Robby Steinhardt, the co-founding violinist of Kansas, died on July 17th from complications of acute pancreatitis at the age of 71. Steinhardt, who was born in Lawrence, Kansas, co-founded an early version of Kansas in 1970 when his band Saratoga merged with White Clover. Steinhardt’s tenure in Kansas spanned two runs — from 1973 to 1982 and from 1997 to 2006, when he retired.
A statement for Robby Steinhardt’s family reads:
Robert Eugene Steinhardt, was well recognized as a founding member and original violinist and vocalist for the rock band Kansas. His violin and vocals on, ‘Dust In The Wind,’ ‘Point Of No Return,’ and ‘Carry On Wayward Son,’ have etched Robby a solid place in rock history.
Robby had been recording his new album with producer Michael Franklin, who put together an all-star cast of famous musicians in support of Robby’s comeback. Steinhardt was very proud of this project, slated for release in late 2021. He had begun rehearsals for a national tour when he became ill.
Robby is survived by his wife Cindy, and daughter Becky. Steinhardt was 71 years old. He will be deeply missed by all he knew and his music will last forever. A memorial will be announced in the future.
Kansas saluted its co-founder by posting:
The members of the band Kansas, past and present, wish to express our deepest sorrow over the death of our bandmate and friend, Robby Steinhardt.
Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music.
What he brought to us as bandmates, to the fans who attended our concerts, and to the sound of Kansas, will always be heartfelt.
We love him and will miss him always.
- In 2015, Kansas released its documentary Miracles Out Of Nowhere, which shed important new light on the band’s formation and early years up through its late-‘70s success.
- Leftoverture, which was released on October 21st, 1976, hit Number Five on the Billboard 200 album charts, and featured Kansas’ instant classic, “Carry On My Wayward Son,” which peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Point Of Know Return was released on October 11th, 1977 and peaked at Number Four. The title track became an instant FM-standard topping out at Number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s followup, “Dust In The Wind,” became the band’s sole Top 10 single in early-1978 hitting Number Six.
CHECK IT OUT: Kansas’ 1977 video for “Dust In The Wind”: