After listening to some song by Styx, not only will you enjoy the lyrics, music, and vocals, but you will also feel, at times, like you’ve just taken part in an enjoyable and engaging theatrical performance. This is the power of Styx.
If you’ve never heard of Styx, we’re glad you stopped by. Famous for their work in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Styx is a prog-rock band that blends heavy hard-rock guitar with strong ballads, musical theater, and opera. Styx is unlike any other band out there.
Twin brothers, Chuck (guitar) and John Panozzo (drums) joined with their neighbor, Dennis DeYoung (vocals and keyboards) under the name, The Tradewinds, in Chicago in 1961.
After a bout on the college circuit the trio added two more members, John Curulewski and James “J.Y” Young, and then they the changed their name to Styx, which is the river in Greek mythology that connects Earth and the Underworld.) Tommy Shaw replaced Curulewski in 1976.
REASON TO BELIEVE
If you have decided to give Styx a listen but don’t know where to start, know that while listening to Styx songs, it’s important to keep an open mind.
“Come Sail Away,” one of their bigger hits, is about being abducted by aliens, and the Kilroy Was Here album is a conceptual piece that recreates a rock opera about a futuristic world where singing and performing rock music has been outlawed due to the efforts of Dr. Evert Righteous, an evangelist.
It may help to know that part of the Kilroy Was Here album was inspired by a California religious group accusing Styx of backmasking satanic messages into one of their songs from the Paradise Theatre album, “Snowblind.”
If theatrical-themed songs aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. There are two sides to Styx.
On one hand, you have the elaborate, conceptual albums Styx became known for, but on the other hand, you’ve got the hard-rock songs that have come to represent classic rock in general.
Songs like “Renegade,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Blue Collar Man,” and “Too Much Time On My Hands” are all great hard-rock songs that are catchy and easy on the ears, and “Babe” is one of the best power ballads of all time, edging out “Lady,” another awesome ballad from the Styx II album.
All bands have their demons, and for Styx, they suffered from creative differences. DeYoung wanted the theatrics, but Tommy Shaw wanted to stick to the hard rock.
The band eventually broke up in 1984, with both DeYoung and Shaw launching solo careers. Neither one achieved the same success as Styx.
Whether it’s the theatrics or the hard rock you’re looking for, Styx has a whole lot of both. If you think hard rock is too harsh to sing along to, give Styx a try. You’ll find their music is both catchy and rockin’.
If you just want to rock without the theater, that’s fine, but we’d be willing to gamble that even the most serious rocker won’t mind going to the theater when Styx is playing.
The song was rerecorded for Styx: Greatest Hits under the title "Lady '95", but whichever version of the song you go with, "Lady" is a must-have for your collection.
One thing's for sure, there's a lot of Styx to go around and their style is so eclectic there's bound to be something in there for everyone.