Styx started their career in progressive rock in 1972. The first line up of the band was Dennis DeYoung, James Young, John Curulewski and brothers Chuck and John Panozzo. In 1976 John Curelewski was replaced by Tommy Shaw who would become important for their success. Their best albums start with "Equinox" from 1975 and then "Crystal Ball" in 1976.

Single covers: Sing For The Day and Renegade

Their breakthrough in North America came in 1977 with "The Grand Illusion" but with their next album it would become worldwide. "Pieces of Eight" is a concept album from Styx about Money and how it dominates people's lives. And as a result of the success of this album the band got better financially themselves. Their progressive rock sound started to become commercial. The album was again recorded at the Paragon Studios in their hometown Chicago like their previous 3 albums ("Equinox", "Crystal Ball" and "The Grand Illusion").

Styx in 1978

The album opens with "Great White Hope" by James Young. The title and story of the song was based on a movie from 1970 with the same title. About a boxer who fights his way out of poverty. "I'm Okay" by De Young and Young continues the opener in the same style. "Sing For The Day" is one of my favourite songs from Styx and reached #18 in the Netherlands as a single. Followed by 2 songs written by DeYoung: "The Message" which is instrumental and "Lord Of The Ring" which of course refers to the classic novel by Tolkien. "Blue Collar Man" is about unemployment that was inspired by a friend of Shaw who worked in the auto industry and kept losing jobs. As a single it reached #21 in the US and #47 in the Netherlands. "Queen of Spades" is about gambling. "Renegade" was released as a single reaching #16 in the US. The title track was written by DeYoung. The album ends with an instrumental by Shaw titled "Aku-Aku". 

Inner sleeve picture

In the UK it appeared that punk made a break-through and progressive rock was not popular anymore so the album didn't do much over there. It did much beter in the US reaching #6 as well as the Netherlands reaching #20. So the next album "Cornerstone" moved towards a more commercial rock sound with the hit single "Babe". Unfortunately it led to frictions within the band because of the more commercial sound.

Original album cover
Pieces Of Eight (1978)
Great White Hope / I'm O.K. / Sing for the Day / The Message / Lords of the Ring / Blue Collar Man / Queen of Spades / Renegade / Pieces of Eight / Aku Aku

Sing For The Day

Great White Hope

The Message/Lord Of The Ring