For about a year in the mid 1970s, I was a fan of U.S. prog rock band Kansas.
What I am a little embarrassed to admit, however, is that it took me 36 years to finally get the pun in the title of their 1976 breakthrough album: Leftoverture.
My son and I were eating at our favorite fast food joint, Bellingham’s own Pel Meni. And, as I wrote a couple of years ago, besides the food the main attraction of Pel Meni is the massive vinyl record collection they have and the turntable sitting out so that guests can choose their own music.
Anyway, Leftoverture was the record playing when we arrived, someone had propped up the album cover in the “Now Playing” position, and as we waited for our dumplings I stared at the album cover and it’s Michelangelo-esque artwork and…
…it hit me. Leftover…ture.
See, I’d always pronounced the title, as did everybody else, with a slight pause between “left” and “overture.” My friends pronounced it like this. DJs on the radio pronounced it like this. And I was a rabid music geek, reading everything I could get my hands on about the bands I discovered, and I never came across a reference to the pun in Leftoverture.
So, there it is. One part embarrassing admission, two parts rationalization, three parts…well, arguably WAY too much time spent on the subject.
I’ll wrap up by spending a little more time with it.
Kansas was a highly unlikely success. A band without pedigree (no members had had any prior success worth mentioning in any prior group), a rag tag group of Midwesterners riding a genre wave set in motion in the late 1960s and early 1970s by bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Genesis, but by the mid 1970s a wave that had already crashed on the shores and was about to break apart.
You can say what you want about the band, about how cheesy the music sounds today, but you can’t watch the following video of them in action and NOT admire their total commitment, and how thoroughly keyboardist/singer Steve Walsh rocks the short running shorts and sweat socks!