‘The Grand Illusion’ could be considered Styx’s commercial breakthrough album.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: The Grand Illusion
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Dennis DeYoung – 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
WEBLINKS: Site Link
‘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 success in more ways than one, 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, but still right up there as one of the crowning moments for Styx.
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. Even the opening title track ‘The Grand Illusion’ which is kinda bombastic in its own way should not be forgotten either.
The next few years were Styx’s best and successful period, going on to superstar status during the early 80’s Paradise and Kilroy eras. All of the members (excluding the late John Panozzo), are still active within the melodic rock genre. Styx have even been known to play the entirety of this album in recent years, more as a classic flashback to their adoring fan base.
The 2001 lineup contains Canadian Larry Gowan as a member of the band, replacing Dennis DeYoung. They also added former Babys and Bad English bassist Ricky Phillips to the fold as well. The band continues well into the 21st century, as evidenced by their newer releases ‘The Mission’ and ‘Crash Of The Crown’. All can be read by clicking the Styx tag below.