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Styx

Styx

Rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Styx, one of the most successful arena rock groups of all time, was born on the South Side of Chicago in the late 1960s. Tradewinds, a trio formed by neighbors Dennis DeYoung and Chuck and John Panozzo, offered a distinctive blend of driving rock n roll rhythms with classical-influenced melodic themes. The group, which formed while DeYoung and the twin Panozzo brothers were in high school, was transformed into TW4 with the addition of guitarist John Curulewski, a fellow student at Chicago State University. In 1970 James JY Young, a guitarist with a rival band, joined the group. Not long thereafter the group cut a demo tape that eventually came to the attention of Wooden Nickel Records, a regional label and subsidiary of RCA, with whom TW4 signed a recording contract in 1972; label executives insisted, however, that the group change its name. The band members eventually settled on Styx, mostly because it was the only one of the hundreds of names theyd considered that no one in the group actively hated.

For their debut album, Wooden Nickel recommended the group focus on material written by other people, not their own compositions. Much to Wooden Nickels surprise, however, the only song from that first album to hit the top 100 was Best Thing, a track cowritten by

For the Record

Members include Glen Burtnik (born on April 8, 1955, in Irvington, NJ; joined group, 1983), bass; John Curulewski (left group, 1975; died 1987), guitar; Dennis DeYoung (born on February 18, 1947, in Chicago, IL; left group, 1999), vocals, keyboards; Lawrence Gowan (born in Glasgow, Scotland; joined group, 1999), vocals, keyboards; Chuck Panozzo (born on September 20, 1948, in Chicago, IL), bass; John Panozzo (born on September 20, 1948, in Chicago, IL; died on July 19, 1996), drums; Tommy Shaw (born on September 11, 1953; joined group, 1975), vocals, guitar; Todd Sucherman (born on May 2, 1969, in Chicago, IL; joined group, 1996), drums; James Young (born on November 14, 1949, in Chicago, IL; joined group, 1970), vocals, guitar.

Group formed as Tradewinds by DeYoung and Panozzo twins in Chicago, late 1960s; later added Curulewski on guitar and changed name to TW4; band renamed Styx, late 1970s; signed recording contract with Wooden Nickel Records, 1972; released four albums for the label, including Styx, Styx II, and The Serpent Is Rising; group signed recording contract with A&M Records, 1975; Equinox, first album for A&M, went gold quickly, eventually reaching platinum; Come Sail Away, a single from The Grand Illusion, soared to number six on the charts; other big singles from the late 1970s and early 1980s included Babe, Why Me, Boat on the River, and Mr. Roboto; band was put on hold after DeYoung and Shaw left to pursue solo projects, 1984; band reunited with Burtnik replacing Shaw, 1990.

Addresses: Website Styx Official Website: http://www.styxworld.com.

Young and DeYoung. Despite this success, the groups record deal didnt enable its members to focus entirely on their music. To make ends meet they still had to hold their regular jobsDeYoung and Chuck Panozzo taught music and art in the Chicago public schools, while Young drove a cab. They recorded three more albums for Wooden NickelStyx II, The Serpent Is Rising, and Man of Miracles but grew increasingly discouraged by the labels apparent inability to promote their work. When Man of Miracles was released in 1974 Styx was on the verge of disbanding. About that time, however, Lady, a single from their second album, Styx II, suddenly began to get intensive radio play in the greater Chicago area and soon was a hit. Before long the rest of the nation caught on, and both the singlewritten by DeYoung about his wife, Suzanneand album became big hits, the single climbing to number six on the Billboard top 40.

Seizing the moment, Styx went in search of a new label. It wasnt difficult to find a taker, given the success of Lady, and in 1975 the group was signed by A&M Records. The bands first self-produced album, Equinox, was released that same year. It revealed a maturation and refinement of the groups style, best illustrated by Suite Madame Blue, DeYoungs allegory for the decline of the United States. It also launched the band as social commentators, a role they would relish for years to come.

