(l-r) Dennis DeYoung, formerly of Styx (Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Best Buddies); James "J.Y." Young and Tommy Shaw, currently of Styx (Photo: Skip Bolen/Getty Images)

Styx has been around for more then fifty years and is still one of those bands that is impossible to pin down in any single category. This multifaceted group of talented and versatile musicians easily navigated between hard-driving anthems and softer ballads. In their creative evolution, Styx made a seamless transition from the progressive rock of the 1970s to the synth-pop of the ’80s. And through it all, these chameleons of rock have brought elements of musical theater to their repertoire.

The story begins on the South Side of Chicago in 1961 when 12-year-old twin brothers John and Chuck Panozzo teamed up with their 14-year-old neighbor, Dennis DeYoung, and started a band called The Tradewinds. They kept at it through their high school and college years, adding new members along the way. The band members adopted the name Styx upon signing their first record deal  in 1972.

Styx And Dennis DeYoung Part Ways

During the initial run of success for Styx between 1972 and 1984, Dennis DeYoung sang lead vocals on the majority of their singles. He and the band parted ways for good in 1999. In addition to continuing his career as a solo artist, DeYoung composed the music for a stage production of 101 Dalmatians, which toured nationally from 2009 to 2010.

The videos in this edition of the Throwback Threesome are all from the Dennis DeYoung era. Following DeYoung’s departure from the band, singing duties have been shared by Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, and Lawrence Gowan. They continue to lead Styx on tour with founding member Chuck Panozzo. You can see them at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte with Foreigner and John Waite on July 13, 2024.

  • Babe (1979)

    “Babe” was the lead single from the band’s 1979 triple-platinum album Cornerstone. The song was written by Dennis DeYoung as a birthday present for his wife, Suzanne. It was not originally intended to be a Styx track, but band mates James “J.Y.” Young and Tommy Shaw convinced DeYoung to put the song on the album. It was the group’s first, and only, #1 single in the U.S.

  • The Best of Times (1981)

    “The Best of Times” was released by Styx in 1981 as the first single from their tenth album, Paradise Theatre. It made it up to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Despite the song’s success, the song has not been performed live by the band since Dennis DeYoung was replaced in 1999. However, DeYoung continued to perform the song on his solo tours.

  • Mr. Roboto (1983)

    “Mr. Roboto” was written by Dennis DeYoung for the 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kilroy Was Here was a rock opera about a world where rock music is outlawed and is named after a famous World War II graffiti tag “Kilroy was here.” It was the final album of original material to be released by the classic Styx lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, John Panozzo, and Chuck Panozzo.

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