Where did it all go so wrong for Styx?
They had talented rock guitarists in James Young and Tommy Shaw, and they had early solid hits with the Top Ten ‘Lady’ and Top 40 with ‘Lorelei’. In ’77 they had breakthrough triple gold with ‘The Grand Illusion’ in which spawned ‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)’ and my favorite ‘Miss America’. Following that monster album, ‘Pieces of Eight’ was released in ’78 and yielded ‘Renegade’. In ’79 yet another big album was ‘Cornerstone’ and the #1 hit ‘Babe’.
Then came 1981’s ‘Paradise Theater’, a golden example of a band making the choice to move away from their bread and butter and taking themselves much too seriously. Come on, seriously, “The Best of Times’? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
I still enjoy listening to Styx every so often, especially The Grand Illusion. They originally hailed from the Midwest, so I wonder what those blogs that originate from that area remember about the good that was Styx and what they think about Styx and their demise. It’s probably only me that thinks of them in those terms, because they sold enough copies of schlock to clog the airways for years. So, the joke is on me.
For me personally, their jumping the shark episode came with ‘Kilroy Was Here’ in 1981. Supposedly a rock opera set in the future where rock music has been outlawed, and their ensuing musical struggles with the man. Ugh. And they then turned the blender filled blasé into a stage show. Ugh².
However, the video – oy!, the video. But, don’t wonder and fret for no good reason fans, they did indeed leave behind video proof of what surely had to have been legendary bloated production costs for the visual that must have caused their record label executives to carry a travel tankard of antacids.
So, for this episode of Salt in The Eyes, I present to you the splendor that is Styx and Mr. Roboto.