Core Curriculum: Styx

Today I would like to begin my core curriculum series by looking at the music of Styx and pondering what songs of theirs are part of their core material that need to be understood if one wants to figure out if one is a fan of the band or not.  Like many legacy acts, Styx has a lot of compilation albums and those albums have a lot of material on them.  I would like to give a description of these compilation albums and then, from the songlists of those compilations, determine what songs are core songs of the group and what songs are more fringe songs that are sometimes recognized and sometimes not, so as to come up with an idea of what knowledge about the group is considered essential to be a fan.

The Compilations:

For the compilations on the list, I am using those compilations listed on Styx’s wikipedia page searched for their track listings.  If others have more compilations not included here (and box sets are excluded because they include far more than the usual compilations) I will add them and edit the conclusions accordingly.

Best Of Styx – In 1977 the Wooden Nickel label released the first compilation of the best Styx songs from their first four studio albums.  This can be considered as a best of volume 1 where one of the A&M versions (like 20th Century Masters or The Best Of Times:  The Best Of Styx) can be considered the second volume of a series.  Its track list is:

You Need Love
Lady
I’m Gonna Make You Feel It
What Has Come Between Us
Southern Woman
Rock & Roll Feeling
Winner Take All
Best Thing
Witch Wolf
The Grove Of Eglantine
Man Of Miracles

As a note, Wooden Nickel released a second best-of compilation called Lady in 1980 that removed “Winner Take All” and changed the order of the rest of the songs, but the collection is substantially identical and can be considered as a variant version of the previous and more complete version.

Styx Classics Volume 15 – In 1987, A&M Records released a 25th anniversary retrospective of Styx as part of a series of greatest hits albums for artists on the label and it only includes those songs that Styx released on the label up to that time.  Its track list is:

Babe
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Come Sail Away
Crystal Ball
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Light Up
Mr. Roboto
Renegade
The Best Of Times
Don’t Let It End
The Grand Illusion
Suite Madame Blue
Too Much Time On My Hands
Miss America (Live)

Styx – Radio-Made Hits 1975-1991 – This best-of collection was released by A&M in 1991 and is a rare radio sampler.  Its track list is:

Love At First Sight
Carrie Ann
Babe (2)
The Best Of Times (2)
Lady (2)
Come Sail Away (2)
Too Much Time On My Hands (2)
Mr. Roboto (2)
Lorelei
Renegade (2)
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (2)
Don’t Let It End (2)
Show Me The Way

Styx:  Greatest Hits – Released in 1995, this particular album is a replacement and updating of the previous A&M compilation Styx – Classics, Volume 15.  Its track list is:

Lady ’95 (2)
The Best Of Times (3)
Lorelei (2)
Too Much Time On My Hands (3)
Babe (3)
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (3)
Show Me The Way (2)
Renegade (3)
Come Sail Away (3)
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (3)
The Grand Illusion (2)
Crystal Ball (2)
Suite Madame Blue (2)
Miss America (2)
Mr. Roboto (3)
Don’t Let It End (3)

A follow-up to this album was released the following year and contains more obscure songs in Styx – Greatest Hits Part 2.  Its track list is as follows:

A.D. 1928
Rockin’ The Paradise
Light Up
Sing For The Day
First Time
Mademoiselle
Snowblind
Boat On The River
Borrowed Time
Lights
Queen Of Spades
Love At First Sight (2)
Haven’t We Been Here Before
Superstars
Little Suzie
It Takes Love

The Best Of Times:  The Best of Styx is another compilation that was released by A&M in 1997, and contains the following songs:

The Best Of Times (4)
Babe (4)
Boat On The River (2)
Mr. Roboto (4)
Show Me The Way (3)
Renegade (4)
Borrowed Time (2)
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (4)
A.D. 1928 (2)
Rockin’ The Paradise (2)
Sing For The Day (2)
Too Much Time On My Hands (4)
Don’t Let It End (4)
Lady (3)
Little Suzie (2)
It Takes Love (2)

In 1999 BMG, the owner of the Wooden Nickel label, tried its hand at a compilation of Styx’s earlier songs, including:

Rock & Roll Feeling (2)
Havin’ A Ball
Golden Lark
A Song For Suzanne
Lady (4)
You Need Love (2)
Witch Wolf (2)
The Grove Of Eglantine (2)
Young Man
A Day
You Better Ask
A Man Like Me
Winner Take All (2)
22 Years
The Serpent Is Rising
Southern Woman (2)
Christoper, Mr. Christopher
Man Of Miracles (2)

Extended Version – A&M decided to include a live best-of compilation of tracks that had been previously released in 1997’s Return To Paradise, including the following songs:

Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (5)
Lady (5)
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (5)
Renegade (5)
Show Me The Way (4)
Lorelei (3)
Babe (5)
Too Much Time On My Hands (5)
Come Sail Away (5)
The Best Of Times (5)

Later on, Styx included a much longer collection of their singles that included some of their more obscure singles, offering a combination of Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits Part 2 (see above for song list).

Styx:  Yesterday And Today – In 2001, BMG decided to combine four songs from Styx’s previous studio album along with three tracks from Return To Paradise and four unreleased songs from another live concert to create a best of compilation that includes the following songs:

Number One
Best New Face
Edge Of The Century
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (6)
On My Way
Dear John
The Grand Illusion (3)
Too Much Time On My Hands (6)
Brave New World
Everything Is Cool
Renegade (6)

Still later, A&M released a relatively short 11-track collection in their millennium collection series, with the following songs:

Too Much Time On My Hands (7)
Come Sail Away (6)
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (6)
Lorelei (4)
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (7)
Mr. Roboto (5)
Boat On The River (3)
The Best Of Times (6)
Mademoiselle (2)
Babe (6)
Show Me The Way (5)

In 2003, Styx released a collection of songs that sought to portray Styx as being a hard-rock act that deliberately avoided the ballads.  This album has the following track list:

Midnight Ride
Shooz
Crystal Ball (3)
Miss America (3)
Man In The Wilderness
Blue Collar Man (Long Night) (7)
Renegade (7)
Snowblind
Heavy Metal Poisoning
Love Is The Ritual
Little Suzie (3)

In 2004, Styx released a two-disk retrospective called Come Sail Away – The Styx Anthology, with quite a few songs on it, such as the following:

Best Thing (2)
You Need Love (3)
Lady (6)
Winner Take All (3)
Rock And Roll Feeling (3)
Light Up (2)
Lorelei (5)
Prelude 12
Suite Madame Blue (3)
Shooz (2)
Mademoiselle (3)
Crystal Ball (4)
The Grand Illusion (4)
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (8)
Come Sail Away (7)
Miss America (3)
Man In The Wilderness (2)
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (8)
Sing For The Day (2)
Renegade (8)
Pieces Of Eight
Lights (2)
Babe (7)
Borrowed Time (2)
Boat On The River (4)
A.D. 1928 (3)
Rockin’ The Paradise (3)
Too Much Time On My Hands (8)
The Best Of Times (7)
Snowblind (2)
Mr. Roboto (6)
Love Is The Ritual (2)
Show Me The Way (6)
Dear John (2)
One With Everything

At this point, at least, we have gone through the compilations that Wikipedia recognizes, and from that we can see several different levels of recognition as core material.  The songs included rank from one to eight times appearing on official compilations, and that provides us with a broad range of songs which have the highest degree of recognition as a core part of the Styx body of work.  Let us examine the order of these songs and how they appear, looking at those songs which are included more than two times as being sufficiently commonly recognized to form a part of Styx’s core curriculum:

8:  Too Much Time On My Hands, Renegade, Blue Collar Man (Long Nights), Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
7:  The Best Of Times, Babe, Come Sail Away
6:  Show Me The Way, Lady, Mr. Roboto
5:  Lorelei
4:  Boat On The River, The Grand Illusion, Don’t Let It End, Crystal Ball
3: Rockin’ The Paradise, A.D. 1928, Miss America, Mademoiselle, Rock And Roll Feeling, Winner Take All, You Need Love, Little Suzie

This leaves us with 23 songs that can be considered as part of the core music of the group over the years, most of which were released in the 1970’s and 1980’s, with 11 songs being included 5 or more times and the other 12 four or fewer times forming a natural divide between the higher consensus best songs of the group and those with less consensus.  And with that, we have a good idea of the core material of the group that someone needs to be familiar with to be able to recognize the best music of the group by the consensus of compilation albums.

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, NaNoWriMo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Core Curriculum: Styx

  1. capnhollis says:

    I witnessed Styx three times in the 70s and only now in the whole of a lifetime memory realize their greatness and place in rock history! Back then I thought them an also played live band!

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