Only a week before Styx was to begin its tour to support Equinox, guitarist John Curulewski left the band to spend more time with his family. Desperate for a guitarist to replace him, the band tracked down Tommy Shaw, a performer recommended by the groups road manager. He proved to be an excellent addition, his bluesy style nicely complementing Youngs screaming guitar licks. More importantly, the group found that Shaws songwriting style bridged the divide between DeYoungs mainstream pop/rock sound and Youngs metallic leanings. The year after Equinox, Styx released Crystal Ball, which featured the swinging rock single, Mademoiselle. The groups road tours in support of Equinox and Crystal Ball totaled nearly 400 concert dates; these helped the bandwith the relatively recent addition of Shawto further refine their arena rock style.

With the 1977 release of The Grand Illusion, Styx acquired genuine superstar status. Come Sail Away, a single from the album, quickly climbed the charts, helping take The Grand Illusion platinum. Next up was Pieces of Eight, released in 1978. This album also quickly went platinum, its sales fueled by the popularity of its Renegade and Blue Collar Man tracks. The groups third platinum album in a row was Cornerstone, which was something of a departure for Styx, featuring a mellower sound. Its crowning glory was the single, Babe, a classic ballad that quickly climbed the charts. Other hot singles off Cornerstone included Borrowed Time and Why Me. To promote all three albums, the band toured virtually nonstop and was shown in a 1979 poll to be the hottest concert ticket among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.

Early in 1981 Styx kicked off a 110-date North American tour to lay the groundwork for the April release of Paradise Theatre, which spent three weeks at number one on the rock album charts. The album featured two hit singles in The Best of Times and Too Much Time on My Hands, which helped push the album to platinum status, making Styx the first rock n roll group in history to have four consecutive albums go platinum. The band followed up this success with an offbeat concept album entitled Kilroy Was Here. By far the groups most theatrical venture, Kilroy Was Here wove together a complete story through songs, an elaborate stage act featuring scripted dialogue and multiple set and costume changes, and an eleven-minute film. It told the tale of a renegades rebellion against totalitarian control by bringing rock n roll to the people. The albumand elaborate touring showfeatured the techno-rock single, Mr. Roboto, and the trademark power ballad, Dont Let It End. To support the album Styx took its spectacular stage show on tour.

In 1984, not long after the release of the groups double live album, Caught in the Act, Styx members DeYoung and Shaw announced plans to leave the band to pursue solo projects. Although the album was well received by the public, the remaining members of the band decided it was time for a much-needed break. DeYoung and Shaws departure provided the perfect excuse for a hiatus after more than a decade of constant touring. Young put it this way in comments included on the Dont Wait for Heroes website: We came to a point where we had creatively exhausted ourselves. We needed a chance to refresh and reenergize, a chance to work with other people and explore new areas. Guitarist John Curulewski, who had left Styx in the mid-1970s, died tragically of an aneurysm in 1987.

A number of reunion plans failed during the late 1980s, but in 1990 four of Styxs five members did manage to get back together again. Prior obligations prevented Shaw from joining the group, so singer/guitarist Glen Burtnik was asked to take his place. The reunion album, Edge of the Century, featured the hit single, Show Me the Way, written by DeYoung. It climbed to number three on the charts, finding a ready audience in a country preoccupied with the standoff with Iraq in the Middle East. Styx toured in support of Edge of the Century the following year, playing to standing-room-only crowds across the country. The tour was one of the most successful of 1991.

Another hiatus followed as individual group members went their separate ways. DeYoung played Pontius Pilate in the national touring company production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Young formed his own group, called simply the James Young Group, which included some of Chicagos best rock musicians. Styx members reunited briefly in the studio to record Lady for A&M Records Styx compilation album Greatest Hits: Volume 1. This brief get-together not surprisingly planted the seeds for yet another tour in 1996. Drummer John Panozzo, who had struggled for some years with alcoholism and was unable to join the tour, died in July of 1996.

Although the groups appearances continued into the new millennium, with a 50-date tour scheduled for 2002, Styx members continued to pursue their individual solo careers when they werent on the road with the band. Bassist Chuck Panozzo, diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and successfully fighting full-blown AIDS since the late 1990s, participates now and then in appearances with the group but has devoted himself to other projects in recent years. In July of 2001 he publicly disclosed his homosexuality, telling USA Today, Its a weight off my soul. The core group today consists of James Young and Tommy Shaw on guitar and vocals, Glen Burtnik on bass and vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums, and Lawrence Gowan on keyboards and vocals.

