In Kansas' "Dust in the Wind", is the "now" in "now don't hang on":

(A) a direction to the other band members to come in now, as it comes at the end of an instrumental section; or

(B) an intended part of the lyric, i.e. "now don't hang on"?

  • It certainly sounds like a spoken cue, it doesn’t seem to have any musical connection to the phrase that follows it. Maybe it got captured by a live mic during tracking and they decided to leave it in. That’s just my personal observation. Dec 29, 2021 at 3:57
  • I always felt it was a transition word to bring the vocals back into the song. Just saying, "Don't hang on" sounds harsher than "Now don't hang on", to my ears at least. Jan 4, 2022 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


In the original recording, it's ambiguous whether it's a cue or lyric ...

... though to my ear, it sounds like a cue. I think, however, based on later recordings, a cue to himself.

In an early live recording, though, it's clearly made part of the lyrics.

Kansas in 1978

However it started out, over time it's clearly become an expected part of the song. In two live recordings, "now" is replaced by "yeah".

Kansas in ???

Kansas in 2009

My sense of it is that it serves to help the singer transition from being emotionally involved in the instrumental section to taking up the lead vocals again.

In covers, some singers include it ...

Cover by The Scorpions

... and some don't.

Cover by Brian May / Kerry Ellis (2013)

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