Jump to content

Point of Know Return

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Point of Know Return
Cover painting by Peter Lloyd
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1977 (1977-10)
RecordedJune – July 1977
ProducerJeff Glixman
Kansas chronology
Point of Know Return
Two for the Show
Singles from Point of Know Return
  1. "Point of Know Return"
    Released: October 1977[1]
  2. "Dust in the Wind"
    Released: January 1978[2]
  3. "Portrait (He Knew)"
    Released: May 1978[3]

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

Composition and recording[edit]

The recording sessions for Point of Know Return commenced in June 1977 at Studio in the Country, the Bogalusa, Louisiana facility where Kansas' previous two albums were recorded: due to the band encountering equipment failure at Studio in the Country, Kansas shifted recording sites, the majority of the recording of Point of Know Return being done at Woodland Studios in Nashville over the month of July.[4]

Singer/songwriter Steve Walsh left the group briefly during the recording of this album.[5] In an interview on the weekly In the Studio with Redbeard radio show, he would admit that, at this point, he had been something of a prima donna and was attracted by the chance of a solo career.[5][6]

"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.[7] 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.[7]

The album is critically acclaimed for the singles "Point of Know Return," which was a late addition to the album, and "Portrait (He Knew)," which was written about Albert Einstein.[7] 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. Another song, "Closet Chronicles", is a Howard Hughes allegory.


Professional ratings
Review scores
MusicHound Rock[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]

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 Kansas lacks a virtuoso soloist, the band's ensemble playing is strong and purposeful.[11] Robert Taylor of AllMusic wrote that Kansas' "interplay and superior musicianship make this both an essential classic rock and progressive rock recording", despite its "dated sound" and the band's struggle "to maintain a healthy balance of progression combined with pop."[8]

Point of Know Return would be Kansas' highest-charting album in the US, peaking at No. 4 in January 1978,[12] and would sell four million copies in the US and be certified Quadruple Platinum by the RIAA.[13]

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'".

"Nobody's Home" is sampled by rapper J Dilla on the song "So Far" on his 2016 posthumous release The Diary. However, the sample is from a cover version rather than the Kansas recording.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Point of Know Return"Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, Robby Steinhardt3:13
2."Paradox"Kerry Livgren, Walsh3:50
3."The Spider" (instrumental)Walsh2:05
4."Portrait (He Knew)"Livgren, Walsh4:38
5."Closet Chronicles"Walsh, Livgren6:31
Side two
6."Lightning's Hand"Walsh, Livgren4:24
7."Dust in the Wind"Livgren3:28
8."Sparks of the Tempest"Livgren, Walsh4:18
9."Nobody's Home"Livgren, Walsh4:40
10."Hopelessly Human"Livgren7:17
Bonus tracks on 2002 CD reissue
11."Sparks of the Tempest" (Recorded live at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Maryland)5:17
12."Portrait (He Knew)" (Remix)4:50

The remix of "Portrait (He Knew)" in the 2002 remastered edition marks the third time the song has been remixed. A remix appeared on the original single. A different remix appeared on the bonus disc of a Europe-only collection from the late 1990s.


  • Steve Walsh – organ, synthesizers, vibraphone, piano, lead vocals (except on "Lightning's Hand"), backing vocals, additional percussion
  • Kerry Livgren – synthesizers, piano, clavinet, electric and acoustic guitars, additional percussion
  • Robby Steinhardt – violins, viola, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Closet Chronicles", "Lightning's Hand", "Sparks of the Tempest", and "Hopelessly Human"
  • Rich Williams – electric and acoustic guitars
  • Dave Hope – bass
  • Phil Ehart – drums, timpani, chimes, additional percussion

In addition to the actual credits, the album's liner notes credit each band member with a fictional instrument, such as "chain-driven gong", "autogyro", "Rinaldo whistling machine", and "Peabody chromatic inverter".



Chart (1977-1978) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[14] 52
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[15] 7
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[16] 33
French Albums (SNEP)[17] 16
US Billboard 200[18] 4


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[19] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Kansas singles".
  2. ^ "Great rock discography". p. 449.
  3. ^ "Kansas singles".
  4. ^ Spokane Spokesman-Journal 6 September 2019 "Returning to the 'Point': Kansas' Richard Williams reflects on recording multiplatinum albums" by Azaria Podblesky pp.E2,E9
  5. ^ a b Wild, David (2002). Point of Know Return (CD Booklet). Kansas. New York City: Legacy Recordings. p. 3. EK 85387.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Robert. "Kansas - Point of Know Return review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Graff, Gary (1996). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-0787610371. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  10. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "Kansas". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 446. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Swenson, John (January 12, 1978). "Album Reviews: Kansas - Point of Know Return". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Kansas Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: Search for Kansas". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 5495a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kansas – Point of Know Return" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste – K". Infodisc.fr (in French). Archived from the original on October 22, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2012. Select Kansas from the menu, then press OK.
  18. ^ "Kansas Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  19. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kansas – Point of Know Return". Music Canada.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Kansas – Point of Know Return". Recording Industry Association of America.