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Kansas @ Streetfest Saturday – The Story Behind ‘Dust in the Wind’

El Paso’s largest Fourth of July celebration, The Downtown Street Festival, is drawing near. This year’s two day party concludes Saturday night and will feature Kansas on the main outdoor stage.

Mostly known for the hard rocking classic “Carry On My Wayward Son,” it was the uncharacteristic ballad “Dust In the Wind” that became the band’s biggest selling and highest charting song. But that almost didn’t happen. 

“Dust in the Wind” was actually a last-minute addition to their 1977 album “Point of Know Return.” The story goes that the guitar line we’re all now familiar with was written by guitarist Kerry Livgren as a warm-up finger exercise. Hearing him play it one day, his wife remarked that the melody was nice, and suggested he write lyrics for it. Livgren did, drawing inspiration from his realization that one day he, like everyone else, would die, the well-known biblical passage Genesis 3:19 (“…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”) and a book of Native American poetry which included the line “for all we are is dust in the wind.”

Initially Livgren was reluctant to even play it for the rest of the band, as it was acoustic and not at all typical of their sound. But in the end his bandmates were down with it, and the last minute addition has gone on to become a timeless pop culture classic. (You’re my boy, Blue!)

Watch “Dust In the Wind”:

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