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Styx

Although they began as an artsy prog rock band, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late '70s and early '80s, due to a fondness for bombastic rockers and soaring power ballads. The seeds for the band were planted in another Chicago band during the late '60s, the Tradewinds, which featured brothers Chuck and John Panozzo (who played bass and drums, respectively), as well as acquaintance Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards). By the dawn of the '70s, the group had changed its name to TW4, and welcomed aboard a pair of guitarists/vocalists, James "JY" Young and John Curulewski -- securing a recording contract in 1972 with Wooden Nickel Records (a subsidiary of RCA). Soon after, the group opted to change its name once more, this time to Styx, named after a river from Greek mythology that ran through "the land of the dead" in the underworld.

Early on, Styx's music reflected such then-current prog rockers as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Moody Blues, as evidenced by such releases as 1972's self-titled debut, 1973's Styx II, 1974's The Serpent Is Rising, and 1975's Man of Miracles. While the albums (as well as nonstop touring) helped the group build a substantial following locally, Styx failed to break through to the mainstream, until the track "Lady," originally from their second album, started to get substantial airplay in late 1974 on Chicago radio station WLS-FM. The song was soon issued as a single nationwide, and quickly shot to number six on the singles chart, as Styx II was certified gold. By this time, however, the group had grown disenchanted with its record label, and opted to sign on with A&M for their fifth release overall, 1975's Equinox (the band's former label would issue countless compilations over the years, culled from tracks off their early releases). On the eve of the tour in support of the album, Curulewski abruptly left the band, and was replaced by Tommy Shaw (sadly, Curulewski would pass away from an aneurysm in 1988). Shaw proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Styx, as most of their subsequent releases throughout the late '70s earned at least platinum certification (1976's Crystal Ball, 1977's The Grand Illusion, 1978's Pieces of Eight, and 1979's Cornerstone), and spawned such hit singles and classic rock radio standards as "Come Sail Away," "Renegade," "Blue Collar Man," "Fooling Yourself," and the power ballad "Babe."

Despite the enormous success of "Babe," it caused tension within the group -- specifically between Shaw and DeYoung (the latter of whom was the song's author), as the guitarist wanted Styx to continue in a more hard rock-based direction, while DeYoung sought to pursue more melodic and theatrically based works. This led to DeYoung's brief ouster from the group (although it was kept completely hush-hush at the time), before a reconciliation occurred. The bandmembers decided that their first release of the '80s would be a concept album, 1981's Paradise Theater, which was loosely based on the rise and fall of a once beautiful theater (which was supposedly used as a metaphor for the state of the U.S. at the time -- the Iranian hostage situation, the Cold War, Reagan, etc.). Paradise Theater became Styx's biggest hit of their career (selling over three million copies in a three-year period), as they became one of the U.S. top rock acts due to such big hit singles as "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "The Best of Times." But the behind-the-scenes bickering only intensified in the wake of the album's success, as DeYoung was now convinced that a more theatrical approach was the future direction for Styx. Shaw and the rest of the group begrudgingly went along, and while the resulting follow-up was another hit, 1983's sci-fi-based Kilroy Was Here (which told the story of a future where rock & roll was outlawed, almost a carbon copy of the story line of Rush's 2112), the album would eventually lead to the group's breakup -- as the ensuing prop-heavy tour seemed to focus more on scripted dialogue and lengthy films than good old rock & roll.

A forgettable live album, Caught in the Act, was issued in 1984, before Styx went on hiatus, and the majority of the bandmembers pursued solo projects throughout the remainder of the decade. DeYoung issued 1984's Desert Moon (which spawned a moderate hit single with its reflective title track), 1986's Back to the World, and 1988's Boomchild, Young released 1986's City Slicker, while Shaw put forth several solo sets -- 1984's Girls with Guns, 1985's What If?, 1986's Live in Japan, and 1987's Ambition. Shaw then formed Damn Yankees along with former Night Ranger bassist/singer Jack Blades, guitarist Ted Nugent, and drummer Michael Cartellone, a group that enjoyed commercial success right off the bat with its self-titled debut in 1990 (due to the hit power ballad "High Enough"), before issuing an unsuccessful sophomore effort two years later, Don't Tread. During Shaw's tenure with Damn Yankees, Styx had re-formed with newcomer Glen Burtnik taking the place of Shaw -- issuing a new studio album in 1990, Edge of the Century, which spawned yet another hit power ballad, "Show Me the Way." But the Styx reunion was a fleeting one, as the group's members went their separate ways shortly thereafter -- with DeYoung going on to play Pontius Pilate in a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar (and issuing an album of Broadway show tunes, 1994's 10 on Broadway), while Young issued a pair of solo discs (1994's Out on a Day Pass and 1995's Raised by Wolves), and Shaw teamed up with Jack Blades for the short-lived outfit Shaw Blades (issuing a lone recording in 1995, Hallucination).

A re-recording of their early hit "Lady" (titled "Lady '95") for a Greatest Hits compilation finally united Shaw with his former Styx bandmates, which led to a full-on reunion tour in 1996. But drummer John Panozzo fell seriously ill at the time (due to a long struggle with alcoholism), which prevented him from joining the proceedings -- and he passed away in July of the same year. Although grief-stricken, Styx persevered with new drummer Todd Sucherman taking the place of Panozzo, as the Styx reunion tour became a surprise sold-out success, resulting in the release of a live album/video, 1997's Return to Paradise, while a whole new generation of rock fans was introduced to the grandiose sounds of Styx via a humorous car ad which used the track "Mr. Roboto," as well as songs used in such TV shows as South Park and Freaks & Geeks. The group even stuck around long enough to issue a new studio album, 1999's Brave New World, before friction within the band set in once again.

