Archive for PIeces of Eight

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Styx- Kilroy Was Here

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Styx_-_Kilroy_Was_Here

First of all, according to Wikapedia, I made a boo boo in regards to this album from Styx. All of these years, I assumed it was released in late 1982 because I was stationed on Okinawa and later Mt. Fuji, Japan at the time and there were many albums released in the late part of 1982 that didn’t come to my attention until 1983. This was because it took time for news of new albums to make their way around the world and therefore, I assumed this to be the case here. Wikapedia states that the last album by Styx, “Kilroy Was Here,” was released in 1983. So, I apologize for the historical inaccuracy on this one.

For me and I have said this several times already on other blogs, “Kilroy Was Here” is not my favourite Styx album. It doesn’t even come close to comparing to the likes of “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight.” Styx definitely go for a more keyboard oriented progressive sound on this one. While there are some moments of the more traditional hard rock sound they were better known for, there’s not enough of those moments. Even with the heaviest song on the album “Heavy Metal Poisoning,” they hold back on it. The song should have been a straight forward bang your head and beat your chest rocker but sadly, it doesn’t quite come up to the mark. When I first heard the song, I thought it was an anti- heavy metal song but listening to the lyrics more closely, it rips on those who are anti- metal and would love nothing more to see it gone. Therefore, the song redeems itself a little here.

“Just Get Through This” is another song which goes along in the traditional sense of Styx but only because it is one of those that starts off with a soft piano and keyboard before a heavy guitar kicks in and the guitar solo also reminds me of better days. “Don’t Let It End” is another song that is more the Styx I had known and loved before that. However, I must say, if I was one those type of people who buy or not buy an album based on the single, then I would not have bought this album. “Mr Roboto” has never impressed me. Saying all this and in spite of my moaning about “Kilroy Was Here” not being hard rock enough, which it’s not, the album is not a disaster. There are enough good moments on here to make the listening enjoyable but nothing more.

Track Listing:

1. Mr Roboto

2. Cold War

3. Don’t Let It End

4. High Time

5. Heavy Metal Poisoning

6. Just Get Through This

7. Double Life

8. Haven’t We Been Here Before

9. Don’t Let It End (reprise)

Styx

Styx

Dennis DeYoung- keyboards, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitar, vocals

James Young- guitar, vocals

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

Jack Panozzo- drums, vocals

Another redeeming feature about “Kilroy Was Here” was I would eventually learn that the album tells a story about rock music being outlawed by a fascist government. The irony is that as the 1980s progressed, the fear of that happening was looking like a certain reality. Styx would split up after this album and many would point the album as the cause. There was strife between Young and Shaw about how progressive the band should go but there were other factors as well. “Kilroy Was Here” might have been the end of Styx but it could never kill the legacy of great music the band left behind.

Next post: Jefferson Starship- Winds of Change

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Styx- Paradise Theatre

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Styx_-_Paradise_Theater

REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Infidelity” might have been the first album I encountered when I returned to the States in 1981 but “Paradise Theatre” from Styx was the first album I encountered when I got home on leave. After being slightly disappointed with their more progressive “Cornerstone” album, I was more optimistic that, with this album, they would return more to the harder sounds of “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight.” My optimism became well placed when I heard the first single offered up to radio from the album, “The Best of Times.” The start took me back to the days of “Come Sail Away” and like those days, the song has that traditional Styx guitar solo compliments of Tommy Shaw. Then came the second single, “Too Much Time On My Hands.” That song reminded of the very popular “Renegade” from the “Pieces of Eight.” Those songs were more than enough for me to check out the rest of the album.

What I find interesting on the “Paradise Theatre” album is that Styx try to go back to their roots while at the same time, also try to branch out into different directions. First there are the more traditional Styx tracks like the two already mentioned plus the very memorable “Snowblind,” “Rockin’ In Paradise” and “Halfpenny, Two-Penny,” all cool rockers. Then there are the other songs which they incorporate saxophone solos from Steve Eisen. It’s easy to think “What the hell are they doing here?” especially from those in the “No horns in hard rock or metal” brigade, but in each and every song, those sax solos work. Most notable is the track, “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned.” That song works well on so many levels. All of that aside, I think the main element that convinces me that they are going back to their roots with this album is that Tommy Shaw and James Young work their magic on each and every song save for the short opener and closer. They definitely demonstrate they still know how to bend a six string and as it did then, it makes it for me now.

Track Listing:

1. AD 1928

2. Rockin’ in Paradise

3. Too Much Time On My Hands

4. Nothing Ever Goes As Planned

5. The Best of Times

6. Lonely People

7. She Cares

8. Snowblind

9. Halfpenny, Two-Penny

10. AD 1958

11. State Street Sadie

Styx

Styx

Dennis DeYoung- keyboards, vocals

Chuck Panozzo- bass

John Panozzo- drums

Tommy Shaw- guitars, vocals

James Young- guitars, vocals

After six months away from home while serving your country, two weeks of leave is something that is definitely needed to regain one’s sanity. I managed to do that and this album from the dependable Styx was certainly a great help. Some say that this album was a sort of last hurrah for them. I don’t know about that nor do I care, I just love the album.

Next post: Joan Armatrading- Me, Myself and I

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Styx- Cornerstone

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by 80smetalman

Styx_-_Cornerstone

Like I did with 1978 and 79, I am starting off 1980 with albums that were released in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the year I’m posting about. “Head Games” by Foreigner was one and so was “Cornerstone” by Styx. The album first came to my attention in the February courtesy of what is probably their best known single, “Babe.” During that month, it seemed every time I would return to base via the back gate, that song was blasting out of the juke box in the bar across the street. I know for a fact that the bar in question was called The Zodiac because the bar next door to it, Dale’s, had mostly country music on their box, although they did serve a delicious bowl of chilli. As a result, I got to hear the song quite a bit and while on the subject, I promise that I won’t link every album between 1980 and 83 with my military experiences.

No band, with the possible exception of Kansas, was able to equal Styx in the art of fusing progressive rock and hard rock. Their previous two albums, “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight” plus much of their earlier records bare witness to this. “Cornerstone” is more a lurch to the progressive side of their sound. Most of the album seems to follow the flow of the march behind “Babe” and their other single “Why Me” with the progressive sound. The one track that tends to be more harder rock is “Borrowed Time.” This is not to say that it’s not a good album, in no way is it bad and the guitar solo by Tommy Shaw on “First Time” reminded me of that great times of the previous albums.

Track Listing:

1. Lights

2. Why Me

3. Babe

4. Never Say Never

5. Boat on a River

6. Borrowed Time

7. First Time

8. Eddie

9. Love in the Midnight

Styx

Styx

Dennis DeYoung- keyboards, vocals, accordion

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

John Panozzo- drums, percussion, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitars, vocals, mandolin

James Young- guitars, vocals

When the album came out, many hard rockers were disappointed by “Cornerstone” for it’s more progressive sound. Some  rock historians say that this album began their slide into commericaldom. I don’t think so and I’ll argue the case in 1981. For me, it’s still a good album with a well known song that brings back memories. I wonder if The Zodiac is still there.

Next post: Pink Floyd- The Wall

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublshinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Froogle and Barnes & Noble and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1978: Styx- Pieces of Eight

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

It is not very common that when an artist puts out a great album, they follow it up with another great album. There are many examples where this has come close, but usually one album is usually slightly better than the other. But this is exactly what Styx accomplished in 1977 and 78. In 1977, they put out the iconic album “The Grand Illusion,” which I talked about a couple of months ago in a previous post. A year later, they followed it up with the release of “Pieces of Eight,” which is another iconic album equally as brilliant as the first.

Like its predecessor, “Pieces of Eight” has some great hard rocking tunes like “Renegade” and “Great White Hope” as well as some more progressive rock tracks like “I’m OK,” “Sing for the Day” and “The Message” and then combine both elements in tracks like “Blue Collar Man.” Of course the other tracks are strong too and takes this album out of the shadow of “The Grand Illusion” and put it on an equal standing with it.

Track Listing:

1. Great White Hope

2. I’m OK

3.Sing for the Day

4. The Message

5. Lords of the Ring

6. Blue Collar Man

7. Queen of Spades

8. Renegade

9 Pieces of Eight

10. Aku Aku

Styx:

Dennis DeYoung- keyboads, synthesisers, pipe organ, vocals

James Young- guitars, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitars, mandolin, vocals

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

John Panozzo- drums, vocals

With “Pieces of Eight,” Styx accomplished what many acts have never been able to do. That is follow a great album up with another. It all takes me back to the time when this album defied the disco craze and gave us some great music to listen to.

Next post: Queen- News of the World

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