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Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 21, 1976
RecordedDecember 1975 – August 1976
StudioStudio in the Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana
GenreProgressive rock
LabelKirshner (US)
Epic (Europe and Japan)
CBS (Oceania)
ProducerJeff Glixman, Kansas
Kansas chronology
Point of Know Return
Singles from Leftoverture
  1. "Carry On Wayward Son"
    Released: November 19, 1976 (US)[1]
  2. "What's on My Mind"
    Released: May 1977[2]

Leftoverture is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kansas, released in 1976. The album was reissued in remastered format on CD in 2001. It was the band's first album to be certified by the RIAA, and remains their highest selling album, having been certified 5 times platinum in the United States.[3]


Steve Walsh began to experience writer's block prior to the recording, and his contribution to the album would ultimately be limited to co-authoring three songs. It fell on Kerry Livgren to fill the void.[4] The new compositions retained much of the classically inspired complexity of Livgren's previous work.[4] Kansas recorded the album at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The Studio in the Country was so named because, as Livgren described on In the Studio with Redbeard radio show in the episode spotlighting Leftoverture, "it was in the middle of a swamp. We'd walk out of the studio and there would be gators in front of the studio, mosquitos the size of B-52s and at times armadillos would run into the control room."[5]

Leftoverture opens with the song "Carry On Wayward Son", which Livgren wrote as a sequel to "The Pinnacle", the final song from the previous album Masque (1975).

The album's title, Leftoverture, is a portmanteau of leftover and overture.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideD+[7]
MusicHound Rock4/5[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[9]

The album was met with mixed reviews. Rolling Stone called Leftoverture Kansas's best album to date, and said that it "warrants Kansas a spot right alongside Boston and Styx as one of the fresh new American bands who combine hard-driving group instrumentation (with a dearth of flashy solos) with short, tight melody lines and pleasant singing."[10] The magazine Playboy reviewed the album as "extremely strong" and lauded Kansas for representing "the solid, Midwestern values of our vast musical heartland."[11] In contrast, Robert Christgau said the album lacked the intelligence and conviction of European progressive rock, and that the self-deprecating humor implied in the song and album titles is completely absent from the record itself.[7]

More recently, AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the album contains "neither hooks nor true grandiosity to make it interesting" and, despite the great single "Carry On Wayward Son", the fact that Kansas "never manage to rival it anywhere on this record is as much a testament to their crippling ambition as their lack of skills."[6] Gary Graff was more enthusiastic, finding Leftoverture to be "Kansas' breakthrough album and a thorough representation of its assorted musical sensibilities."[8] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Matt Wardlaw considered "Carry On Wayward Son", "Magnum Opus", "The Wall", "What's on My Mind" and "Opus Insert" to be classics.[12] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Eduardo Rivadavia rated "Carry On Wayward Son" as Kansas' greatest song and "The Wall" as Kansas' sixth greatest song.[13]

Classic Rock History critic Brian Kachejian rated "The Wall" as Kansas' all-time best song, as well as rating "Carry On Wayward Son" number 2 and "Miracles Out of Nowhere" number 5.[14] Classic Rock critic Dave Ling also ranked three songs from Leftoverture among Kansas' 10 best – "Magnum Opus", "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Carry On Wayward Son".[15]

Ronnie Platt, who became Kansas' lead singer in 2014, rated three songs from Leftoverture as being among his 10 favorite Kansas songs – "Carry On Wayward Son", "The Wall" and "Miracles Out of Nowhere".[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kerry Livgren except where noted

Side one
1."Carry On Wayward Son" 5:23
2."The Wall"Livgren, Steve Walsh4:51
3."What's on My Mind" 3:28
4."Miracles out of Nowhere" 6:28
Side two
5."Opus Insert" 4:30
6."Questions of My Childhood"Walsh, Livgren3:40
7."Cheyenne Anthem" 6:55
8."Magnum Opus"
  • 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"
Livgren, Walsh, Rich Williams, Dave Hope, Phil Ehart, Robby Steinhardt8:25
Bonus tracks on 2001 CD reissue
9."Carry On Wayward Son" (live at Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkston, Michigan, July 1978)4:43
10."Cheyenne Anthem" (live at The Palladium in New York City, December 1977)6:41


Additional personnel
  • Toye LaRocca, Cheryl Norman – children's voices on "Cheyenne Anthem"



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[24] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[25] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "RIAA certification". Recording Industry Association of America.
  2. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 449. ISBN 9780862415419.
  3. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: Search for Kansas". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Wild, David (2001). Leftoverture (CD Booklet). Kansas. New York City: Legacy Recordings. p. 3. EK 85386.
  5. ^ "Kansas-Leftoverture- Phil Ehart, Richard Williams, Kerry Livgren". In the Studio with Redbeard. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Kansas - Leftoverture review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: K". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 28, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  8. ^ a b Graff, Gary (1996). "Kansas: Leftoverture". MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-0787610371. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "Kansas". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 446. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Niester, Alan (January 27, 1977). "Album Reviews: Kansas - Leftoverture". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 22, 2008. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Kansas: Leftoverture". Playboy. July 1977. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (October 21, 2016). "40 Years Ago: Kansas Carry on in a Big Way with 'Leftoverture'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  13. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (June 15, 2013). "Top 10 Kansas Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  14. ^ Kachejian, Brian (September 26, 2022). "Top 10 Kansas Songs". Classic Rock History. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  15. ^ Ling, Dave (July 14, 2016). "The Top 10 Best Kansas Songs". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  16. ^ "The 10 Best Kansas songs, by Kansas frontman Ronnie Platt". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. November 6, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 5289a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  19. ^ "Kansas Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  20. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 27, No. 1, April 2, 1977". Library and Archives Canada. April 2, 1977. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  21. ^ "Kansas Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard.com. Billboard. September 12, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  22. ^ "Kansas Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 27, No. 17, July 23, 1987". Library and Archives Canada. July 23, 1977. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  24. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kansas – Leftoverture". Music Canada.
  25. ^ "American album certifications – Kansas – Leftoverture". Recording Industry Association of America.