Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Styx

Influence is a funny thing.  Sometimes that influence is direct, in the sense that a band and its approach are copied by others, and sometimes that influence is most visible in a negative sense at being the source of ridicule.  Thankfully, Styx is not a band that has been ridiculed to the extent that other bands have–think of Nickelback or Florida George Line, for example–but they are a band that exhibits a stark divide between a wide variety of popular success and a high degree of critical disapproval.  As a band which achieved its greatest popular success in the 1970’s and early 1980’s (although not only then, as we will see), it has a lot in common with other bands whose critical disapproval was matched with popular appeal to a wide and appreciative and loyal audience [1].  More than a decade ago I had the chance to buy at a reduced price an album by the band when a friend of mine came under the idea that it was incompatible with our shared beliefs.  I did not agree with him, but I have never had any reason to regret buying the album either, as it was and remains a worthwhile one to listen to.

The Influence Of Styx

What sort of influence has Styx had as a band?  This has been a complicated one, as I will try to indicate with a series of vignettes.  The concept album from the band, Kilroy Was Here, that marked the end of the band’s initial period of popularity and success, has been pilloried by Todd In The Shadows as part of his Trainwreckords series, and was also adapted by the color guard of my high school when I was a student there.  Songs of theirs have appeared on popular television shows like South Park as well, which demonstrates that long after the band has reached the peak of its popularity, their music continues to endure within the popular culture as a whole.  The band is also active on the legacy tour circuit, although with different musicians and a different singer than its core band, which suffered a great deal of creative tension–and what is more rock and roll than that?  Great art has often come through great tension between people with different creative visions and that has certainly been the case throughout the history of Styx as a band.  The enduring popularity and success of the band’s more ambitious albums like Paradise Theater and Kilroy Was Here demonstrates the enduring viability of its melodic progressive rock.

Why Styx Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Styx is one of the few bands that has had top ten hits in three decades, and other bands and musicians that have been able to do this–The Beatles, the Beach Boys, The Moody Blues, and Elton John among them–are undoubted giants in the history of rock & roll music.  The influence of Styx extends both in terms of their albums as well as their popular hit singles.  Among their albums, they had a series of four straight multi-platinum albums, and five total, in addition to a platinum album and six gold albums including certifications for studio, live, and compilation albums over the course of their long career.  Concerning their enduring songs, Styx has had a #1 hit (“Babe), seven additional top ten hits (“Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “The Best Of Times,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Don’t Let It End,” and “Show Me The Way”), and eight additional top 40 hits including such enduring songs as “Renegade” and “Fooling Yourself [2].”  This is a band that has had a long-lasting set of songs that remains enduringly popular on classic rock stations and clearly would sound good coming from a jukebox in Cleveland, regardless of what critics say.  Even if Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw had a hard time making music together, they made some great music together as well as apart, music that is worth remembering and celebrating.

Why Styx Aren’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

It is pretty likely that the band’s popularity with mass audiences has not really connected at all with the critically inclined people who choose to nominate and induct bands for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It is unlikely that any amount of sales or popular singles–and Styx certainly had more than all but a small number of bands–would make the band an easy case for critics, but it is likely that the band would have a greater chance at induction if its many fans were a bit louder in its support.  Styx is definitely a band that could use a strong “get out the vote” campaign to remind people of how many great songs it has and how strong of a career the band has when looked at over the long haul and both in singles as well as their albums as a whole–including concept albums that have been released as recently as 2017 (about a futuristic mission to Mars).

Verdict:  I can’t believe they’re not in already.  There really is no sense why this band couldn’t be inducted, not least to see a one-off reunion between Dennis DeYoung and the surviving members of the band to see them play their old hits.  This should not be hard to mange.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-chicago/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bryan-adams/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-the-doobie-brothers/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-the-carpenters/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-toto/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-dan-fogelberg/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-foreigner/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-pat-benatar/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-huey-lewis-the-news/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-steve-winwood/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/01/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-boston/

[2] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styx_discography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styx_(band)

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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