Hello readers, I’m a big fan of classic rock. I’ve listened to classic bands like Boston, Rush, Journey, REO Speedwagon, and many more. I love all of them but the band that I personally seem to connect with the most is Styx. I just love their musical style and the ever evolving sound that they have. Now when most people think of Styx, they think of songs like Renegade, Lady, Mr. Roboto, Come Sail Away, Snowblind, and Blue Collar Man. I think those songs are great but I also think that there are songs by Styx that don’t really get the recognition that they deserve. So I present my opinion on the top 10 most underrated Styx songs.
#10 – Love is the Ritual
In 1983, Styx guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw left the band to pursue a solo career. The band was stuck with a decision to either wait for him or replace him. Styx ended up going on hiatus until 1990 when they came back together with a brand new guitarist and vocalist in Glen Burtnik. During their hiatus, the era of Glam Metal and upbeat rock songs was booming. To capitalize on this, Dennis DeYoung had Burtnik use of of his songs called Love is the Ritual on their new album. Many fans have criticized this move because it really departs from the traditional Styx sound. The song itself though rocks in my opinion and is definitely underrated.
#9 – Mother Dear
In 1975, Styx had a much different look to it. Tommy Shaw had not yet joined the band to for the classic line-up and a man named John “J.C.” Curulewski was their guitarist and one of their songwriters. This was also the year that Styx had finally broken into the big leagues by signing with A&M Records after 4 albums released by the Wooden Nickel label. They released the album Equinox during this year and one of the songs written by Curulewski was titled “Mother Dear”. After Curulewski’s departure from Styx, the band pretty much retired all of his songs. This one was rather good despite it’s unorthodox message to it.
#8 – Father OSA
These days, Styx doesn’t really give much attention to their first four albums. With the exception of Lady, Styx has pretty much retired everything from Styx I to Man of Miracles. This song in particular comes from their second album titled “Styx II”. I guess that was a thing back then which really was popularized by Led Zeppelin. Anyways, in the middle of the album, Dennis DeYoung plays an intro of Little Fugue in”G” leading into this song; which in my opinion is an amazing prog rock song that really does not get the credit it deserves.
#7 – A Day
John Curulewski was probably well known for his unorthodox tone in his songs. This one is no different. In this little piece, he is simply talking about your average day from dawn to dusk. It also deviates in speed and tempo from the beginning to the middle. It begins in an almost calm and soothing way and goes into an upbeat guitar solo, then just goes straight back to a slow and calming tone. Basically, this song takes you for a ride. Overall, this is a great piece of music from Styx that is relatively unknown to casual listeners.
#6 – Golden Lark
I’ve been on a lot of message boards and Youtube videos. A lot a people are pretty quick to dismiss the Man Of Miracles album. I read thing like it being simply “..the album before Equinox”. While it may not have been Styx’s most memorable work, there is a song on there that I think is really underrated. That being Golden Lark. This is not a hard rocking song at all. But it really is a beautiful work from the band. Dennis DeYoung is on lead vocals and plays the main melody for the song.
#5 – Queen of Spades
Many Tommy Shaw’s era Styx fans are quick to shun Dennis DeYoung for putting out works like Babe, and Don’t Let it End. But the man was also capable of putting out some really heavy stuff when he wanted to. Perfect example of this is none other than Queen of Spades from the Pieces of Eight album. This song here takes you into near Heavy Metal territory. Note that when this album was released, heavy metal was still quite in it’s infancy and coming into it’s own. From what I gather, this song never really got much play in live concerts and never really got truly recognized by casual listeners.
#4 – Man in the Wilderness
From my research, I came to the conclusion that fans online think that The Grand Illusion was the best Styx album that the band put out. It’s hard to argue with that too. It had classics like The Grand Illusion, Come Sail Away, Miss America, and Fooling Yourself. But one song that I think doesn’t get as much recognition from fans is Tommy Shaw’s B side song Man In the Wilderness. It starts off slow but then works its way up into a hard rock song. And the message that Shaw conveys through the song seems very genuine if you know how he came about to writing it.
#3 – Lords of the Ring
This song, from the Pieces of Eight album, definitely has a more throwback feel to it. It feels like a throwback to Styx Wooden Nickel days. If I had to select an album, I might say Man of Miracles. But the whole song is actually two tracks of the album. It begins with an intro called “The Message” and goes right into the main song afterwards. This song was written by Dennis DeYoung, but was sung by lead guitarist James “JY” Young. The overall composition is great in my opinion. To my knowledge, this song hasn’t had much recognition or live play. At least until recently when Styx had their “Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight” throwback tour.
#2 – Claire De Lune – Ballerina
If there’s one thing I love about Styx, it’s the fact that they took chances and combined certain songs with classical tunes of the past. Dennis DeYoung did just this in the last track of the Crystal Ball album. In the end he, Tommy Shaw, and James Young came out with a masterpiece of a song that just blows my mind every time I hear it. What I love about this song is the guitar solo that is shared between Shaw and Young at the end. Some of the greatest guitar work by both guys is shown in this number. I think it’s so unfortunate that to my knowledge, this song received very little to no live play in concert. And because of that I think this song is extremely underrated.
#1 – Suite Madam Blue
Why is Suite Madam Blue ranked at number one? After all, it has had live play in concerts right? Yes, but the reason I think that this song may be the most underrated Styx song of all time is the fact that a lot of people seem to forget about it. Instead they focus on other songs that Dennis DeYoung wrote such as Babe, Mr Roboto, Come Sail Away, Don’t let it End, Lady, and the other things that they either love or shun. But most seem to forget that DeYoung had written Suite Madam Blue. This song is probably one of the more emotional songs by Styx and one of the most beautifully composed pieces. At one point it even goes into a full blown metal song. Plus the message about America is strong and ever present in this master piece. Suite Madam Blue is probably one of the greatest songs written by Styx, but unfortunately gets lost in the shadow of their other works.
These are the 10 songs by the classic 70’s rock band Styx, that I truly think do not get enough credit. What do you think? Do you have another song in mind? Let me know down in the comments and thanks for reading!