Rep. M. Holmes of the Kansas House offered the following speech last week to honor Kerry Livgren of the band Kansas:
I'd like to introduce a remarkable individual to the House this morning. You may not recognize his name, but you will recognize some of the songs he's written.
Kerry Livgren graduated from Topeka West High School in 1967. He started playing in rock and roll bands and song writing while still in school. His songs are not the typical "feel good'' rock and roll, but are laced with thought provoking lyrics. Kerry was on a spiritual journey and all his lyrics reflected that. Words such as "If I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know'' and "All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see'' were typical of his hit songs.
Kerry's spiritual journey culminated in 1979 with his conversion to Christianity. His songs continued to be thought provoking, but took on a new dimension.
Not only were the lyrics of Kerry's songs unique, but the musical style was also unique. It was obvious that Kerry was as inspired by classical music as he was by rock and roll. I've often thought that if Bach or Beethoven were writing music in modern times, they would be in the same genre of music as Kerry Livgren.
Kerry's song writing career spans five decades, and he's played in numerous bands. The band he's best known for is a band named "Kansas." During the 70's and 80's, "Kansas" sold over 14 million records as the result of Livgren's song writing.
The band has produced eight gold albums, two triple platinum albums and one platinum live album. ``Kansas'' appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the 70's and 80's and played to sold out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe and Japan. In fact, "Carry on Wayward Son'' was the second most played track on classic rock radio in 1995 and went to number one in 1997.