ALBUM: The Grand Illusion
CD REISSUE: 1990, A&M, CCD 69878 * 2010, Audio Fidelity, AFZ067
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Dennis De Young - vocals, keyboards * Tommy Shaw - vocals, guitars * James Young - guitars, vocals * Chuck Panozzo - bass, vocals * John Panozzo - drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Grand Illusion * 02 Fooling Yourself * 03 Superstars * 04 Come Sail Away * 05 Miss America * 06 Man In The Wilderness * 07 Castle Walls * 08 The Grand Finale
'The Grand Illusion' could be considered Styx's commercial breakthrough album. Released in 1977, the band from Chicago had released many albums beforehand, but their best move was to bring onboard a youthful guitarist in Tommy Shaw, who had made his introduction with Styx the year before on 'Crystal Ball'. Though a commercial success, the album still contains many grandiose moments, and when compared to their 'Pieces Of Eight' album the following year, it would be considered lightweight at best.
Dennis De Young's trademark keyboards are all over this album, with organ and synthesizer runs everywhere. Though there are only eight songs, they are mostly memorable. The pomp opus of 'Man In The Wilderness' is still listenable after all these years. Even the dark and brooding 'Castle Walls' would be voted as one of best songs they've written. The OTT keyboards during the middle section and the stinging Tommy Shaw guitar solo still sends shivers down the spine. They even managed to get a hit single called 'Come Sail Away', while other tracks such as the guitar driven blast of 'Miss America' and 'Foolin' Yourself' add to an already great cast.
The next few years were Styx's best and successful period, going on to superstar status during the early eighties and beyond. All of the members (excluding the late John Panozzo), are still active within the melodic rock genre. The current lineup (circa 2001) contains Canadian Larry Gowan
as a member of the band, replacing Dennis De Young, while New Jersey rocker Glen Burtnick
is in there too. Not sure if this is the definitive lineup, but glad to see they are still going, and having fun.
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