Styx Biography

Review The Artist (10)

A Brief Musical History

1969: After forming a band which would be known a “TW4” a few years prior, neighbors Dennis DeYoung and brothers Chuck and John Panozzo enroll at Chicago State University. Although the band had already performed in, and around, the Chicago area, C.S.U. would become the group’s base. The trio hooks up with another student, John Curulewski, who takes over the helm on guitar.

1970: Guitarists James “JY” Young- who was performing with a rival band in Chicago-joins the quartet. The new line-up begins taking a different direction with more musical experiments, with classical/rock fusions and electronic trickeries.

1971: The band’s demo is heard by the Wooden Nickel label, who would subsequently offer the band a recording contract the following year.
1972: The band is renamed STYX after a mythological river if the dead-a decision made by the band members. STYX I is released. The single, “Best Thing” (written by DeYoung and “JY”), reaches the Top 100 on the charts by the end of the year.

1973: STYX II is released, and although it doesn’t chart immediately, the Dennis DeYoung penned ballad, “Lady”, gets considerable airplay on Chicago radio. The band concentrates on their touring efforts in support of the single’s success, and creates a vast following of fans. The band will release The Serpent Is Rising toward the end of the year.

1974: The Serpent is Rising cracks the Top 200 Albums Chart in February, followed up by Man of Miracles, which reaches even higher position in November. “Lady” would be re-released as a single with national promotion, and the song would be propelled to #6 on the U.S. charts.
1975: STYX II rockets up the charts as a result of the success of “Lady.” It would reach #20, and sell over 500,000 units. In September, after searching for a larger and more supportive label, STYX would sign with powerhouse A&M Records. Two months later, Equinox, featuring the single “Lorelei”-would be the first A&M release, immediately reaching gold status (and eventually going platinum). At the end of the year, guitarist John Curulewski would leave the band. The band’s road manager recommends 23-year-old Tommy Shaw-then guitarist for Chicago based band “MS Funk”-as a replacement. A week after auditioning, Tommy Shaw joined the band.

1977: On July 7th (7/7/77), the band released The Grand Illusion.
1978: In January, A&M Records releases the single “Come Sail Away,” which would enter the Top 10. The parent album, The Grand Illusion, hits #6 as a result of the single’s success, and eventually becomes the first album from STYX to go platinum. The singles, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” and “Miss America” contribute to the success of the album. Later in the year, the band would follow up with another platinum-selling album (reaching #6) titled, Pieces of Eight, featuring the hit singles, “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” “Renegade,” and “Sing for the Day.”

1979: A national Gallup poll would reveal that STYX is the most popular rock band with teenagers (13-19 year olds). By December, the band’s newest album release, Cornerstone, would hit #2 on the U.S. charts, earning the band it’s third consecutive platinum album. The singles, “Babe” (reaching #1 on the charts and becoming their highest-selling single of their career), “Why Me,” and “Borrowed Time” generate mass sales.

1981: Beginning early in the year, STYX would embark on an ambitious 110 date, six-month North American tour. In April, the album Paradise Theatre would be released, soon reaching platinum success (STYX would now have four consecutive platinum albums under their belt), and remaining at #1 on the U.S. charts for three weeks. Two hit singles-“The Best of Times” and “Too Much Time on My Hands”-reach #3 and #9, respectively, on the U.S. charts. The band would become the first in the history of rock ‘n’ roll to have four consecutive triple-platinum albums.

1983: STYX releases concept album, Kilroy Was Here, and will tour in support of it most of the year. A stage act is built around the album, in which costumed band members have roles and dialogue in addition to performing songs. It would become one of the most ambitious rock ‘n’ roll tours ever. The single “Mr. Roboto,” reaches #3, and becomes the second million-selling single in the band’s history (“Babe” being the first). Another single, “Don’t Let It End,” also goes Top 10.
1984: The band releases a double live album titled, Caught in the Act. Although the album is well received by the record buying public, both Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw decide to pursue solo projects (also on A&M records). Subsequently, the band is put on hold. Dennis DeYoung’s Desert Moon and Tommy Shaw’s Girls With Guns both enter top 50.

1985: In December, Tommy Shaw releases What If, which enters the Top 100, and spawns a single, “Ever Since the World Began.”

1986: Dennis DeYoung releases second solo album, Back to the World, and will also contribute a single (not from album), “This Is the Time,” to the movie, “The Karate Kid Part II.” James Young released his first solo effort, City Slicker, a collaboration with Jan Hammer.

1988: Dennis DeYoung releases another solo album, entitled Bloomchild (on MCA)

1990: Tommy Shaw forms a new band, Damn Yankees, with former Night Ranger vocalist/bassist Jack Blades, guitar virtuoso Ted Nugent, and drummer Michael Cartellone. The self-titled debut album will produce two hit singles, “High Enough” and “Coming of Age,” and will eventually sell over 2 million copies on Warner Bros. Records. The band tours extensively with Bad Company, and the album reaches #26. Toward the end of the year, STYX will reunite without Shaw (replaced by Glen Burtnik), and will release the album, Edge of the Century, which begins to garner acclaim.
1991: A single from Edge of the Century titled, “Show Me the Way,” begins chart ascension into the Top 10 during the Gulf War. With the success of the single, STYX joins an elite group of acts who have had Top 10 hits under each of the last four United States Presidents (and Top 10 hits in three different decades).

