Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line that caught his attention was, "For all we are is dust in the wind." This got him thinking about the true value of material things and the meaning of success. The band was doing well and making money, but Kerry realized that in the end, he would eventually die just like everyone else. No matter our possessions or accomplishments, we all end up back in the ground.
Kerry Livgren wrote this song when he was under pressure to write a follow-up to the group's hit, "Carry On Wayward Son." While playing his acoustic guitar exercises, his wife suggested that putting lyrics to the patterns would yield his hit song. "I didn't think it was a Kansas-type song," he told Bruce Pollock. "She said, 'Give it a try anyway.' Several million records later, I guess she was right."
Kansas was almost done writing and rehearsing the Point of Know Return album when their producer, Jeff Glixman, asked if they had any more songs. Livgren reluctantly played this song for his bandmates on acoustic guitar, insisting they wouldn't like it because it was not Kansas. To his surprise, they loved the song and insisted they record it. Livgren then fought against his own song, but was overruled. "Dust In The Wind" became their biggest hit, but Livgren never did think very highly of it. "I tend to like the more bombastic things, like 'The Wall,' he said in his interview with Pollock.
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