Selected discography

Styx, Wooden Nickel, 1972.

Styx II, Wooden Nickel, 1973.

Equinox, A&M, 1975.

Crystal Ball, A&M, 1976.

The Grand Illusion, A&M, 1977.

Pieces of Eight, A&M, 1978.

Cornerstone, A&M, 1979.

Paradise Theatre, A&M, 1981.

Kilroy Was Here, A&M, 1983.

Edge of the Century, A&M, 1990.

(Contributor) Greatest Hits, Volume 1, A&M, 1995.

(Contributor) Greatest Hits, Volume 2, A&M, 1996.

Return to Paradise, BMG/Sanctuary, 1997.

Brave New World, BMG/Sanctuary, 1999.

Styxworld, BMG/Sanctuary, 2001.

Sources

Periodicals

Guitar Player, July 1981.

USA Today, July 27, 2001; February 18, 2002.

Online

Biography, Glen Burtnik, http://64.91.227.187/glenburtnik/bio.html (February 20, 2002).

Biography, Lawrence Gowan, http://www.gowan.org/biography.htm (February 20, 2002).

John Panozzo Press Release, Styx Web Team, http://www.tiac.net/users/Styx/panozzo-press-release.html (February 20, 2002).

Official Styx Press Package for 1996 Return to Paradise Tour, Styx Web Team, http://www.tiac.net/users/kat/Styx/press-package-96.html (February 20, 2002).

Styx History, Dont Wait for Heroes: Equal Time for Dennis DeYoung Since 1977, http://www.styxnet.com/deyoung/frontpage.html (April 29, 2002).

Styx Official Website, http://www.styxworld.com/History.cfm (February 20, 2002).

Don Amerman

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Styx

Styx

Rock group

Styx, one of the most successful "arena rock" groups of all time, was born on the South Side of Chicago in the late 1960s. Tradewinds, a trio formed by neighbors Dennis DeYoung and Chuck and John Panozzo, offered a distinctive blend of driving rock 'n' roll rhythms with classical-influenced melodic themes. The group, which formed while DeYoung and the twin Panozzo brothers were in high school, was transformed into TW4 with the addition of guitarist John Curulewski, a fellow student at Chicago State University. In 1970 James "JY" Young, a guitarist with a rival band, joined the group. Not long thereafter the group cut a demo tape that eventually came to the attention of Wooden Nickel Records, a regional label and subsidiary of RCA, with whom TW4 signed a recording contract in 1972; label executives insisted, however, that the group change its name. The band members eventually settled on Styx, mostly because it was the only one of the hundreds of names they'd considered that no one in the group actively hated.

For their debut album, Wooden Nickel recommended the group focus on material written by other people, not their own compositions. Much to Wooden Nickel's surprise, however, the only song from that first album to hit the top 100 was "Best Thing," a track cowritten by Young and DeYoung. Despite this success, the group's record deal didn't enable its members to focus entirely on their music. To make ends meet they still had to hold their regular jobs—DeYoung and Chuck Panozzo taught music and art in the Chicago public schools, while Young drove a cab. They recorded three more albums for Wooden Nickel—Styx II, The Serpent Is Rising, and Man of Miracles—but grew increasingly discouraged by the label's apparent inability to promote their work. When Man of Miracles was released in 1974, Styx was on the verge of disbanding. About that time, however, "Lady," a single from Styx II, suddenly began to get intensive radio play in the greater Chicago area and soon was a hit. Before long the rest of the nation caught on, and both the single—written by DeYoung about his wife, Suzanne—and the album became big hits, the single climbing to number six on the Billboard top 40.

Seizing the moment, Styx went in search of a new label. It wasn't difficult to find a taker, given the success of "Lady," and in 1975 the group was signed by A&M Records. The band's first self-produced album, Equinox, was released that same year. It revealed a maturation and refinement of the group's style, best illustrated by "Suite Madame Blue," DeYoung's allegory for the decline of the United States. It also launched the band as social commentators, a role they would relish for years to come.

