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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.

Point of Know Return
Kansas - Point of Know Return.jpg
Cover painting by Peter Lloyd
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 11, 1977 (1977-10-11)
RecordedStudio in the Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana, June 1977
Woodland Sound, Nashville, Tennessee, July 1977
GenreProgressive rock
ProducerJeff Glixman
Kansas chronology
Point of Know Return
Two for the Show
Singles from Point of Know Return
  1. "Point of Know Return" / "Closet Chronicles"
    Released: 1977
  2. "Dust in the Wind" / "Paradox"
    Released: January 16, 1978
  3. "Portrait (He Knew)" / "Lightning's Hand"
    Released: June 1978


Composition and recordingEdit

Singer/songwriter Steve Walsh left the group briefly during the recording of the album.[1] 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.[1][2]

"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.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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
AllMusic     [4]

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.[5] 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."[4]

Point of Know Return would be Kansas' highest charting album in the US, peaking at No. 4 in January 1978,[6] and would sell four million copies in the US and be certified Quadruple Platinum by the RIAA.[7]

Cultural impactEdit

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'". The album cover has become an iconic image from the album rock era, appearing on the background of the set of VH1 Classic, on tee shirts worn by characters in movies and on TV, and in other places.

In October 2009, a live version of the title track was released as a downloadable add-on to the Harmonix video game Rock Band. The title track has also been used in a 2009 State Farm commercial, in which a man sings along to it in his parked car.

In the 2008 movie The Rocker, Rainn Wilson's character Robert Fishman is seen wearing a Point of Know Return T-shirt.

"Nobody's Home" is sampled by rapper J Dilla on the song "So Far" on his 2016 posthumous release The Diary. The sample is not the Kansas version of the song.

Track listingEdit

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

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.



Note: The album's performing credits listed one joke "instrument" for each band member, such as "chain-driven gong", "autogyro", "Rinaldo whistling machine", and "Peabody chromatic inverter".




Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1995 4x Platinum (+ 4,000,000)[7]
Canada CRIA 1978 Platinum (+ 100,000)[21]


  1. ^ a b Wild, David (2002). Point of Know Return (CD Booklet). Kansas. New York City: Legacy Recordings. p. 3. EK 85387.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b Taylor, Robert. "Kansas - Point of Know Return review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Kansas Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: Search for Kansas". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  8. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 29, No. 3, April 15, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. April 15, 1978. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  9. ^ " Note : You must select Kansas". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "Kansas – Point of Know Return". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 28, No. 17, January 21, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. January 21, 1978. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Kansas Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 29, No. 7, May 13, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. May 13, 1978. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Kansas Chart History: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  15. ^ " Note : You must select Kansas". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "Kansas – Dust in the Wind". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Kansas – Dust in the Wind". Ultratop (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  18. ^ "Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Song)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 29, No. 15, July 08, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. July 8, 1978. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Kansas". Music Canada. Retrieved December 26, 2017.