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"Carry On Wayward Son"
Single by Kansas
from the album Leftoverture
A-side "Carry On Wayward Son"
B-side "Questions of My Childhood"
Released October 1976
Recorded December 1975
Genre Progressive rock
Hard Rock
Length 5:26
Label Kirshner Records
Writer(s) Kerry Livgren
Producer Jeff Glixman, Kansas
Kansas singles chronology
"It Takes a Woman's Love (To Make a Man)"
"Carry On Wayward Son"
"What's on My Mind"

"Carry On Wayward Son" is a hit progressive rock single recorded by Kansas and written by Kerry Livgren for their 1976 album Leftoverture. In 1977, the song peaked at #11 on the Billboard pop singles chart, becoming their first Top 40 hit. Because of its lyrics, the song is often misnamed as "Carry On My Wayward Son".

The 7" single has been certified Gold by the RIAA. This version was a much shorter version of the song, edited down to 3:26, a version that was also the band's only single to chart in the UK, reaching the top 60 there. It was also the first 12" single released anywhere by the band when it was released in the UK in that format, thought it was still the edited version. All initial releases of the single had a B-side of "Questions of My Childhood," continuing the tradition of Kansas and many other bands with multiple songwriters of putting a song by band's other primary writer on the B-side of any single.[citation needed]

This song is 96th on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.[1]



  • "Carry On Wayward Son" was used in the film Heroes with Henry Winkler and Sally Field. It would normally appear in the last four minutes of the film where Winkler is running down the street, then to crouch down in shame and agony, after being told his friend from Vietnam was shot in the war. When MCA purchased the film, they removed that footage and the audio track, and replaced it with different footage of Winkler in fetal position being embraced by Field, and a different song.
  • "Carry On Wayward Son" is played in the ending credits of the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The song was also played in the film's theatrical trailer.
  • The song appears in the film Happy Gilmore when Happy goes to his first tournament.
  • It is played for a brief section in Joe Dirt as David Spade cruises in his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.
  • The song is played over the end credits of the 2009 film Gentlemen Broncos.


  • "Carry On Wayward Son" has been used to promote the The CW Television Network television show Supernatural, and is used in the recaps on each seasons' finale: "Salvation" (Season 1, Episode 21), "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" (Season 2, Episode 22), "No Rest For the Wicked" (Season 3, Episode 16), and "Lucifer Rising" (Season 4, Episode 22). Fans commonly link the show to the song now, due to its use and lyrics (the lead characters are from Kansas as well).
  • Stephen Colbert sings "Carry On Wayward Son" during the end credits of the episode "Yes You Can't" of the television series Strangers with Candy. His character is also heard listening to it in the later episode "The Blank Page".
  • On the "Cocktails" episode of the US version of The Office, the song is being played in the bar when Pam tells Roy about the kiss she and Jim had, and when Roy and his brother trash the bar.
  • The U.S. television network PBS sometimes plays the song during advertisements for upcoming shows.
  • The song is featured on the South Park episode "Guitar Queer-o", as performed by Randy Marsh.
  • In the King of The Hill episode "My Own Private Rodeo", Dale flashes back to the reception of his and Nancy's wedding, as "Carry On Wayward Son" is played in the background.
  • Amanda Overmyer performed "Carry On Wayward Son" on American Idol (season 7).
  • A gifted student sings the song after being accidentally rendered stupid in the "Young, Gifted & Crude" episode of Beavis and Butt-head.
  • On the "My Lawyer's In Love" episode of Scrubs, Ted's a cappella band, The Worthless Peons, sings the song to build Ted's confidence to talk to Stephanie Gooch, a woman he likes.
  • The song was used in Drawn Together episode, "Dumb & Dumbers", when Wooldoor accidentally hits a song in a panic room.

Band members


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