Only a week before Styx was to begin its tour to support Equinox, guitarist John Curulewski left the band to spend more time with his family. Desperate for a guitarist to replace him, the band tracked down Tommy Shaw, a performer recommended by the group's road manager. He proved to be an excellent addition, his bluesy style nicely complementing Young's screaming guitar licks. More important, the group found that Shaw's songwriting style bridged the divide between DeYoung's mainstream pop/rock sound and Young's metallic leanings. The year after Equinox, Styx released Crystal Ball, which featured the swinging rock single "Mademoiselle." The group's road tours in support of Equinox and Crystal Ball totaled nearly 400 concert dates; these helped the band to further refine their "arena rock" style.

With the 1977 release of The Grand Illusion, Styx acquired genuine "superstar" status. "Come Sail Away," a single from the album, quickly climbed the charts, helping take The Grand Illusion platinum. Next up was Pieces of Eight, released in 1978. This album also quickly went platinum, its sales fueled by the popularity of its "Renegade" and "Blue Collar Man" tracks. The group's third platinum album in a row was Cornerstone, which was something of a departure for Styx, featuring a mellower sound. Its crowning glory was the single "Babe," a classic ballad that quickly climbed the charts. Other hot singles from Cornerstone included "Borrowed Time" and "Why Me." To promote all three albums, the band toured virtually nonstop and was shown in a 1979 poll to be the hottest concert ticket among teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.

Early in 1981 Styx kicked off a 110-date North American tour to lay the groundwork for the April release of Paradise Theatre, which spent three weeks at number one on the rock album charts. The album featured two hit singles in "The Best of Times" and "Too Much Time on My Hands," which helped push the album to platinum status, making Styx the first rock 'n' roll group in history to have four consecutive albums go platinum. The band followed up this success with an offbeat concept album entitled Kilroy Was Here. By far the group's most theatrical venture, Kilroy Was Here wove together a complete story through songs, an elaborate stage act featuring scripted dialogue and multiple set and costume changes, and an eleven-minute film. It told the tale of a renegade's rebellion against totalitarian control by bringing rock 'n' roll to the people. The album and its elaborate touring show featured the techno-rock single "Mr. Roboto," and the trademark power ballad "Don't Let It End." To support the album, Styx took its spectacular stage show on tour.

In 1984, not long after the release of the group's double live album Caught in the Act, Styx members DeYoung and Shaw announced plans to leave the band to pursue solo projects. Although the album was well received by the public, the remaining members of the band decided it was time for a much-needed break. DeYoung and Shaw's departure provided the perfect excuse for a hiatus after more than a decade of constant touring. Young put it this way in comments included on the Don't Wait for Heroes website: "We came to a point where we had creatively exhausted ourselves. We needed a chance to refresh and reenergize, a chance to work with other people and explore new areas." Guitarist John Curulewski, who had left Styx in the mid-1970s, died tragically of an aneurysm in 1987.

A number of reunion plans failed during the late 1980s, but in 1990 four of Styx's five members did manage to get back together again. Prior obligations prevented Shaw from joining the group, so singer/guitarist Glen Burtnik was asked to take his place. The reunion album, Edge of the Century, featured the hit single "Show Me the Way," written by DeYoung. It climbed to number three on the charts, finding a ready audience in a country preoccupied with the standoff with Iraq in the Middle East. Styx toured in support of Edge of the Century the following year, playing to standing-room-only crowds across the country. The tour was one of the most successful of 1991.

Another hiatus followed, as individual group members went their separate ways. DeYoung played Pontius Pilate in the national touring company production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Young formed his own group, called simply the James Young Group, which included some of Chicago's best rock musicians. Styx members reunited briefly in the studio to record "Lady" for A&M Records' Styx compilation album Greatest Hits: Volume 1. This brief get-together not surprisingly planted the seeds for yet another tour in 1996. Drummer John Panozzo, who had struggled for some years with alcoholism and was unable to join the tour, died in July of 1996.

