People of the South Wind

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"People of the South Wind"
People of the South Wind.jpg
Single by Kansas
from the album Monolith
B-side "Stay Out of Trouble"
Released 1979
Recorded January – April 1979
Genre Progressive rock, rock, disco
Length 3:41
Label Kirshner
Writer(s) Kerry Livgren
Producer(s) Kansas
Kansas singles chronology
"Lonely Wind"
"People of the South Wind"
"Reason to Be"

"People of the South Wind" is a progressive rock single recorded by Kansas and written by Kerry Livgren for their 1979 album Monolith. Following the success of previous singles "Carry On Wayward Son", "Point of Know Return", and "Dust in the Wind", the song became the band's fourth Top 40 hit.

The song was written about the Kaw people who gave the state Kansas its name. In the Kansa language, the tribe's name could roughly be translated to "People of the South Wind". After the Monolith tour, the song was not performed live again until the mid-1990s because the band believed fans did not like the album. Today the song is still performed live.

Two music videos for the track exist. The song, along with three other tracks from Monolith ("On the Other Side", "Reason to Be", "Away from You"), depict the group performing on stage (except "Reason to Be" which shows the group performing in a cave) where they are looked upon by the figure that appears on the cover to Monolith. A separate video for "People of the South Wind" was also released and has received airplay on channels such as VH1 Classic. This video is essentially the same as the original but omits the scenes involving the Monolith character, giving more focus on the band's performance.


The song has an upbeat tempo, with the drums playing beats on the eighth note. From 0:00–0:22, the song opens with an instrumental intro. The keyboard has the melody from 0:00-0:12, and the guitar and violin pick it up from 0:13–0:22. The vocals start at 0:23, and the first verse is from 0:23–0:51. The keyboard, bass, and drums provide accompaniment during the first verse. The pre-chorus is from 0:38–0:51, with the guitar joining the accompaniment. The first chorus is from 0:52–1:05. The violin joins in at this point, playing the melody along with the backing vocals. The lead vocals harmonize above the melody. The second verse is from 1:06–1:32, with the keyboard, guitar, bass, and drums providing accompaniment. The second chorus lasts from 1:33–1:47, leading into a guitar solo from 1:48–2:15. The intro from the beginning plays again from 2:16–2:30. The third verse lasts from 2:31–2:57, and the third chorus fades out from 2:58–3:38. "People of the South Wind" takes a greater pop approach than other Kansas songs to appeal to a larger audience. The single brought Kansas modest success, as it peaked at twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 23
Canadian RPM Top Singles 59

External links[edit]