It’s almost impossible to hear the lyrics “Dust in the wind,” and not immediately respond back with “All we are is dust in the wind.” The classic rock staple was first introduced to the world on Kansas’s fifth studio album Point of Know Return, which celebrates its 45th anniversary today.
When Point of Know Return was released on October 11th, 1977, it showcased some of the best Kansas had to offer. The record was the prime of progressive rock with its eccentric style, spacey components, chimes, jazz influences, and other elements that usually wouldn’t make sense but sounded just right for Kansas.
Dust In The Wind, the most popular track on the record (and possibly of Kansas’ career), was originally written by the band’s guitarist Kerry Livgren just as a finger exercise to improve on fingerpicking. It was his wife Vicci who was so impressed by the picking that she encouraged him to transform it into a full song. Although he was skeptical since a folk-inspired acoustic song seemed out of Kansas’ style, the band accepted and the track eventually flew up the charts when it was released as a single the next year.
Along with Dust In The Wind, Point Of Know Return also boasted the title track, the philosophical tune Paradox, and the melancholy ballad Nobody’s Home just to name a few beloved prog rock songs from the record. With the return of Steve Walsh who had recently left the band, the endearing violin from Robby Steinhardt, the guitar work from Kerry Livgren and Rich Williams, bassist Dave Hope, and drummer Phil Ehart, Kansas saw themselves at the peak of their career. During the late ’70s when hit music was geared towards a simpler sound, the perfectly chaotic and whimsical Point Of Know Return still peaked at No.4 on the charts making it Kansas’s highest-charting album in the U.S. The following decade, Kansas would shift to a poppier sound and keep up their fame, but nothing else would ever capture the spirit that emulated from Point Of Know Return.
To celebrate Point Of Know Return‘s 45th birthday, check out Kansas performing Dust In The Wind live at the Canada Jam in 1978 here: