10 Essential Styx Songs

Styx Songs

Photo: By Ralph Arvesen [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most popular bands of the 1970s that blended the sounds of pop music and progressive rock was the band Styx. There are bands in classic rock history that fans fall in love with instantly. Styx was one of those well-loved bands. Their songs infiltrated pop culture daily. From 1975 to the early 1980s, the band had a very successful string of commercial hits released from albums that still displayed the concepts of progressiveness in music. The band had a look that transcended well on television as they became one of MTV’s favorite groups. The band’s concerts were exciting. Styx was rock and roll. They were almost God-like in some fashion, but their music was down to earth and relatable to many.

The band Styx released their first album in 1972 entitled Styx. The following year, the band released their second album entitled appropriately Styx II. The album featured the hit single “Lady,” which reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would be the band’s first hit single of many more to follow. Throughout the band’s long career, they have released seventeen studio albums. The group lost key members over the years, and there were numerous personal changes as members came and went. Our favorite Styx lineup consisted of Dennis DeYoung on vocals and keyboards, Tommy Shaw (who did not join the band until the group’s sixth album), James Young on vocals, guitars, and keyboards, Chuck Panozzo on bass, and John Panozzo on drums.

Our top 10 Styx songs list picks some choice cuts from the band’s glory years which most fans would agree occurred from 1973 to 1983. However, we did not just concentrate on the hits as we believe some of the music released on their earlier, more progressive albums defined some of their best moments.

# 11 – Suite Madame Blue

This list was originally ten songs, but many people kept asking why we did not have “Suite Madame Blue” on the list. We always thought this song sounded too much like Led  Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” So we ignored it. However, the people have spoken. So this one goes up “to 11.”

The song “Suite Madame Blue” was released on the Styx album entitled Equinox. The album was released in 1975. “Suite Madame Blue” was the closing track on the album’s second side. Dennis DeYoung wrote the song.

# 10 – Too Much Time On My Hands

We always loved the song “Too Much Time On My Hands,” but the video was unbearable to watch until Jimmy Fallon finally took care of our pain and goofed on it many years later. What was Dennis DeYoung thinking when he made this video? Thanks, Jimmy. It is still a great song, but it proved how MTV ruined so many songs with some of the horrible productions that bands released on video. Check out the Jimmy Fallon spoof video below.

# 9 – Movement For The Common Man

The band sounds very different on this epic progressive track than they did ten years later when they released the sugar-coated ballad “Babe,” which will not appear on this list. Progressive Rock music was massive in the early 1970s when this song was released. Bands like Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Pink Floyd were huge in the early 1970s.  The song “Movement For The Common Man” was released on the band’s debut album, Styx. in 1972.

# 8 – Come Sail Away

This was one of the songs that turned millions of fans onto the band. It’s a great song, but it did push the band to tilt toward a more pop-oriented sound once they made megabucks with this one. The song “Come Sail Away” was released on the band’s greatest album, The Grand Illusion. The album was released in 1977.

# 7 – Renegade

I love the acapella opening to this song. The excellent guitar lick that opens the musical section of the track was to die for. It’s just a great rock and roll song. This is what you call a lick! “Renegade” was released on the Styx album entitled Pieces of Eight. The album was released in 1978. It served as the follow-up to The Grand Illusion. 

# 6 – Fooling Yourself

The great Styx song, “Fooling Yourself,” was one of our favorite Styx songs from the classic Grand Illusion album. Listen to the sound of those keyboards! The song was the follow-up single to the band’s massive hit, “Come Sail Away.” We always liked this one better.

# 5 – Mission To Mars

Over 45 years after their debut album, Styx is still releasing records. Now, of course, the lineup is missing Dennis DeYoung. Tommy Shaw, James Young, and Chuck Panozzo are still in the band. This great track, “Mission to Mars,” was the closing track from their 2016 album, The Mission.

# 4 – Lorelei

“Lorelei,” was the band’s second hit single after their first hit “Lady,” which was released a few years earlier. “Lorelei,” was also the second single released from the album Equinox. The album was released in 1975. “Lorelei,” was an intense pop single that crossed the genres of rock, pop, and progressiveness in three and a half minutes.

# 3 – The Grand Illusion

The opening song of the album The Grand Illusion was a bombastic celebration of progressive rock wrapped in slick production, tight arrangements, and brilliant musicianship. I could not stop playing this album when I first purchased it 40 years ago.

# 2 – Lady

The band’s first hit single has remained one of our favorite Styx songs. It is simply just a gorgeous song. The song “Lady” was released on the band’s second album, Styx II. The record was released in 1973. The song was released before Styx signed their major label contract with A&M Records. It took two years before the song became a hit.

# 1 – The Serpent is Rising

Yeah, we know, most Top 10 Styx songs list rate “Come Sail Away” as the band’s best song. However, if you’re a real progressive music rock fan or just a fan of great rock music, how can you argue with this choice? It’s not always about the most popular song. “The Serpent Is Rising” was released on the band’s album of the same name. John Curulewski and Charles Lofrano wrote the music.

Updated November 29, 2023

Top 10 Styx Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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