With the other Styx members wanting to soldier on with further albums and tours, DeYoung was forced to take a break when he developed an uncommon viral ailment, which made the singer extremely sensitive to light. DeYoung was able to eventually overcome his disorder, but not before Shaw and Young opted to enlist new singer Larry Gowan and issued a pair of live releases in the early 21st century -- 2000's Arch Allies: Live at Riverport (split 50-50 between Styx and REO Speedwagon) and 2001's Styx World: Live 2001. DeYoung began touring as a solo artist at the same time, and eventually attempted to sue Shaw and Young over the use of the name Styx (the lawsuit was eventually settled in late 2001). Around the same time, Chuck Panozzo confirmed rumors that he had contracted AIDS (but was battling the virus successfully), while the turbulent career of Styx was told in an entertaining episode of VH1's Behind the Music.

In the spring of 2003, a new studio album featuring Gowan arrived in stores. For Cyclorama, Styx consisted of Shaw, Young, Burtnik, Sucherman, and Gowan. The album also featured guest appearances from John Waite, Brian Wilson, and actor Billy Bob Thornton. By the end of the year, Burtnik was out of the band and replaced by former Bad English and Babys member Ricky Phillips, although Panozzo did play with the group on selected live dates. The two-CD Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology from 2004 did an excellent job representing the band's career, while 2005's double-disc The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings collected the band's first four albums. That same year, Styx released the cover version-filled Big Bang Theory, featuring some of their favorite picks from the Great Rock Songbook. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Comments

One of greatest bands ever....
Styx = Great memories.... .
Loved them then, love them now!
jalong956
Great band
Free at last
gbeech7
If you are a real Styx you will want the older albums so where is the rest of their albums?
Dennis DeYoung...Ab s o l u t e l y one of the greatest voices
A senior in H.S. when this song first came out - Good Times!!!
brendao37
layin out in the summer sun perfect kinda day
brendao37
purple dot and Styx and off I go!!!!!!!
Still awesome after all these years
DeYoung was the voice but Shaw was the brains.
mlitsceo
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
Great rock what it was
am 68 yrs old but still love this music.
Saw Dennis DeYoung at Summerfest in Milwaukee. Fantastic voice.
dlearned19
This album was when Styx was at their best.
Without Dennis Styx would have been just a footnote. "Oh yeah" I remember that band. Not the supergroup that they became to be!
Equinox rocks! "Suite Madame Blue" Dennis DeYoung was a star. Tommy Shaw is a grunt.
Always a favorite song of mine! I just love it :)
I loved Styx until Mr Roboto...Tha t was stupid. Dennis De Young.......
dtousley01
Styx is the first band I ever listened to. I am probably their youngest fan (I'm 12) and I know more of their old songs than most people! I have at least 2 albums memorized by heart: Paradise Theater, Kilroy was here, Pieces of Eight, Equinox, and moat of the Grand Illusion.
luckyheartz7 7
You always said he had the most beautiful voice Mama. For you:-) I love you:-)
I got into them because renegade is the Steelers theme song. Now I'm obsessed with Mr. Roboto and Styx is like the only 80s I listen to.
Don't read bc it works you'll be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post you'll die in 2 days. Put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press ft and your lover's name will appear on the screen. (Sorry about this. I hate these but I take no chances.)
charbar416
I love this song and I heard it on supernatural
STYX IS THE REASON I GOT INTO ROCK AND ROLL AND MUSIC PERIOD!!!! I REMEMBER MY UNCLE GIVING ME THE TAPE OF THE GRAND ILLUSION AND THE REST IS HISTORY PEOPLE!!!!!! :-)
milosdad
Great song, Man in the Wilderness. That's the parodox of Styx. Some songs have depth and rock while others are just straight pop. They had enough to get me to see them more than once. Grand Illusion tour was my favorite.
desiree.whee l e r
the best of times
Styx really showed the way
desiree.whee l e r
Styx reminds me of high school life was so much simpler then
I just Mr. Roboto-ed my pants....
thanks for wasting a comment samkpaulsen
samkpaulsen
This old. Dubstep better.
milosdad
Witt84z0, you should not speak for everyone. I found stairway to kasmir's comments interesting and I care.
Tommy Shaw wanted arena rock....Denn i s DeYoung wanted soft rock......Wh o can remember/for g e t MR ROBOTO..... That was Dennis Deyoung....T h a t was the stupidest song ever. If I was Tommy, I would punch Dennis straight in the .........
davender51
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the scree n in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works!
witt84z0
stairway_to_ k a s h m i r . . . . no one cares. Unless of course you have a Tradewinds pic with all the band members handwritten autographs.. . . b u t you don't,,,(ref r a i n ) . . . n o one cares
read the bio for styx. my grandpa was in the tradewinds, the band that eventually formed into styx. the only reason he wasn't in styx was because he decided to serve in the army instead.
Equinox was the best!
Styx still rocks awesome!
I seen Kansas and Styx in indianapolis ind. . It was Wild!!!!
My FAVORITE Styx song!!! Gives me goosebumps everytime!!!
kvons1
STYX ---Melbourne , Fl.--- BCC / King Center 2/28/14--- GREAT CONCERT!
I saw Styx at the Strawberry Festival!
They Rock !
dencatt
Saw Styx a couple years ago at the Silver Legacy in Tahoe. Styx was before my generation and i really didn't expect much (your know Grandpa Rockers) . Was i surprised! This was one of the funnest shows I have ever been to. They sounded great!
pmlgrr
Oops Oh mama I've been years on the lamb??? Try lam, please.
@peteg05149 seriously do you think that posting a chain comment will get you kissed and that it will kill you if you don't do it? Please just stop. Thank you.
Read my bio por favor and follow
Fantastic song!
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