You Say It's Your Birthday: Kansas' Robert Steinhardt

It's also Bob Dylan's birthday today.

Today is the birthday of Kansas vocalist and violinist

Robert Steinhardt, who was born in 1951 in Mississippi. Kansas' intricate rock

'n' roll often got their music lumped in with the British progressive groups in

the 1970s, but with the success of singles like "Carry on Wayward Son" and

"Dust in the Wind," some of Kansas' records have sold in the millions. Founded

in 1970, the original lineup -- guitarist and keyboardist Kerry Livgren,

keyboardist and vocalist Steve Walsh, guitarist Richard Williams, drummer Phil

Ehart and bassist Dave Hope -- muddled through the Midwestern club scene for

several years before recording their debut Kansas in 1974. Steinhardt

had been brought in for his violin skill after many years of playing in

orchestras throughout Europe.

Although their earliy albums sold moderately

well, supported by constant touring, their first big break came with 1976's

Leftoverture, which featured "Wayward Son." Its followup, 1977's

Point of Know Return included hits in the title track and "Dust in the

Wind," a #6 single. Kansas continued to thrive until the end of the decade,

when internal strife began to split the band. Livgren and Hope became

born-again Christians; in addition, Livgren and Walsh had embarked on solo

projects. By the end of 1981 Walsh had left the group and was replaced by John

Elefante. By 1983 the group had disbanded.

Kansas regrouped in 1986,

including Walsh, Williams and Ehart; they added guitarist Steve Morse and

bassist Billy Greer to complete the lineup. That year they recorded

Power, which was well-received by audiences, but followup efforts,

including 1988's In The Spirit of Things and 1995's Freaks sold

poorly.

Other birthdays: Steve Upton (Wishbone Ash), Bob Dylan, Tony

Valentine (Standells), Derek Quinn (Freddie & The Dreamers), Mitchell Margo

(Tokens), John Grimaldi (Argent), Rosanne Cash, Tommy Page, Rich Robinson (The

Black Crowes). -- Beth Winegarner