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Styx, the mythical river at the gates of Hades, was an excellent name choice. In fact, it was one of the most creative things about the group, even if it led religious zealots to claim Styx was in league with Satan. If that were true, you'd think a Satanic Rock band would have a lot harder edge to it.

Styx delivered ballads ("Babe") and pretentious Rock ("Too Much Time On My Hands"). In between they could produce some solid semi-corporate/Art Rock with "Come Sail Away" and "Renegade." "Mr. Roboto" is still pretty (unintentionally) funny.

Styx began in Chicago. Originally calling themselves the Tradewinds in the mid-60s, it wasn't until the early '70s that they began recording. Dennis DeYoung fronted a group with the Panozzo brothers, Chuck (bass) and John (drums). Along the way guitarists James Young and Tommy Shaw signed on.

When a group with a similar name had a national hit, the Tradewinds became TW4 to avoid any confusion. Signing with a local indie label, Wooden Nickel, they were dubbed Styx.

After a couple albums, Styx moved to A&M. Producing six albums between '76 and '81 the group was a relentless touring machine. "Kilroy Was Here," a concept album (don't ask), released in '85 contained the "epic" "Mr. Roboto."

A couple negligible efforts, including a live album, led DeYoung and Shaw to try the solo route. Shaw also served brief stint with Ted Nugent's Damn Yankees.

Styx later re-united for successful summer tours in the '90s.

John Panozzo passed away in '96. And as the years rolled on, DeYoung, who last fronted Styx in '99, seemed permanently estranged from the band.

So what led the remaining members - Young, Shaw and Chuck Panozzo - to think it good idea to release "The Mission" their first album of original material in fourteen years?

Shaw claimed it was to mark the 40th anniversary of the band's best-seller "Grand Illusion." "It just seemed truly appropriate to save our new studio album until this year ('17)," he stated.

Taking two years to record, virtually in secret in Nashville, Panozzo felt the album built upon where Styx was "in the 20th century in order to go somewhere new in the 21st century."

"The Mission," Styx's sixteenth studio album, was released via the band's label, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe. Of course it was a concept album - about the first "manned mission to Mars in the year 2033."

Vocalist/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, who joined in '99, bassist Ricky Phillips, an '03 addition, and drummer Todd Sucherman, on board since '95, completed the line-up.
Styx Discography

Studio Albums:

1972 Styx
1973 Styx II
1973 The Serpent Is Rising
1974 Man Of Miracles
1975 Equinox
1976 Crystal Ball
1977 The Grand Illusion
1978 Pieces Of Eight
1979 Cornerstone
1981 Paradise Theatre
1983 Kilroy Was Here
1990 Edge Of The Century
1999 Brave New World
2003 Cyclorama
2005 Big Bang Theory (covers)
2017 The Mission

"Styx Greatest Hits" provides the worthwhile songs without having to endure the concept of the concept albums. Individual Styx CDs (recorded for A&M) have their moments but not a lot of them.

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