1992: Damn Yankees release their second effort, Don’t Tread, on Warner Bros. Records. The album, which features the singles “ Don’t Tread” and “Where Are You Goin’ Now?, would eventually reach platinum status. The video for the title track would be aired throughout the 1992 Olympics.
1994: In addition to playing the roll of Pontius Pilate in the national company of Jesus Christ Superstar (to rave reviews), Dennis DeYoung cuts an album of show tunes for Atlantic Records entitled 10 on Broadway.
1995: STYX release Greatest Hits: Volume 1, featuring a re-recorded version of “Lady” with Tommy Shaw (who had not yet joined the band when it was originally recorded). Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades release an album, Hallucination, as Shaw*Blades (Warner Bros. Records). The album would be co-produced by Don Gehman of REM/John Mellencamp fame. James Young forms the James Young Group, with other Chicago musicians and tours in support of their album, Raised by Wolves (Absolute/Whitehouse).
1996: In May, the classic (and most successful) line-up returns with “The Return to the Paradise Theatre” tour, which was seen in over 50 cities. Greatest Hits: Volume II was released in the summer featuring a few new songs. For the first time in thirteen years, Dennis DeYoung, James Young, Tommy Shaw, and Chuck Panozzo were “Rockin’ The Paradise.” Again…
1997: In May, CMC International Records, a division of BMG Entertainment, releases a double album of new studio tracks plus live recording of Greatest Hits from the ’96 tour, appropriately titled, Return to Paradise. Due to popular demand, STYX embarks on a 50-city North American tour in support of the release.

1998: Tommy Shaw releases a solo album in CMC, 7 Deadly Zens and hits the road opening shows for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Dennis DeYoung returns to his theatrical calling as his “Hunchback of Notre Dame” enjoys a successful run in Nashville. The band starts making plans for a new studio album-the classic line-up’s first in 16 years.

1999: The band goes in to the studio in Chicago and Los Angeles to record Brave New World which is released on June 29th. A tour begins in July, which will run through the end of the year.

2000: The band embarks on a 40 city co-headline tour with REO Speedwagon. The tour is so successful that the two bands record and release a double live album and DVD, “Arch Allies – Live at Riverport”. They then extend the tour (to date, Styx and REO have played over 90 shows together, consistently generating hugely successful box office numbers.)

2001: Styxworld Live 2001 is released, containing tracks recorded in Canada, Japan and Germany. The band continues its heavy touring schedule, playing 121 shows, including a 40 city tour with Bad Company that donates over $100,000 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Education Fund, marking the first time in history that the Rock Hall attaches its name to a tour.

2002: Styx plays over 90 shows and records a new studio album, set for release in the winter of 2003.

2003: Styx releases Cyclorama on February 18, 2003. The band tours extensively throughout the year in support of the record.

September 2003: Bassist Ricky Phillips replaces departing member Glen Burtnik.

Thanks to Jan Weir ( for submitting the biography.

Please click here to submit the latest Styx biography

Styx- The Best Ever Feel Good Music Around | Reviewer: THOMAS HIBBS | 12/19/13

I started listening to Styx when i was in junior high 1974 my good friend bruce introduced me to the music of Styx and the rest is legend i have seen Styx in concert 5 times throughout the years and they still can rock with the best of them to me they are very unchanging like tommy shaw and james young put it they wanted to stay to the basics and play good old ROCK and ROLL STICK WITH WHAT GOT YOU THERE if it is not broken dont fix it but Dennis Deyoung wanted to change all that and i can understand tommies and jy point of view on what direction the band took LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL.

STYX Pieces of Eight album | Reviewer: Jim | 4/10/13

STYX is great!!! I have 2 copies of Pieces of Eight. Love Them, both are in super shape! I would like to know the name of the woman on the cover. Does anybody know, or where she is???
Thanks for the info if you can get it to me.

35 year fan | Reviewer: Laura | 2/26/13

I bought my first STYX album at 15. I still listen and attend their shows. Both my sons grew up listening and attending the concerts. They are 28 and 25 now and still listen on their own. I and they can appreciate what consummate performers they all are. My favorite performance to date is the song Superstars they had never played on stage until the 2011 Nashville show. Every time I hear STYX, I am filled with joy!!!

TOMMY FOREVER!! | Reviewer: Kendra | 3/27/10

My god, I love Tommy Shaw so much! He's amazingly attractive and talented! When I watch old concert videos from the late 70's and early 80's, i love to watch Tommy because he's got this energy and he's a total performer! Styx isn't the same for me without him.... Also, Dennis, JY, and the Panozzos...although i like some of the songs with Curulewsky, it's just not Styx to me without that line-up.

STYX One of the five greatest band in the music history , nuff said . | Reviewer: Hernán S. González | 5/13/09

Greats singers , great musicians , fantastic performers , i love Styx since the 70' , and i love Tommy's Shaw work , but ihave to say that Styx is Styx with Dennis Deyoung , without him is a excelent band , but not Styx , is like Queen without Freddie Mercury , its not the real band .

