Kansas has always enjoyed plenty of musical weapons during its 48-year history. Among those, Robby Steinhardt was a quadruple threat — a songwriter and frontman whose violin helped define and differentiate the troupe’s particular prog rock sound and whose hearty vocal holler provided a rough-hewn counterpart to Steve Walsh’s keening tenor.

In other words, Steinhardt — whose death on July 17, at the age of 71 was announced Monday — made his mark and was as responsible for what fans loved about Kansas during his two tenures with the band as any of the group’s other assets. You can needle-drop any of the albums he was part of and find a Steinhardt highlight, especially when he was front-and-center singing as well as playing. In the wake of his passing these are his 10 finest and most memorable contributions to the Kansas canon.

10. “Magnum Opus”
From: Leftoverture (1976)

The band-composed album-closing suite on Kansas’ breakthrough album is testimony to Steinhardt’s tightly woven place in the ensemble. He has a few standout moments in the “Man Overboard” and “Release the Beavers” segments, but much of his contribution is understated and complementary to the overall orchestration.

9. “Child of Innocence”
From: Masque (1975)

Steinhardt puts the violin down (until the end) and holds his own as lead vocalist amidst the guitar fusillade of one of Kansas’ most ferocious rockers, also demonstrating the rich harmonic chemistry that made he and Walsh so potent together on Kansas’ first seven albums.

8. “Apercu”
From: Kansas (1974)

An ebb-and-flow epic from Kansas’ self-titled debut that showcases Steinhardt as both player and singer, with violin solos skying in and out of the mix and in many cases leading the intricate arrangement.

7. “Lamplight Symphony”
From: Song For America (1975)

Look at the title…duh! Any self-respecting “Symphony” has violin parts, and Steinhardt finds plenty of spots to assert himself and make sure the piece lives up to its grand moniker.

6. “Icarus — Borne on Wings of Steel”
From: Masque (1975)

After a pair of modest (and short) opening tracks, Steinhardt’s violin lines usher Kansas’ third album into a more challenging trajectory, accenting the song’s dramatic structure as both lead and rhythm instrument and insuring it is indeed “soaring on the wings of dawn.”

5. “Bringing It Back”
From: Kansas (1974)

Kansas was hardly a cover band, but Steinhardt took the reins on its hopped-up version of this J.J. Cale tune for the group’s debut album and took it to Mexico and back. His muscular delivery blends a sense of defiance and urgent despair, with a violin solo that’s teeters on the verge of control.

4. “Mysteries and Mayhem”/”The Pinnacle”
From: Masque (1975)

Two separate tracks but, for all purposes, a unified piece that uses Steinhardt’s violin as part of the fabric and features his alternating lead vocals with Walsh on both songs.

3. “Song For America”
From: Song For America (1975)

Steinhardt’s parts in this cascading history book suite may have been written by Kerry Livgren, but he delivers them with a richness fortified by his classical training. It’s abundantly present as both lead and support instrument throughout, and his harmony and lead vocals slide comfortably in and out of Walsh’s to fortify the song’s majestic reach.

2. “Down the Road”
From: Song For America (1975)

This is Steinhardt’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” a roadhouse dust-up that alternates growling vocals with hellfire violin breaks. He may be running from Big Mike and from trouble of his own making, but on this compact track he sounds like the last guy you’d want to meet on a dark street or alley.

1. “Dust in the Wind”
From: Point of Know Return (1977)

Kansas’ unlikely Top 10 hit features a double-tracked Steinhardt solo section in which he plays call-and-response with himself on violin and viola. He does the same with his vocals during the song’s outro, sounding like a specter blowing in gently from the plains.

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