SP-3719 Paradise Theater
Produced by Styx
Released on January 1981
Find it at GEMM
SP-3719 cover
[high resolution scan]

T hese are the beast of times. Paradise Theater is, I guess, a metaphor for the Rock And Roll Dream and how an innocent age had been lost since the ‘70s. Ironically, the track “Snowblind” purportedly contains the hidden backward message “Satan move through our voices,” which caused a good deal of controversy for the band. Said song is actually a cautionary tale against cocaine; apparently, Satan is paying for his sins through public service announcements. I’ve gone snipe hunting myself for the devil in the details, so I won’t dismiss subliminal satanic messages altogether, but I would point out that it seems like a lot of effort to seduce one bored Styx fan when the seven deadly sins have been getting the job done just fine these nigh millenia. Anyway, back to the Theater. Styx had long “staged” their albums; opening tracks often raised the curtain on 40 minutes of escape from reality (“Light Up,” “The Grand Illusion,” “Lights”). Paradise Theater goes one step further, staging an entire album around the concept of a theater’s opening and closing over a 30-year span. As a linear concept album, it holds together better than most of those Alan Parsons Project records (egyptology my tut). Bookended by A.D. 1928/1958 (venus and mars), the album follows illusions of grandeur to disillusionment, defeat, addiction and death. Not exactly a happy ending, but the curtain closes with a reminder that Paradise is only a dream away. Dennis DeYoung, not surprisingly, seems most interested in advancing the concept from song to song. The three songwriters, for the most part, do what they usually do: DeYoung delivers another dreamy ballad, “The Best of Times,” Tommy Shaw writes another Queen-worthy keeper, “Too Much Time On My Hands,” and James Young rocks out. After the (as much as a double-platinum album can be) disappointing Cornerstone, Paradise Theater returned the band to rock’s upper echelon. Along with The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, this is classic Styx. Punk would soon close down Paradise and prog’s pinnacle performers for good, but for one more night at least, they kept the Dream alive.


  1. A.D. 1928    (Dennis DeYoung)    1:07
  2. ROCKIN' THE PARADISE    (Dennis DeYoung/James Young/Tommy Shaw)    3:54
  3. TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS    (Tommy Shaw)    4:31
  4. NOTHING EVER GOES AS PLANNED    (Dennis DeYoung)    4:46
  5. THE BEST OF TIMES    (Dennis DeYoung)    4:17
  6. LONELY PEOPLE    (Dennis DeYoung)    4:38
  7. SHE CARES    (Tommy Shaw)    4:18
  8. SNOWBLIND    (James Young/Dennis DeYoung)    4:58
  9. HALF-PENNY, TWO PENNY    (James Young)    4:34
  10. A.D. 1958    (Dennis DeYoung)    2:31
  11. STATE STREET SADIE    (Dennis DeYoung)    0:27

    All songs arranged by Styx


DENNIS DeYOUNG -- keyboards & vocals, original paradise theater concept
CHUCK PANOZZO -- bass guitar & bass pedals
JOHN PANOZZO -- drums & percussion
TOMMY SHAW -- guitars & vocals
JAMES YOUNG -- guitars & vocals
Hangalator Horn Section
  Dan Barber
  Steve Eisen -- sax solos
  Mike Halpin
  John Haynor
  Mark Ohlsen
  Bill Simpson
Ed Tossing -- horn arrangements
Gary Loizzo -- engineer
Rob Kingsland -- engineer
Chuck Beeson & Jeff Ayeroff -- art direction & design
Chris Hopkins/Willardson & White, Inc. -- illustrations
Greg Murray -- photography
Marc Hauser -- photography
John Welzenbach -- photography

return to STYX discography

US/CAN January 1981 A&M LP/CS/8T SP/CS/8T-3719 gatefold cover, laser-etched vinyl
UK January 1981 A&M LP/CS AMLK/CKM-63719 gatefold cover, laser-etched vinyl
JPN 1981 A&M LP AMP-28022  
US 1984 A&M LP/CD SP/CD-3240  
JPN 2009 Universal CD UICY-93924 SHMCD remaster


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