Dust in the Wind

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This article is about the 1977 song by Kansas. For the 1986 movie by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, see Dust in the Wind (film). For the Todd Rundgren song, see Something/Anything?.
"Dust in the Wind"
Single by Kansas
from the album Point of Know Return
B-side "Paradox"
Released January 16, 1978
Recorded June–July 1977
Genre Progressive rock, soft rock
Length 3:27
Label Kirshner
Writer(s) Kerry Livgren
Producer(s) Jeff Glixman, Kansas
Kansas singles chronology
"Point of Know Return"
"Dust in the Wind"
"Portrait (He Knew)"
Point of Know Return track listing

"Dust in the Wind" is a song recorded by American progressive rock band Kansas and written by band member Kerry Livgren, first released on their 1977 album Point of Know Return.

The song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 22, 1978, making it Kansas's only top ten Billboard Hot 100 charting single. The 45-rpm single was certified Gold for sales of one million units by the RIAA shortly after the height of its popularity as a hit single. More than 25 years later, the RIAA certified Gold the digital download format of the song, Kansas' only single to do so certified as of September 17, 2008.[1]

Background and writing[edit]

A last-minute addition to the track lineup for Point of Know Return, "Dust in the Wind" would also be its greatest success.[citation needed]

The guitar line for this 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.[2] 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.[2]

"Dust in the Wind" was one of Kansas's first acoustic tracks; its slow melancholy melody and philosophical lyrics differ from their other hits such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Point of Know Return". A meditation on mortality and the inevitability of death, the lyrical theme bears a striking resemblance to the well-known biblical passage Genesis 3:19 ("...for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."), as well as to the famous opening lines of the Japanese war epic The Tale of the Heike ("...the mighty fall at last, and they are as dust before the wind.") and from a book of Native American poetry, which includes the line "for all we are is dust in the wind."[2]

The guitar track comes from two guitarists playing six-string guitars in unison, one in standard tuning and the other in Nashville tuning, to create a chimy sound similar to a twelve-string guitar.[citation needed] The instrumental bridge contains a distinctive melodic line and harmony for violin and viola.[citation needed]

Kansas also released a live version of the song on their album Two for the Show and a symphonic version on Always Never the Same.[citation needed]


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report[3] 52
Belgian VRT Top 30[4] 29
Canadian RPM Top 100[5] 3
Canadian RPM Top Adult Contemporary[6] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[7] 19
French Singles Chart[8] 22
New Zealand Singles Chart[9] 36
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 6
U.S. Cashbox Top 100[10] 3

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[11] 24
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 39
U.S. Cashbox Top 100[12] 37


Country Provider Certification
Canada[13] CRIA Gold
United States[14] RIAA Gold


Cover versions[edit]

  • A parody titled "Dust Up His Nose" (a song about a PCP addict), was sung by Larry Rand in 1978 and played often on the Dr. Demento Radio Show.[15]
  • The Buddy Miles Regiment covered the song on their 1981 Double LP Sneak Attack.[16]
  • Soprano and Broadway star Sarah Brightman covered the song on her 1998 album Eden.[17]
  • In 1999, Canadian reggae singer Snow recorded a reggae version of Dust in the Wind, called Hard Life, on his Cooler Conditions album.[18]
  • The American R&B and Neo-soul singer Eric Benét covered the song on his 1999 album A Day in the Life.
  • An electronic dance version was released by Interface in 1999.[19]
  • The song was sampled in 1999 by American singer Jordan Knight on his song "Close My Eyes".[citation needed]
  • The Scorpions included a live version of "Dust In The Wind" on their 2001 CD Acoustica.[20]
  • Metalium included the song as the bonus track on the Live-CD packaged with their 2001 DVD/Video release Metalian Attack.[21][22]
  • Brazilian singer, acoustic guitarist and cover artist Emmerson Nogueira released a version of the song in his debut album Versão Acústica.
  • The American trip hop group Daughter Darling included a cover on their debut album Sweet Shadows, released in 2002.
  • Melanie Safka covered the song on her 2002 album Moments from my Life.
  • Former New York Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams plays a jazz guitar version on his album titled The Journey Within released in 2003.
  • The gospel group Acappella covers the song on his 2004 album Heaven and Earth, according the song, the rap is included.
  • William Joseph covers the song on his 2004 album Within, featuring Garou as the lead singer.
  • Two time Best American DJ award winning duo Gabriel & Dresden covered "Dust In The Wind" in their 2006 self-titled album Gabriel & Dresden, featuring Molly Bancroft as the lead singer.
  • The Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes included a version of the song as the title track for her 2006 album.
  • The Sasha & Shawna album Siren[23] includes a cover of the song. This album, produced by Peter Asher, was released in 2007.
  • Beaker performed the song in a popular YouTube video.
  • The version by Spanish heavy metal band Mägo de Oz is called "Pensando en ti" (Thinking about you). It was performed only live and can be heard on their live album Fölktergeist and on the Live DVD A Costa da Rock. A studio version for this song was also included in the "El Que Quiera Entender Que Entienda" single.
  • Kansas ex-lead singer John Elefante covers "Dust in the Wind" in his 2010 album 3 with band Mastedon. It also features the song's author and founding Kansas member Kerry Livgren on electric guitar.
  • Murray Head covers the song on his 2012 album "My Back Pages"[24]
  • In 2012 the song was covered by post-grunge band Black Lab.


  1. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - November 10, 2015". http://www.riaa.com.  External link in |work= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "In the Studio with Point of Know Return, featuring Kansas". In The Studio. 7 September 1992. Archived from the original on 28 December 2004. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  4. ^ "Radio2 top 30: 7 november 2015". radio2.be. 
  5. ^ "Dust in the Wind in Canadian Charts". http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm. Retrieved June 10, 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  6. ^ "Dust in the Wind in Canadian Adult Contemporary Charts". http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm. Retrieved June 10, 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ "Discografie Kansas". Dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ http://infodisc.fr/Artistes.php[dead link]
  9. ^ "Discography Kansas". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ http://www.cashboxcountdowns.com/archives/70s_files/19780415.html[dead link]
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. 
  12. ^ http://www.cashboxcountdowns.com/archives/70s_files/1978YESP.html[dead link]
  13. ^ http://www.musiccanada.com/GPSearchResult.aspx?st=&ica=False&sa=Kansas&sl=&smt=5&sat=-1&ssb=Artist[dead link]
  14. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - November 10, 2015". http://www.riaa.com.  External link in |work= (help)
  15. ^ http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/song_details.aspx?SongID=3413[dead link]
  16. ^ "Buddy Miles Sneak Attack Japanese Promo 2-LP vinyl record set (Double Album) (362103)". eil.com. 
  17. ^ The Unit. "Sarah Brightman's Website". Sarah Brightman. 
  18. ^ See production notes in cd insert: Cooler Conditions (Tokyo: JVC Japan)
  19. ^ Interface (10) - Dust In The Wind[dead link]
  20. ^ "Scorpions - 50th Anniversary". the-scorpions.com. 
  21. ^ "METALIUM OFFICIAL WEBSITE - DISC". metalium.de. 
  22. ^ "Search results for "album_details.php" - Gracenote". gracenote.com. 
  23. ^ "Amazon.com: Siren: Sasha & Shawna: MP3 Downloads". amazon.com. 
  24. ^ "Amazon.com: My Back Pages: Murray Head: Music". amazon.com. 

External links[edit]