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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Styx - 1977 The Grand Illusion
Styx - 1977 The Grand Illusion

ALBUM: The Grand Illusion
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1990, A&M, CCD 69878 * 2010, Audio Fidelity, AFZ067


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.

The Songs
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.

In Summary
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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#1 | richardb on June 15 2008 17:04:02
Played this album to death when I first got it many years ago and still a firm favourite now. 'Come sail away' is one of my favourites - I love the ethereal quality of the keyboards in the midsection of the song.

Richard B
#2 | rostoned on June 27 2008 18:16:50
Not one but two books on Styx were released in 2007: 'The Grand Illusion' (Amacom) by Chuck Panozzo and Michelle Skettino and 'The Grand Delusion' (BookSurge) by Sterling Whitaker. The latter is really FANTASTIC, nearly 400 pages chock full of accounts and trivia from band members, managers, record reps etc etc. Go to for purchase and more info. Well done Sterling! clap
#3 | richardb on June 28 2008 05:45:00
I'm sure this will be interesting reading - I also understand that a biography of Saga has been published recently that's worth checking out.

Richard B
#4 | trillion1999 on October 08 2011 23:46:18
POMP-Masterpiece! That drum-solo-part is suspiciously similar to the Time-ditto on Dark Side Of The Moon though.rolleyesI love to lay my hands on those three books.Thank you very much for this review that sparked comments including link and info.clap
#5 | gdazegod on October 09 2011 01:21:38
I have the Sterling Whittaker book. That is very good.
#6 | jeffrey343 on January 07 2014 15:45:58
This is one of the first records I got back in the day, my 10th-grade year when I was really discovering rock music. "Come Sail Away" was the main reason, as that song was making some sort of a comeback (at least in east Tennessee) in fall 1981. Maybe it never really went away, but it was really popular at that time for a song that was four years old. I was not a piano player, but I worked real hard to teach myself the intro to that song. The whole album is good, although I've really only listened to the three main hits much anymore. I just played the whole album for the first time in several years - I had forgotten how good "Man In The Wilderness" is.
#7 | super80boy on March 31 2014 04:04:52
I had forgotten how much of a monster song 'Come Sail Away' was I until spinning my new upgrade vinyl copy of this stellar album…that middle part with the keyboards and sound the hard rocking 'Miss America' is top notch…My vinyl copy also came with a large foldout poster of the band...
#8 | TheGrandIllusion on December 10 2016 02:04:40
The 'Grandest' of all Styx albums. 'Man In The Wilderness', 'Castle Walls' still give me chills. Love it!
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