All I Wanted

Album: Power (1986)
Charted: 19
Play Video


  • What we have here is a power ballad by Kansas. The '80s was filled with rockers from the '70s who got on MTV and added keyboards to their mix (Yes, Chicago and Heart come to mind), but Kansas missed this train, scoring just minor hits in the video era with "Play The Game Tonight" (#17, 1982) and "All I Wanted."

    This song is a classic heartbreak ballad, with lead singer Steve Walsh whinging over a breakup, telling the girl that all he wanted was to hold her, touch her, and love her. It was a giant leap from the classic Kansas sound of the previous decade, where they were known for intricate songs like "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Point Of Know Return." In the '00s, Kansas embraced their prog side by touring with Yes, but in 1989, their tourmates were Night Ranger.
  • This song was written by lead singer Steve Walsh and guitarist Steve Morse. Kansas broke up in 1983 after a poorly attended tour. Kerry Livgren, who was their original guitarist and composer of many of their most popular songs, formed his own band called AD, which recorded Christian rock. When the band got back together in 1986, Morse replaced Livgren, both as guitarist and songwriter.

    Morse was a founding member of an eclectic group called The Dixie Dregs, and would later join Deep Purple. In our interview with Morse, he explained how this song came together. "It was mostly a Steve Walsh song that he had been trying to get to fit with Kansas for a couple of albums," he said. "I came in after that was mostly written, and thought, 'You know what? If we change this and this and put in this instrumental and then have this at the end of your phrase, we have that payoff with this guitar line, or do it as a string line, that that would be really cool.'

    You know how when somebody walks in and you've been working on something, and they say, 'Hey, you moved this and this around. It'll work, definitely.' That's all I did."
  • The music video was a bricolage of black-and-white footage, close-ups of Steve Walsh, and some of the rotoscoping effects seen in the a-ha video for "Take On Me." Oddly, Walsh and Morse are the only band members who appear in the clip.

Comments: 1

  • Brooks from Tallahassee, Fl, UsaLyrics aren't everything, and computerization is not all bad. This is a great 3-minute song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.

The Evolution of "Ophelia"

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds

Jim McCarty of The YardbirdsSongwriter Interviews

The Yardbirds drummer explains how they created their sound and talks about working with their famous guitarists.

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?