further than the opening “Carry On Wayward Son” to see where Leftoverture works. It’s in this hard-rocking, semi-mystical music that Kansas found an audience, and tracks like “What’s On My Mind” and “Miracles Out of Nowhere” were themselves influential, lighting the way for arena rockers Boston, Foreigner et al. At this stage, however, Kansas was still borrowing elements from past masters -- bits of Genesis, Gentle Giant and ELP pop up throughout. Rarely do they paint the sublime plateaus of Genesis, the apocalyptic battles of ELP or the impossibly tight arrangements of Gentle Giant, but Kansas remains in the ballpark of magic most of the way. The appropriately titled “Magnum Opus” especially manages to leave the earth in pursuit of higher learning, and is a journey Rush fans will enjoy. The music that remains is very good, from the Lamb-like “The Wall” to the inflated but impressive “Opus Insert.” Just as the early music of Rush succeeded more on moxie than method, Leftoverture is clearly good enough to seduce even jaded prog purists over time. True, compared to the English masters, Leftoverture is lyrically naïve and its complexity more bluster than brilliance, but so few bands took up the torch and got this far running with it that Kansas deserves more credit than criticism.

JZ 34224 back cover JZ 34224 lyric sleeve
JZ 34224 back cover JZ 34224 lyric sleeve


  1. CARRY ON WAYWARD SON    (Kerry Livgren)    5:13
  2. THE WALL    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:47
  3. WHAT'S ON MY MIND    (Kerry Livgren)    4:27
  4. MIRACLES OUT OF NOWHERE    (Kerry Livgren)    6:29
  5. OPUS INSERT    (Kerry Livgren)    4:26
  6. QUESTIONS OF MY CHILDHOOD    (Steve Walsh/Kerry Livgren)    3:38
  7. CHEYENNE ANTHEM    (Kerry Livgren)    6:50
  8. MAGNUM OPUS    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh/Rich Williams/Dave Hope/Phil Ehart/Robby Steinhardt)    8:27
    a. Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat
    b. Howling at the Moon
    c. Man Overboard
    d. Industry on Parade
    e. Release the Beavers
    f. Gnat Attack

    All songs arranged by Kansas


PHIL EHART -- drums, all percussion
DAVE HOPE -- bass guitar
KERRY LIVGREN -- guitar, piano, clavinet, Moog, Oberheim, and ARP synthesizers
ROBBY STEINHARDT -- violin, violas, lead and background vocals
STEVE WALSH -- organ, piano, vibes, lead and background vocals, synthesizer
RICH WILLIAMS -- acoustic and electric guitars
Toye La Rocca, Cheryl Norman -- children's voices (7)
Bill (Bleu) Evans -- engineer
Tom Drennon -- art direction
Wayne Whittier -- photos
Dave McMacken -- illustration

return to KANSAS discography

US November 1976 Kirshner LP/8T JZ 34224 lyric sleeve
UK/NET November 1976 Epic LP 81728 lyric sleeve
ARG 1976? Epic LP 147053  
AUS'L/NZ 1976 CBS LP/CS SBP23/PC 4908  
BRA   Epic LP 144201  
CAN November 1976 Kirshner LP PZ 34224  
US/CAN   Kirshner LP/CD/CS PZ/ZK/PZT 34224 lyric sleeve
EUR 1995 Sony CD 471967  
JPN   CBS/Sony CD CSCS 6038  
US   Sony CDX 85386 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
GER/NET 2001 Sony CDX 502479 digital remaster w. bonus tracks


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