Though some of the bickering band members will refuse to attend any celebratory party, this year does mark the 40th year anniversary of the first album by Styx.
Keyboardist Dennis DeYoung and guitarist James Young took a few years to form the group, which finally made its first recording in 1972. That self-titled debut did not yield any singles, but there would be many in the years that followed.
Here are the band’s ten best songs, most of which are from albums released after the band enlisted guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw.
“Half-penny, Two-penny” from Paradise Theater: James Young’s tirade against capitalism is the highlight of the band’s most successful album. He surmises, “Justice for money, what can you say? We all know it’s the American way.”
“Boat on the River” from Cornerstone: Tommy Shaw breaks out a mandolin on this mesmerizing ballad, showing fans that he is more than just a pretty face.
“She Cares” from Paradise Theater: Shaw contributes this love song that somehow provides relief from the rage on the rest of the album.
“Too Much Time on My Hands” from Paradise Theater: “”I’ve got dozens of friends and the fun never ends, that is as long as I’m buyin'” is one of the cynical observations on this Tommy Shaw hit.
“Sing for the Day” from Pieces of Eight: Shaw demonstrates a literary background on this medieval tune, which describes Hannah as “ageless and timeless as Dorian Grey.”
“Heavy Metal Poisoning” from Kilroy Was Here: The album created a rift among band members, and it led to the demise of the group’s popularity. James Young’s rocking parody of televangelists makes the album worth owning.
“Borrowed Time” from Cornerstone: Dennis DeYoung dates the song by warning, “Don’t look now, but here come the 80s,” but this rocking anthem has endured far beyond that decade.
“Lonely People” from Rockin’ the Paradise: DeYoung’s vocals here have a rage that is accentuated by the backing horn section.
“Never Say Never” from Cornerstone: In spite of a few clichés that hamper the overall message, the song has a pleasant pop rhythm that differs from the rock of “Borrowed Time” and gentleness of “Babe.”
“Lorelei” from Equinox: The group took a while to pen a follow-up to its first hit, but this plea for a girl to get a girl to move in shows the band could rock.
“Lady” from Styx II: The band’s first hit was a huge one, and it is still heard on oldies stations throughout the country.
“Renegade” from Pieces of Eight: Tommy Shaw emulates an outlaw’s plea for sympathy in this classic rock gem.