For the Record …

Members include Glen Burtnik (born on April 8, 1955, in Irvington, NJ; joined group, 1983), bass; John Curulewski (left group, 1975; died 1987), guitar; Dennis DeYoung (born on February 18, 1947, in Chicago, IL; left group, 1999), vocals, keyboards; Lawrence Gowan (born in Glasgow, Scotland; joined group, 1999), vocals, keyboards; Chuck Panozzo (born on September 20, 1948, in Chicago, IL), bass; John Panozzo (born on September 20, 1948, in Chicago, IL; died on July 19, 1996), drums; Tommy Shaw (born on September 11, 1953; joined group, 1975), vocals, guitar; Todd Sucherman (born on May 2, 1969, in Chicago, IL; joined group, 1996), drums; James Young (born on November 14, 1949, in Chicago, IL; joined group, 1970), vocals, guitar.

Group formed as Tradewinds by DeYoung and Panozzo twins in Chicago, late 1960s; later added Curulewski on guitar and changed name to TW4; band renamed Styx, late 1970s; signed recording contract with Wooden Nickel Records, 1972; released four albums for the label, including Styx, Styx II and The Serpent Is Rising; group signed recording contract with A&M Records, 1975; Equinox, first album for A&M, went gold quickly, eventually reaching platinum; "Come Sail Away," a single from The Grand Illusion, soared to number six on the charts; other big singles from the late 1970s and early 1980s included "Babe," "Why Me," "Boat on the River," and "Mr. Roboto"; band was put on hold after DeYoung and Shaw left to pursue solo projects, 1984; band reunited with Burtnik replacing Shaw, 1990; band continued to tour and release albums, 1990–.

Addresses: Website—Styx Official Website: http://www.styxworld.com.

Styx members continued to pursue their individual solo careers when they weren't on the road with the band. Bassist Chuck Panozzo, diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and successfully fighting full-blown AIDS since the late 1990s, participated now and then in appearances with the group but devoted most of his time to other projects. In July of 2001 he publicly disclosed his homosexuality, telling USA Today, "It's a weight off my soul.".

The group's appearances continued into the new millennium with a two-month tour of U.S. amphitheaters, teamed with the group REO Speedwagon, and a 50-date tour in 2002, also with REO Speedwagon. By 2002 the band's roster included Tommy Shaw (guitar and vocals), James "JY" Young (guitar and vocals), Glenn Burtnick (bass), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards and vocals), and Todd Sucherman (drums). Panozzo played with them occasionally during this period. The band's tours were successful, almost filling the 13,000- to 18,000-seat arenas where they played. Young told Tamara Conniff in Hollywood Reporter, "We are climbing Everest for a second time." Conniff noted that although "music snobs turn up their noses at arena rock, fans nationwide are crowding to see Styx." She added, "Live rock music at its best is a ritual, a communal experience. It is an art Styx has mastered."

Selected discography

Styx, Wooden Nickel, 1972.
Styx II, Wooden Nickel, 1973.
Equinox, A&M, 1975.
Crystal Ball, A&M, 1976.
The Grand Illusion, A&M, 1977.
Pieces of Eight, A&M, 1978.
Cornerstone, A&M, 1979.
Paradise Theatre, A&M, 1981.
Kilroy Was Here, A&M, 1983.
Edge of the Century, A&M, 1990.
(Contributor) Greatest Hits, Volume 1, A&M, 1995.
(Contributor) Greatest Hits, Volume 2, A&M, 1996.
Return to Paradise, BMG/Sanctuary, 1997.
Brave New World, BMG/Sanctuary, 1999.
Styxworld, BMG/Sanctuary, 2001.
Cyclorama, BMG/Sanctuary, 2003.
Big Bang Theory, BMG/Sanctuary, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Amusement Business, March 13, 2000, p. 5; January 14, 2002, p. 13.

Daily Variety, October 3, 2005, p. 9.

Guitar Player, July 1981.

Hollywood Reporter, June 26, 2003, p. 2.

USA Today, July 27, 2001; February 18, 2002.

Online

"Biography," Glen Burtnik, http://64.91.227.187/glenburtnik/bio.html (February 20, 2002).

"Biography," Lawrence Gowan, http://www.gowan.org/biography.htm (February 20, 2002).

"John Panozzo Press Release," Styx Web Team, http://www.tiac.net/users/Styx/panozzo-press-release.html (February 20, 2002).

"Official Styx Press Package for 1996 Return to Paradise Tour," Styx Web Team, http://www.tiac.net/users/kat/Styx/press-package-96.html (February 20, 2002).

