With Steve Walsh (vocals/keyboards) and Kerry Livgren (guitar), Kansas also featured Robby Steinhardt on violin.
Early on, Kansas members jammed with the Doors in New Orleans for what turned out to be Jim Morrison's last gig.
Walsh was into Pink Floyd and "believe it or not" Stevie Wonder. Meanwhile, Livgren followed a classical muse. So Kansas attempted to meld American R&B with a dash of British Progressive Rock and the occasional Classical flourish. An odd combination, to say the least. When it came together it was very impressive. The trouble was, that didn't happen very often. "Carry On Wayward Son" from "Leftoverture" was hard driving but the all-acoustic ballad "Dust In The Wind" from "Point of Know Return" was dreadful. Guess which was bigger. Both albums were commercially successful with "Leftoverture" being the better of the two. Albums following "Point of Know Return" were listless. The problem was compounded when Walsh bailed in '81. Soon the wheels came off completely. The following decade saw Kansas spend a large chuck of time on the revival circuit. Beats having a day job.
Maybe it's not all dust in the wind. Kansas celebrated their 35th anniversary in '09 by performing with the Washburn University Orchestra in Topeka, KS. Two former Kansas guitarists, founding member Livgren and Deep Purple's Steve Morse were also on hand.
By far "Leftoverture" is Kansas at its best, containing the undeniable "Carry On Wayward Son" and the hard Rockin' "What's On My Mind." There is a "Kansas" box set. But why drill that deep unless Kansas is a personal favorite. If that's the case, have at it.