The power rock bands of the late '70s paved the way for the big-hair metal bands of the '80s. In the middle of all the action, Styx decided to track more into the progressive rock scene, though their power ballads really cemented their reputation.
In the late '60s in Chicago, Chuck and John Panozzo played bass and drums, respectively, in a band called Tradewinds, along with vocalist/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung. As the 1970s rolled around, they added guitarists James "JY" Young and John Curulewski, got a record deal, and became Styx.
The band's first four albums – Styx in 1972, Styx II in 1973, The Serpent Is Rising in 1974, and Man of Miracles in 1975 – and supporting tours didn't manage to find an audience. Finally, a Chicago radio station latched onto “Lady” from Styx II and a hit was born.
In 1975, Styx changed labels, issued Equinox, and replaced Curulewski with Tommy Shaw as they went on tour. Platinum albums became the order of the day from there on out for Crystal Ball in 1976, The Grand Illusion in 1977, Pieces of Eight in 1978, and Cornerstone in 1979. Some of the instant Styx classics included "Come Sail Away," "Blue Collar Man," and "Babe."
Then, with 1981's Paradise Theater, Styx really hit the big time. "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "The Best of Times" both stormed the charts, but artistic differences were taking hold between DeYoung and Shaw. Those struggles plagued 1983's Kilroy Was Here and caused the band to dissolve.
Caught in the Act, a 1984 live album, would be the last Styx release before everyone went their separate ways, at least for a while.
Styx reunited for 1990's Edge of the Century with Glen Burtnkik filling in for Shaw, but the effort was short-lived. Five years later, Shaw signed on for “Lady '95,” a new cut added to their Greatest Hits, and a reunion tour.
After 1997's Return to Paradise live set, Styx pushed out Brave New World in 1999 and then went back on hiatus. With DeYoung sidelined for health reasons, vocalist Lawrence Gowan was recruited for 2000's Arch Allies: Live at Riverport, 2001's Styx World: Live 2001, and 2003's Cyclorama.
The following year, Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology was issued followed in close order by The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings. A covers collection, Big Bang Theory, came in 2005 with an album of new material, One with Everything, in 2006.
To support their ongoing tours, Styx reached back into their catalogs for Regeneration: Volumes 1 and 2, in 2010 and 2011, respectively.