"Styx History," Don't Wait for Heroes: Equal Time for Dennis DeYoung Since 1977, http://www.styxnet.com/deyoung/frontpage.html (April 29, 2002).

Styx Official Website, http://www.styxworld.com/History.cfm (February 20, 2002).

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Styx

Styx

In Greek mythology, Styx was one of the main rivers that ran through the underworld. According to legend, the boatman Charon ferried the spirits of the dead across the Styx from earth to the land of the dead.

The river was named for the eldest daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys, who lived in a palace near the edge of the underworld. She married the Titan Pallas and had four children: Might, Force, Zeal, and Victory. Styx and her children helped Zeus* and the Olympian gods win their battle against the Titans for mastery of the universe. As a reward, Zeus ordered that an oath sworn by the waters of the Styx could never be broken, even by a god. Anyone who broke such an oath would enter a comalike state for a year and would be banished from the company of the other gods for nine more years.

underworld land of the dead

Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

The ancient Greeks identified the river Styx with a mountain stream in the land of Arcadia. They believed that its waters were poisonous and could only be held in a cup made from the hoof of a horse or a donkey.

See also Underworld.

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Styx

Styx (stĬks), in Greek mythology, river of Hades that the souls of the dead had to cross on their journey from the realm of the living. It was a sacred river, and by its name even the gods took their most solemn oaths. The river was personified as a nymph, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and mother of Nike. There is a river Styx in the N Peloponnesus (in ancient Arcadia).

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Styx

Styx in Greek mythology, one of the nine rivers in the underworld, over which Charon ferried the souls of the dead, and by which the gods swore their most solemn oaths. It was into the Styx that his mother Thetis dipped the child Achilles to make his body invulnerable. The name comes from Greek Stux, from stugnos ‘hateful, gloomy’.

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Styx

Styx In Greek mythology, the river across which Charon ferried the souls of the dead on their journey from the world of the living to the underworld.

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Styx

Styxadmix, affix, commix, fix, Hicks, intermix, MI6, mix, nix, Nyx, pix, Pnyx, prix fixe, pyx, Ricks, six, Styx, transfix, Wicks •Aquarobics • radix • appendix •crucifix • suffix • Alex • calyx •Felix, helix •kylix • Horlicks • prolix • spondulicks •hydromechanics • phoenix •Ebonics, onyx •mechatronics • sardonyx •Paralympics • semi-tropics •subtropics • Hendrix •dominatrix, matrix •administratrix • oryx • tortrix •executrix • Beatrix • cicatrix •Essex, Wessex •kinesics • coccyx • Sussex •informatics, mathematics •Dianetics • geopolitics • bioethics •cervix • astrophysics • yikes

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Styx

Styx ★★½ 2000 (R)

Nelson (Weller) decides to get out of the safecracking trade after his brother Mike (MacFadyen) rescues him from a botched bank heist that leaves several accomplices unaccounted for. Nelson tries to go straight but Mike is a losing gambler with a big debt to some loan sharks. Nelson agrees to do a diamond heist only to learn that his not-so-missing partner Art (Brown) is the mastermind and Art just may be holding a grudge. Pro cast and fast-paced action take this above the usual heist flicks. 94m/ C VHS, DVD . Peter Weller, Bryan Brown, Angus MacFadyen, Adrienne Pierce, Anthony Bishop, Nan Hamilton, Shane Howarth, Gerard Rudolf; D: Alexander Wright; W: George Ferris; C: Russell Lyster; M: Roy Hay.

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Styx

Styx

Styx, late 1970s-early 1980s pop-rockers. MEMBERSHIP: Chuck Panozzo, bs. (b. Chicago, Sept. 20, 1947); John Panozzo, drm. (b. Chicago, Sept. 20, 1947; d. there, July 16, 1996); Dennis DeYoung, kybd., voc. (b. Feb. 18, 1947); James Young, gtr., voc. (b. Chicago, Nov. 14, 1949); John Curulewski, gtr.; Tommy Shaw, gtr., voc. (b. Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 11, 1953); Glen Burtnick, gtr., voc.; Todd Sucherman, drm.

