Point of Know Return

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Point of Know Return
Studio album by Kansas
Released October 11, 1977 (1977-10-11)
Recorded June–July 1977 at Woodland Sound, Nashville, TN and Studio in the Country, Bogalusa, LA
Genre Progressive rock
Length 43:59
Label Kirshner
Legacy/Epic
Producer Jeff Glixman
Kansas chronology
Leftoverture
(1976)
Point of Know Return
(1977)
Two for the Show
(1978)
Singles from Point of Know Return
  1. "Point of Know Return"
    Released: 1977 (1977)
  2. "Dust in the Wind"
    Released: January 16, 1978 (1978-01-16)
  3. "Portrait (He Knew)"
    Released: 1978 (1978)

Point of Know Return is the fifth album by American rock band Kansas, released in 1977. The album was reissued in remastered format on CD in 2002.

The huge success of Kansas's previous effort, Leftoverture, brought a new kind of pressure. While they were no longer desperately poor and starving for a hit, the band wondered whether they would be able to build on or, at least, maintain the level of achievement the years of recording and touring had brought them. The sessions for their follow-up LP, Point of Know Return, were filled with tension as singer/songwriter Steve Walsh, who had always been uncomfortable with the artistic direction of the band, left the group briefly. Years later, Walsh would admit in an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Redbeard on the weekly rockumentary series In the Studio with Redbeard (edition #849, week of September 27, 2004 and again on the 30th Anniversary Episode for Point of Know Return in 2007) that he had been something of a prima donna at this point. The other members of the group talked him into returning and the sessions continued. As with the previous album, it was a last-minute addition to the track line-up that would prove to be a huge success.

The album marked the commercial peak of the band. A subsequent tour brought them to the largest venues in the country, such as Madison Square Garden (which was sold out resulting in a second show at the newly constructed nearby Nassau Coliseum on Long Island) and the LA Forum (on New Year's Eve 1977). Marketing efforts were escalated at that point, including a tour book featuring an essay about the band by then Rolling Stone contributor Cameron Crowe. The band became a staple on FM radio at this point, and during this period was one of the most popular rock acts in the country.

Background[edit]

"Point of Know Return" was a later addition to the album. "Portrait (He Knew)" was written about Albert Einstein.[1] In 1988, Livgren released an updated version of "Portrait (He Knew)" titled "Portrait II" as part of the album Prime Mover credited to his band AD. He changed the subject of the song from Einstein to Jesus Christ. "Closet Chronicles" is a Howard Hughes allegory.

"Dust in the Wind" is known for its sparse acoustic nature. The guitar line for the song was written by Kerry Livgren as a finger exercise for learning fingerpicking. His wife, Vicci, heard what he was doing, remarked that the melody was nice, and encouraged him to write lyrics for it.[1] Livgren was unsure whether his fellow band members would like it, since it was a departure from their signature style. However he did offer it to them, and the song was accepted and then recorded.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]

Rolling Stone gave the album a mixed review, saying that though the transition to shorter songs generally works, the lyrics are "a wan and ridiculous rehash of the bargain-basement exoticism employed by the British art-rock crowd." They commented that though the band lacks a virtuoso soloist, the band's ensemble playing is strong and purposeful.[3]

Point of Know Return would be Kansas' highest charting album in the US, peaking at #4 in January 1978, and would sell four million copies in the US and be certified Quadruple Platinum by the RIAA.

Cultural impact[edit]

During a debate of greatest "Song 1 Side 1" in history among the lead characters in the movie High Fidelity, Jack Black's character criticizes one of John Cusack's character's proposals as "too obvious, like 'Point of Know Return'/'Point of Know Return.'" The album cover has become an iconic image from the album rock era, appearing on the background of the set of VH1 Classic, on tee shirts worn by characters in movies and on TV, and in other places.

In October 2009, a live version of the title track "Point of Know Return" was released as a downloadable add-on to the Harmonix video game Rock Band. The title track has also been used in a 2009 State Farm commercial, in which a man sings along to it in his parked car.

In the 2008 movie The Rocker, Rainn Wilson's character 'Robert Fishman' is seen wearing a Point of Know Return t-shirt.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Point of Know Return" (Phil Ehart, Robby Steinhardt, Walsh) 3:13
2. "Paradox"   3:50
3. "The Spider" (Walsh) 2:05
4. "Portrait (He Knew)"   4:38
5. "Closet Chronicles"   6:31
6. "Lightning's Hand"   4:24
7. "Dust in the Wind" (Livgren) 3:28
8. "Sparks of the Tempest"   4:18
9. "Nobody's Home"   4:40
10. "Hopelessly Human" (Livgren) 7:17

The remix of Portrait marks the third time the song has been remixed. A remix appeared on the original 45 of the song. A different remix appeared on the bonus disc a Europe-only collection from the late 1990s.

Personnel[edit]

Note: The album's performing credits listed one joke "instrument" for each band member, such as "chain-driven gong," "autogyro," "Rinaldo whistling machine" and "Peabody chromatic inverter."

Production[edit]

  • Producer: Jeff Glixman
  • Engineers: Terry Becker, Jeff Glixman
  • Mastering: George Marino
  • Arranger: Kansas
  • Art direction: Tom Drennon
  • Cover art concept: Kansas
  • Cover design: Rod Dyer
  • Artwork: Peter Lloyd
  • Artwork: Bob Maile

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums 4

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1977 "Point Of Know Return" Pop Singles 28
1978 "Dust In The Wind" Pop Singles 6
1978 "Portrait (He Knew)" Pop Singles 64

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "In the Studio with Point of Know Return, featuring Kansas". In The Studio. September 7, 1992. Archived from the original on December 28, 2004. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Swenson, John (January 12, 1978). Album review, Rolling Stone. Archived from Rolling Stone review.