I suppose their best output was in the '70s. However I became aware of Styx due to "Caught in the Act" from the Kilroy tour which was in the '80s. Of course I didn't discover them until about five years ago. I picked up the concert DVD on a lark, I thought I only knew two of their songs which were "Come Sail Away" and "Mr. Roboto" so I was kind of interested for camp value. I was surprised when I watched the concert that I knew 6 or 7 of their songs from the radio and I didn't know they were all Styx songs. That's because of the bizarre musical collision that is Styx.
So you've got Dennis DeYoung; singer, songwriter, keyboard player fronting at times a blues-based piano-driven band, and at times a synth-driven prog rock band. Then you've got Tommy Shaw; singer, songwriter, guitar player fronting a guitar-driven classic rock band. I've seen bands where you have one lead singer and another singer that pitches in for a song or two, but these guys seem to split the set list right down the middle. But you can't say it's two different bands because when Tommy's going a song you've got Dennis behind him singing harmony and when Dennis takes the lead you've got Tommy behind him on harmony. If that's not enough you've also got James Young occasionally writing and singing a song.
I guess I'm not surprised to find out the band broke up shortly after "Caught in the Act," I'm more surprised that they even got together in the first place. I think it's too bad they kicked out Dennis since he was responsible for most of their highest charting hits, but I guess most of the band didn't like his direction. I can see why some people didn't take the Kilroy show seriously, but I thought it was great musical theater. At least Dennis seemed to recognize the talent in the band and made sure everyone had a role in the show, it's not like it was all about him.
Kind of cool to find out that Stan Winston, the guy who gave us Predator and Pumpkinhead and lots of great characters also designed the familiar Roboto masks.
For me, Styx was The Grand Illusion(Grand Illusion, Fooling Yourself, Come Sail Away) and Pieces Of Eight(Blue Collar Man, Renegade, I'm OK), from the late 70's, because those were the albums my family had. We had Crystal Ball also, but I don't recall any of the songs from it.
Some of the 80's stuff from Paradise Theater was very good(Rocking The Paradise, Too Much Time On My Hands, The Best Of Times), and, as said, I remember Mr. Roboto being a big hit, but I never had those albums. They seem to have almost become a band that people don't like to admit that they like, like Foreigner, or a guilty pleasure, like Meatloaf, especially during and after the 90's when such theatrical rock shows were derided, but they were quite popular in the late 70's/early 80's and do have some great tunes.