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Album Review

After a major-label act passes its commercial heyday, the major label generally is left in control of the act's back catalog of recordings, and begins looking for ways to exploit it beyond just enjoying the residual sales of existing albums. Greatest-hits sets are one way to re-package material for re-sale, but what about all those tracks that weren't hits? How can they be recycled to bring in more revenue? One popular way is to cull ballads out for a "love songs" collection and release it around Valentine's Day. Here's another way: extracting a set of up-tempo numbers. In the case of Styx, of course, compiling an album called Rockers allows the current leaders of the group, James Young and Tommy Shaw, to assert their version of the band as a hard-rocking unit over departed singer Dennis DeYoung's more progressive and theatrical approach. Rockers, its tracks drawn from the band's 1975-1990 tenure on A&M Records, consists largely of LP tracks (the exceptions being the chart singles "Blue Collar Man [Long Nights]," "Renegade," and "Love Is the Ritual" and the non-chart single "Crystal Ball"). DeYoung is present on vocals and keyboards, but he is nearly cut out of the songwriting credits, his name appearing only as co-writer on "Snowblind" and "Little Suzie." Besides reducing DeYoung's role, the compilation emphasizes lesser-known Styx tracks; for example, the hit "Too Much Time on My Hands," though written by Shaw and very much a rocker, is not included. The result is a collection Styx fans can bang their heads to throughout without ever having to worry about taking out their lighters. But rocking remains only one of the things the group could do.


Formed: 1970 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they began as an artsy prog rock band, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late '70s and early '80s, due to a fondness for bombastic rockers and soaring power ballads. The seeds for the band were planted in another Chicago band during the late '60s, the Tradewinds, which featured brothers Chuck and John Panozzo (who played bass and drums, respectively), as well as acquaintance Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards). By the dawn of the '70s, the group...
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Rockers, Styx
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