Although the band re-united in recent years to record new albums, Kansas was at its best and most successful in the mid- to late-1970s. Kansas combined British-style progressive rock with elements of early '70s heavy metal and classical music, managing to maintain a hard rock edge throughout. Instrumentally, Kansas' music is known for the constant presence of the violin as a lead instrument, dual lead guitars (a la Wishbone Ash), extensive orchestration, and melodic interplay and tight playing. They wrote and executed songs that listeners could sing along to.
Kerry Livgren's philosophical/spiritual lyrics are purely-rendered by Steve Walsh's strong, smooth vocals, often sung in duet with violinist Robby Steinhardt. While staking their claim on the musical consciousness of the '80s, Kansas claimed two of classic rock's most cherished hits: "Carry on Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind." Kansas retains their popularity with a cult-like audience; in 2009 the band recorded a concert in Topeka, Kansas with a full symphony orchestra for a CD and DVD release. The DVD hit #5 on the Billboard charts, attesting to the band's longevity.