Steve Morse has enjoyed a healthy following particularly among guitar players, he has scored highly in readers' polls held annually by musicians' magazines. Although initially inspired by the Beatles as a teen, Morse began to expand his listening to include the Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. Although he played a little piano and some clarinet, he became fascinated with guitar after seeing a concert by classical guitarist Juan Mercadal, who later gave the teenaged Morse some lessons. Deeply influenced by a campus performance by John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra while he was attending the University of Miami, Morse decided to focus on instrumental rock music; in 1974 he put together his first band, the Dixie Dregs (later simply the Dregs), which would go on to become one of the defining groups in the fusion genre. After Morse had fronted the Dregs on some 14 albums, the Steve Morse Band began their recording career in 1984. Soon after, Elektra Records snatched Morse up and he cut two albums for the label, The Introduction in 1984 and Stand Up in 1985, before joining Kansas and appearing on two of the arena prog band's albums for the MCA label, Power (1986) and In the Spirit of Things (1988).