Everyone seems to have an uncle who loves Styx and has, at one time or another, forced his niece or nephew to endure an embarrassing air-guitar performance of “Come Sail Away.” Styx started out as a progressive rock band comparable to the classical-gas-huffing Emerson, Lake and Palmer or the Moody Blues, and the release of the power ballad “Lady” in 1974 blew the group into FM heaven. Keyboardist Dennis DeYoung and guitarist Tommy Shaw bickered constantly over the group’s direction over the years, but the two were able to reach middle ground on the concept album Paradise Theater. Widely considered Styx’s best work, the album matches Shaw’s stripped-down, hard-rock sensibilities to DeYoung’s pomp in an attempt to construct a metaphor for the deterioration of the American dream. Paradoxically, the album also has come to represent the deterioration of one of the greatest arena-rock bands of the late ’70s.

Categories: Music