STYX: The Heaviest Band On Earth | Reviewer: Master | 12/6/07

The day will probably never come when STYX is recognized rightfully as the true prioners of the Dual Guitar technique mimicked by Rob Halford and the gang half a decade after STYX hit the first amazing riffs on Children Of The Land (an effort which in itself totally annihilates (in my opinion) all that is Judas Priest's Debut Album). No doubt it is entirely too ambitious for me to discount either Dennis' Keyboarding (a true pioneering effort) or unsurpased vocal prowess (that is, before Ronnie Dio made the scene with his good friend (at the time) Richie)-but in terms of what was then termed and can now only be retermed: Heavy Metal of the day, STYX not only shone as an insular entity, but literaly wiped the floor with Both Black Sabbath and Deep Purple in 1972 (with such a blistering debut) and in 1973 (with what I term 'Dennis' First Solo Album: STYX II', and the sheer Satanic perversity known as The Serpent Is Rising (which I have no doubt about being a slap in the face of religion, the first real unappologized (Black Sabbath) effort since The Rolling Stone's Their Satanic Majesties Request))-being truely rivaled only perhaps by Queen whose also blistering 1973 double release ((Queen and Queen II) with such attacks as Modern Times Rock N Roll and Ogre Battle), and again in 1974 with Man Of Miracles shying slightly away from the magnus opus: Sheer Heart Attack (Need I even mention Stone Cold Crazy or Brighton Rock? Flick Of The Wrist, anyone?). But perhaps for at least a short span, I would be the first to defend STYX as the heaviest band on Earth 1972-1974, again pre-dating our 'Metal Gods' (who would only really offer something unheard of in 1976 with their softmore album)-although beyond this STYX can't be called anything more heavy than the most original band on earth (beside Queen)-with the scene around Heavy Music rapidly changing (1975 with Rush's Fly By Night (a true thrash album) and Caress Of Steel (Need I say anthing?), and 1976 being taken over then on by our close to heart-Judas Priest (ironically rivaled perhaps only by the Feminist Acid Rock attack called Heart (All I'm saying is just compare Priest's Dissendent Aggressor and Heart's Barracuda (both 1977)-or better yet both the Sin After Sin and Little Queen (Correct me if that's the wrong one) albums and decide for yourself-or those long-haired Punks (not to be misconstrued for the negative connotation associated with that word) Motorhead). But there is far more to the STYX than their heaviness, Dennis has spearheaded a style of Keyboard-solo psychedelics unprecidented and unmatched since (reference, for just one, The end of Young Man (1973)). But again, I doubt the world (or even the Heavy Metal Society (if such a thing even exists)) will ever share my sentiments regarding the (in some ways, unsurpassed) heaviness that is STYX.

Still Fabulous | Reviewer: Deborah | 4/16/07

You know for fans to expect STYX to be the same as always with new members in the band, you don't get it.
I've been a fan now for 27 years and have seen all their band changes. I for one like Mr. Gowan
He is a breath of fresh air to the band. He brings a bit more of "umph" to the band. I hope he has more imput in the band's direction in the future. Also, he is great to look at. (smile)
Dennis, while I admitt did great stuff for the band, was getting old with his ideas. They needed the change of direction. To me they are still fabulous. They look great too. I hope they are still going for a long, long time to come.
A loyal fan always.

Unfortunately, past their heyday | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/23/06

I'm younger than most Styx fans, so I got into their music rather late. Their first ten albums makes me really wish I had been born about twenty years earlier to enjoy hearing them on the radio, see them tour with the original lineup, get the original albums, etc. Unfortunately, in recent years, especially with Dennis DeYoung no longer in the group (they decided to the Brave New World tour without him because he was very sick), their quality has gone down dramatically. BNW wasn't a bad album, not great, but not bad, but their most recent really leave something to desire. Nothing like The Grand Illusion, Equinox, or even Edge of the Century. Come Sail Away is a good song only with Dennis DeYoung singing it. Lawernce Gowan (DeYoung's "replacement") should stick with his own music. For Styx live, but Return to Paradise.

Untitled | Reviewer: Chris | 10/29/05

Styx have always been a great band. Not just their hits, but their 'fillers' as well. Muscially, lyrically, it's great. Just to name a few great fillers, There's Castle Walls, Man In The Wilderness, I'm Okay, Eddie, Man In The Wilderness. These are just a few. Some of their older songs are pretty cool too. I just wish would have a Dennis DeYoung and Gowan lyrics as well as Styx.

Styx - A Bird's Eye View | Reviewer: Cody Rios | 7/21/05

Styx, styx to you like a bad habit,( no pun intended )and like a bad habit, you really do'nt totally get rid of it. Their music is and has always been unique, memorable and just plain good to the core. Do they sound like REO or REO sound like them? Who cares, both bands together is beautifully dangerous.

The following area is only for review,
Your Name:
(Notes: Your name will be published if you input it)

Review about Styx

Please enter a title for your review:

-------- 10/20/2014
Type your review in the space below: