SP-4637 The Grand Illusion
Produced by Styx
Released on July 1977
Find it at GEMM
SP-4637 cover  

A nother rite of passage in the ‘70s: closing the door in your room, turning up The Grand Illusion, and feeling the walls disappear. The record’s concept (stardom) dovetailed nicely with the aspirations of teenagers everywhere, flush as they were with the dreams of invincible youth. Hearing it today as an adult, some of the original power is surely lost, but it still ranks as a remarkable record. In fact, the first side of music is a classic piece of vinyl: “The Grand Illusion,” “Fooling Yourself,” “Superstars” and “Come Sail Away” were played on the radio until they permeated the collective consciousness. The appeal of Styx is a range of musical styles and influences. Dennis De Young invites comparison to Genesis’ Tony Banks, Tommy Shaw to Queen’s Brian May, James Young to Kiss’ Paul Stanley. Talented singers and songwriters each, the trio give Styx a range similar to Queen. The three tend to pull the band in different directions on the second side, but finding time for different voices in the context of a concept album is tricky work. I’ve only begrudgingly accepted the idea that acts like Styx, Supertramp and Boston belonged in the progressive camp; I’ve always felt more comfortable calling them “pomp rock” and placing a barrier that included Queen and Alan Parsons Project between these and my beloved prog artists. After staring into the heart of The Grand Illusion, however, I’ll agree that this is progressive rock (the strength of Dennis De Young’s arrangements won me over). I’ll even go one step further and call it a classic in the annals of progressive rock, albeit with an asterisk that says (*If you agree that progressive rock can overtly play to the tastes of the time). Anyway, you’ll make up your own mind about Styx, but you’ll need to start here on your journey.

SP-4637 back cover SP-4637 lyric sleeve
SP-4637 back cover SP-4637 lyric sleeve


  1. THE GRAND ILLUSION    (Dennis De Young)    4:36
  2. FOOLING YOURSELF (THE ANGRY YOUNG MAN)    (Tommy Shaw)    5:29
  3. SUPERSTARS    (James Young/Dennis De Young/Tommy Shaw)    3:59
  4. COME SAIL AWAY    (Dennis De Young)    6:-07
  5. MISS AMERICA    (James Young)    5:01
  6. MAN IN THE WILDERNESS    (Tommy Shaw)    5:49
  7. CASTLE WALLS    (Dennis De Young)    6:00
  8. THE GRAND FINALE    (Dennis De Young/James Young/Tommy Shaw)    1:58


DENNIS DE YOUNG -- keyboards, vocals and synthesizers
CHUCK PANOZZO -- bass guitar and vocals
JOHN PANOZZO -- drums, percussion and vocals
TOMMY SHAW -- acoustic, electric and 12-string guitars and vocals
JAMES YOUNG -- guitars and vocals
Barry Mraz -- production assistance, engineer, remix
Rob Kingsland -- engineer, remix
Styx -- remix
Roland Young -- art direction
Jim McCrary -- photography
Chuck Beeson -- album design

return to STYX discography

US/CAN July 1977 A&M LP/CS SP/MCS-4637 lyric sleeve
UK/GER July 1977 A&M LP/CS AMLH/CAM-64637  
US   A&M LP/CD/CS 3223  
    Mobile Fidelity LP MFSL-1-026 original master recording



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