''Song for America'' is the second album by American rock band Kansas, released in 1975 (see 1975 in music). Endless touring had given Kansas a small following of loyal fans, some of whom would follow the group from one show to another. Despite the minor success of their debut album, they were still, for the most part, a struggling bar band.
While ''Song for America'' did little to change that, it is regarded by many as their most progressive and heavy work, as their next albums would transit into a softer format. "Down the Road" is a typical example of Kansas with this heavy sound. Like the first album, the writing duties were divided between Kerry Livgren and the former members of White Clover, most notably vocalist / keyboardist Steve Walsh.
Musically, ''Song for America'' features complex arrangements for electric and acoustic guitar, violin, and keyboards (including piano, organ, and Arp and Moog synthesizers). Lyrically, Kansas had begun to take a dark turn. Walsh’s songs reflected life on the street ("Lonely Street"), drug dealing ("Down the Road"), and temptation by Satan ("The Devil Game"). Livgren’s world included a haunting ghost story ("Lamplight Symphony"), a hymn to the Atman ("Incomudro"), and the album’s sweeping title track, which is regarded by violinist Robby Steinhardt as the band’s signature song. The record company's effort to turn this 10-minute piece into a short hit single by cutting it down to a sloppily edited 3 minutes (with an "instrumental" version on the b-side) failed to impress radio stations. The song has suffered other edits as well, including a spliced edit as lead track on Kansas's first live album, and a minute chopped off of the original studio version on several compilations. The 45" edit resurfaced 30 years later as a bonus track on the remastered release, which provided much needed improved sound as well as expanded liner notes, rare photos, and a vintage live version of "Down the Road."