AYL1-3888 Styx (Styx I)
Produced by Bill Traut and John Ryan
Released on September 1972
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
AYL1-3888 cover
[high resolution scan]

B efore The Grand Illusion, there was the grandiloquent confusion of “Movement For The Common Man,” a 13-minute suite that makes “By-Tor & The Snow Dog” sound like “Close to the Edge.” Styx’ debut does contain two tracks that point to the future: “Mother Nature’s Matinee” (actually the last part of the aforementioned suite) and the aptly titled “Best Thing.” The rest of the album is hard rock that occasionally feigns to prog much as Uriah Heep did (“What Has Come Between Us”). In a dynamic that would exist throughout their career, James Young and Dennis DeYoung push the band in very different directions: hard rock a la Allman Brothers (Young) and prog in the vein of Yes/ELP (DeYoung). Fortunately, the band meets in their harmonies: Young, DeYoung and Curulewski (the Cerberus of Styx) are hard-rock harmonic perfection. The best debut albums are often live-in-the-studio takes of their road repertoire, and there’s some of that on Styx the First. “Quick Is The Beat of My Heart” and “Best Thing,” for example, sound like the band has already worked the kinks out on stage. As for the opening Movement, that would have cleared out a club pretty quickly, so it’s likely the lure of a studio and the opportunity to say something BIG are at fault. (No one is going to land a contract based on “Children of the Land.”) In the cabinet marked eponymous prog debuts, Yes and ELP got out of the gate quickly, Rush opted to travel by way of zeppelin and Styx occasionally stalls as it learns to shift between prog and rock. (Note: This was originally released in 1972 with album artwork that didn’t suck my ass, and then re-released in 1980 with artwork that did. Loudly. I mean, look at it. Sux, doesn’t it? What does a race car even have to do with... oh, nevermind. It’s only Styx’ first album, after all, and if any of their albums deserved ass-sucking artwork, this is it. Styx II, now that deserved better.)

AYL1-3888 back cover
AYL1-3888 back cover


      Children of the Land    (James Young)
      Street Collage    (John Ryan)
      Fanfare For The Common Man    (Aaron Copland)
      Mother Nature's Matinee    (James Young/Dennis DeYoung)
  2. RIGHT AWAY    (Paul Frank)    3:40
  3. WHAT HAS COME BETWEEN US    (Mark Gaddis)    4:53
  4. BEST THING    (James Young/Dennis DeYoung)    3:13
  5. QUICK IS THE BEAT OF MY HEART    (Lewis Mark)    4:49
  6. AFTER YOU LEAVE ME    (George Clinton)    4:00


JOHN CURULEWSKI -- guitar, vocals and electronics
DENNIS DeYOUNG -- organ, piano, synthesizer and vocals
JOHN PANOZZO -- drums and percussion
JAMES YOUNG -- guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals
Marty Feldman -- engineer
Barry Mraz -- engineer, remixing
John Ryan -- remixing
Jay McLaughlin -- recordist (1b)
Joseph Stelmach -- art direction (1980 reissue)
Roland Young -- package design (1980 reissue)
Tim Clark -- illustration (1980 reissue)

return to STYX discography

US September 1972 Wooden Nickel LP WNS-1008  
US 1975 Wooden Nickel LP BWL1-1008  
US 1979 RCA LP AFL1-3593  
UK   RCA LP PL1-3593  
US 1980 RCA LP AYL1-3888 repackaged as STYX I
US 1998 One Way CD OW35130 repackaged as STYX I


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