Using the rudiments of prog rock and the power of an anthem, 1976's "Carry On Wayward Son" became just the single to catapult the band's Leftoverture album into a multi-million seller. While quite of few of the songs of the time where better equipped to deal with the specifics of angst, "Carry On Wayward Son" did its best work musically.
That sense is evident in the song's construction. This begins with the chorus, the hard charging guitars, and, later, lead singer Steve Walsh's vocals. Lyrically this isn't Shakespeare with its nautical metaphors and sophomoric poesy. While many like-minded songs would crumble under that fact, this oddly doesn't. That being said, Walsh is most effective away from the pretensions. Walsh and the players seem to warm up as the song goes along. Shouting a simple "don't you cry no more," he articulates the confusion the earlier lines seemed to hint at. After an ear-splitting guitar solo, Walsh goes back for more and screams another "no more." Is it overwrought? Sure, but it also sounds great. This song was also used to great effect in the 1977 film Heroes, which starred Henry Winkler, Sally Field, and Harrison Ford. While most of Leftoverture may have been forgotten to some, "Carry On Wayward Son" remains a high point of late-'70s rock.