A fusion of the classically oriented rock orchestrations of Yes, the pristine studio sheen of REO Speed-wagon, and three-part vocal harmonies, Styx became one of the biggest selling acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A 1980 Gallup poll named them the most popular band in the U.S. They were the first band in history to have four consecutive triple platinum albums.

The group began in the mid-1960s as a trio of twin brothers John and Chuck Panozzo on drums and bass respectively, with Dennis DeYoung on accordion and vocals. They played cover versions from their teen years as the Tradewinds. They then attended Chicago State Univ. where they became There Were Four (or TW4) with guitarist Tom Nardini, who left the band in the late 1960s. Another Chicago State student, John Curulewski, replaced him. The band augmented itself with another guitarist, James Young, after his band left en masse to become Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The five-man TW4 became one of the hottest cover bands in the Midwest. In 1971 they were offered a record contract by RCA-distributed Chicago label Wooden Nickel. They changed their name to one they felt better suited the times, Styx. Their debut single, “Best Thing/’ charted its first week out, but stalled in the low 80s. The debut album didn’t chart at all. For their second album, DeYoung put more effort into writing original songs, including a proto-power ballad love song to his new wife, “Lady.” Initially, the single stiffed, as did the album. They discovered that their record company had spent less than $200 to promote the project.

Their two 1984 releases—The Serpent Is Rising and Man of Miracles—didn’t do much to help the band’s fortunes. Through the mid-1980s, they were still touring the Midwest, playing basketball courts and bars from Utah to Ark. On a radio promotion swing for Man of Miracles in 1985, they paid a visit to powerhouse station WLS. Jim Smits from the station said he wouldn’t play anything from the fourth album, but he had been getting a lot of requests for the single “Lady” from the second album, and swore he would keep playing it until it became a hit. And it did, rising to #6 on the pop charts nearly two years after it originally came out! It catapulted the Styx II album to #20 and gold. However, the success of the two-year-old record didn’t help their current fortunes. None of the singles for Man of Miracles charted higher than the high 80s. The band decided that the fault lay not with them but with their record company.

Although other companies made better offers, the band felt they would get a fairer shake at artist-run A&M and signed with them. They led off their 1975 A&M debut Equinox with their first Top 40 single since “Lady,” a rocker called “Lorelei” with a countrified guitar playing over a sequencer, which hit #27 pop. Their second single off the album, “Mademoiselle,” went to #36. The band was back in the big time, sort of.

Just as things were looking up for the band, Curulewski left the group to spend more time with his family. They were about to hit the road in support of Equinox and remembered a guitarist they had played with on the road with a band called MS Funk. They called him, auditioned him, and within days, Tommy Shaw had joined Styx. What could have been a disaster turned into one of the best things that had happened in their dozen or so years together. Shaw could hit the high notes, both vocally and on guitar. Beyond that, he added another songwriting voice to the group.

Shaw segued into the group nicely on their next album, 1976’s Crystal Ball, writing the title track. The group started opening for acts ranging from Seals and Croft to Queen. When they went into the studio again, they were tight, primed, and ready. They cranked out an album that fans regard as a masterpiece, The Grand Illusion. Leading off with the single “Come Sail Away,” the band broke fast out of the gate. The song hit #8 on the pop charts in 1977. “Fooling Yourself” became a rock radio favorite and crossed over pop to #29. With its blend of crunchy pomp and ersatz science fiction, the album went to #6 and sold triple platinum. The follow-up album, Pieces of Eight, a reflection on their hard-won success, also hit #6 and triple platinum, although the singles didn’t chart nearly as strongly: “Blue Collar Man,” a rumination on their working-class roots hit #21, and “Renegade,” with its madrigal-like opening and near martial beat, hit #16. They started to play arenas around the world.

Although their first hit had been the relatively gentle “Lady,” the band had drifted into a harder rock sound. De Young decided to rein that in a little on their next album, 1979’s Cornerstone. He wrote a “going on the road” ballad with a singular Fender Rhodes sound. That song, “Babe,” went gold and topped the charts for two weeks. Along with the similar “Why Me” at #26, it sent Cornerstone to #2 and double platinum.

