The 7" single has been certified Gold by the RIAA. This version was a much shorter version of the song, edited down to 3:26, a version that was also the band's only single to chart in the UK, reaching number 51 there. All initial releases of the single had a B-side of "Questions of My Childhood". The song was later re-released on all Kansas compilation albums (except for Works In Progress) and all Kansas live albums.
This song is 96th on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.
Retch metal band The Scarlet Stingers covered the song on their album Tomorrow.
In 2012, The A.V. Club, a pop culture website, held its annual A.V. Undercover in which artists are invited to perform cover versions of reader-selected songs.Gwar accepted the challenge and recorded a version of "Carry On Wayward Son" and released a video of it as well. They also released a version on the European version of their album Battle Maximus.