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Pieces of Eight

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Editors’ Notes

According to frontman Dennis DeYoung, the concept behind Styx’s 1978 album Pieces of Eight is making one’s dreams a top priority over wealth and material possessions. Ironically, Pieces of Eight went triple-platinum, making the band members wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. James Young takes the mic on the opening “Great White Hope,” a galloping and energetic prog-pop hybrid with flawless five-part vocal harmonies and an orchestra of synths that sound like they were played by the cloned offspring of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” leans especially hard on Emerson’s style of heady synths and organ wizardry, contrasting such complexity with a super-charged workingman’s anthem loaded with grappling pop hooks. But it was the band’s youngest member, Tommy Shaw, who sang the album’s most popular cut. Over a backdrop of the album’s hardest-rocking arrangements, “Renegade” told the tale of a captured Old West outlaw who faces execution by hanging. Ever since 2001, the song has been given new life as theme music for the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense.

Customer Reviews

Definately worth a listen

I have been a Styx fan since I heard this record in the late 70s. I'd say that with most of their music, if it wasn't for the fact that I was a fan as a child (I was in elementary school when I first became a fan) and have been listening since I probably wouldn't like it much. Much of it is rather arrogant and pompous, some of it quite juvenile. Still, this album stands on its own. It is one of two Styx albums that even people who aren't Styx fans should consider. It is truly a good record, with many good songs.

Styx at their Best!

This is a must have album. Blue Collar Man and Renegade are the greatest hit on the album. If you just buy the hits you'll miss out on the rest of this awesome album. This album was arranged very well.

Queen of Spades is a great song!

Blue Collar Man and Renegade get all of the attention on this album and they are, indeed classic rock anthems. However, in my opinion, Queen of Spades is one of Styx's best songs ever and definitely an underrated classic. Similar in veign to Suite Madame Blue (my other favorite Styx song), both of these songs are the epitomy of Styx. Dennis' soaring vocals, lots of melody, screaming guitar solos from JY and Tommy, and excellent musicianship throughout. Listen to all of the songs on both Renegade and Equinox and you'll discover just how good these guys were.


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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