Their momentum peaked with their next release, 1981 ’s Paradise Theater. Loosely a concept album, it dealt with a theater built just before the depression hit, and how it ultimately deteriorates into a parking lot. The deluxe album package included laser etching on the vinyl. With the bombastic “The Best of Times” rising to #3 and the clockwork elegy on unemployment “Too Much Time on My Hands” hitting #9, the album topped the charts for three weeks, going triple platinum, their fourth multi- platinum record in a row.

With that under their belt, Styx attempted an even more ambitious concept with 1983’s Kilroy Was Here, a futuristic anti-censorship piece, that had a fictitious “warning label” on it. This touch would seem less humorous several years later when these labels were widely attached to pop records. With the gold #3 hit “Mr. Roboto” and the #6 “Don’t Let it End,” the album still only managed to hit single platinum, rising to #3. Styx tried to turn the concept into a theatrical work during their tour, including a 15-minute film that introduced the show, but it wound up confusing as many fans as it pleased.

In many ways, it was the last straw for the band. After 20 years of non-stop touring, with their success waning and several members of the band suffering substance abuse problems, they decided to go their separate ways. De Young released several moderately successful solo albums, and had a Top Ten single with the title track from 1984’s Desert Moon. Shaw had a minor hit that same year with “Girls with Guns.” De Young explored the theater, taking roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, writing his own musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and recording an album of show tunes. Young worked on several more experimental albums with former Mahavishnu Orch. keyboard player Jan Hammer. From 1990-92, Shaw joined the hard rock supergroup Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent and Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, landing the top 3 “High Enough” and the #20 “Where You Going” and a gold and double platinum record.

As Damn Yankees started rising through the charts, Styx started talking again. Everyone but Shaw agreed that it was time to get together again, so they hired studio ace Glen Burtnik to replace him and cut 1990’s Edge of the Century. While the first single from the album stiffed, the second single “Show Me the Way” rose to #3 on the charts under curious circumstances. A radio edit of the song started making the rounds during the U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War, using soundbites from news coverage of the conflict. The song had nothing to do with the war, but it worked.

Shaw rejoined the band for new tracks on a 1995 greatest hits record (including a re-recording of “Lady”) and the band came back together and went on a greatest hits tour. However, drummer John Panozzo, whose health was deteriorating thanks to years of hard drinking, did not make the tour. They hired drummer Todd Sucherman to play the drums while Panozzo recovered, but Panozzo died of a stroke while the band was on tour.

After taking some time off, the band signed to CMC records and released the live album Return to Paradise in 1997. It became the label’s first gold record. In the late 1990s, a number of Styx songs from their back catalog became newly popular. A version of “Come Sail Away” (performed by Isaac Hayes) appeared in the hit cartoon movie South Park.“Mr. Roboto” was used in a Volkswagen commercial, doubling sales of the bands greatest hit record the week it came out. Other songs cropped up in other 1970s and 1980s period films. In 1998, the group released their first new studio album since Kilroy, 15 years earlier. Brave New World, based loosely on the Huxley book, charted briefly. However, key band members were not faring well: De Young fell ill with a disease that left him chronically tired and extremely sensitive to bright lights; Chuck Panozzo lost his twin and his mother within the space of a couple of years, and he was not up to the road. Nonetheless, with two fill-in players, the band went on the road.

Discography

Styx (1972); Styx II (1973); The Serpent Is Rising (1974); Man of Miracles (1974); Equinox (1975); Crystal Ball (1976); The Grand Illusion (1977); Pieces of Eight (1978); Cornerstone (1979); Paradise Theater (1981); Kilroy Was Here (1983); Caught in the Act (1984); Edge of the Century (1990); Return to Paradise (1997); Brave New World (1999). TOMMY SHAW: Girls with Guns (1984); What If? (1985); Ambition (1987); 7 Deadly Zens (1998). DAMN YANKEES: Damn Yankees (1990); Don’t Tread (1992). DENNISDEYOUNG: Desert Moon (1984); Back to the World (1986); Boomchild (1988); 10 on Broadway (1994). JAMES YOUNG: City Slicker (1986); Out on a Day Pass (1994); Raised by Wolves (1995). GLEN BURTNICK: Pal-okaville (1996).

—Hank Bordowitz

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