"What's on My Mind" / "Lonely Street" Released: 1977
Leftoverture is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kansas, released in 1976. The album was reissued in remastered format on CD in 2001, and later reissued as Playlist: Leftoverture, although "Magnum Opus" was replaced with "Child of Innocence" from Masque. It was the band's first album to be certified by the RIAA, and remains their highest selling album, having been certified 4 times platinum in the United States.
Steve Walsh began to experience writer's block prior to the recording, and his contribution to the album would ultimately be limited to co-authoring three songs. It fell on Kerry Livgren to fill the void. The new compositions retained much of the classically inspired complexity of Livgren's previous work. Kansas recorded the album at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The Studio in the Country was so named because, as Livgren described on In the Studio with Redbeard radio show in the episode spotlighting Leftoverture, "it was in the middle of a swamp. We'd walk out of the studio and there would be gators in front of the studio, mosquitos the size of B-52s and at times armadillos would run into the control room, laughing."
Leftoverture opens with the song "Carry On Wayward Son", which Livgren wrote as a sequel to "The Pinnacle", the final song from the previous album Masque (1975).
The album was met with mixed reviews. Rolling Stone called Leftoverture Kansas's best album to date, and said that it "warrants Kansas a spot right alongside Boston and Styx as one of the fresh new American bands who combine hard-driving group instrumentation (with a dearth of flashy solos) with short, tight melody lines and pleasant singing." The magazine Playboy reviewed the album as "extremely strong" and lauded Kansas for representing "the solid, Midwestern values of our vast musical heartland." In contrast, Robert Christgau said the album lacked the intelligence and conviction of European progressive rock, and that the self-deprecating humor implied in the song and album titles is completely absent from the record itself.
Modern reviews are likewise mixed. Gary Graff found Leftoverture "Kansas' breakthrough album and a thorough representation of its assorted musical sensibilities." The AllMusic reviewer instead wrote that the album contains "neither hooks nor true grandiosity to make it interesting" and, despite the great single "Carry On Wayward Son", the fact that Kansas "never manage to rival it anywhere on this record is as much a testament to their crippling ambition as their lack of skills."