From the band’s early 70′s years of earthy, progressive rock and roll, to the arrival of Tommy Shaw and a more straight forward anthemic rock feel in the late 70′s, to the band’s (read: Dennis DeYoung’s) ill-conceived pop-theater of the early 80′s, Styx has carved out a massive niche in rock’s history.
While vocalist and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung wrote many of the band’s best loved songs, it was also his sappy songwriting evolution which ultimately splintered the seminal line-up. Amidst the band’s four multi-platinum albums, DeYoung snuck the syrupy ballad, “Babe” onto the Cornerstone album. It became the band’s highest charting single of all time, yet became a huge crevass in the foundation of the quintet’s cohesiveness. Guitarist/vocalists Tommy Shaw and James ‘JY’ Young wanted to move into a heavier, less pop-oriented direction while DeYoung wanted to become even more commercial and theatrical.
After the expensive and less than steller Kilroy Was Here tour Styx would disband, and never again would the line-up of Young, DeYoung, Shaw, Chuck Panazzo and John Panazzo record another album. Drummer John Panazzo would succumb to alcohol related illness and his bassist brother Chuck would semi-retire from the band.
Through the years the Styx made attempts to reunite in various forms, but the chasm between DeYoung and Shaw/Young merely widened to the point the band ultimately replaced him with Canadian vocalist Lawrence Gowan.
The band continues a non-stop touring schedule that has reaped several live albums. They recently completed another tour with Yes, and are yet again back on the road. The current line-up which includes Gowan, Shaw, and Young, along with drummer Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips (The Babys, Bad English, Coverdale/Page), has been together since 2003.
With seminal albums like Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, Cornterstone and Paradise Theater, Styx have forever cemented their place in music history. More important, they have cemented their place in our hearts. For that reason Mojo Radio has made Styx our September 2011 Artist of the Month.
Styx is among rock’s most legendary bands, and they stand with the likes of Def Leppard, Journey, and The Eagles, as icons who have written some of the most enduring rock music of multiple generations.