Music video by Styx performing Come Sail Away. (C) 1977 A&M Records.
Tonight, a hometown music star will sing at Frontier Days at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. Dennis DeYoung, who grew up in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago’s far south side, returns tonight to Arlington Heights after his last appearance on July 3, 2010. There will certainly be a large number of fans of Styx, even though Dennis DeYoung is no longer part of the band he founded under the prototype name “Tradewinds” in 1961. If you would ask Styx fans whether they would prefer to see “Styx” or “Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx,” the large majority would choose Dennis DeYoung. DeYoung was flabbergasted about performing in Arlington Heights in front of the massive crowd in Arlington Heights in 2010.
DeYoung, the former lead singer of Styx — a top-selling rock band in the late ’70s and early ’80s and ’90s was pushed out because of a viral illness that caused light sensitivity and temporarily prevented him from performing live. Plus, there was alleged disagreement with Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw and guitarist Jim Young on the direction the band was going or possibly about who was in charge. Certainly, DeYoung had a more mystical, romantic, Broadway, rock opera, and ballad style; while Shaw and Young were associated with more of a hard rock style.
It was DeYoung’s style that made the band unique, and Styx only realized its best numbers on the charts when DeYoung was the producer — as in the early ’90s when his ballad “Show Me the Way” peaked to No. 3 on January 26, 1991 and remained in the top 40 for 12 weeks or more. To date “Show Me the Way” is Styx’s eighth and last Top 10 Billboard single.
DeYoung originally wrote the song for his son Matthew about the struggle to keep the faith in a “world so filled with hatred”. The song climbed slowly in the charts in December 1990, but in January 1991, as the United States was fighting the Gulf War, Music Director Chris Taylor from WAVA-FM in Washington, D.C. and Knoxville DJ Ray Edwards from WOKI-FM each produced their own customized “Operation Desert Shield Mix” incorporating television clips and call-in comments from officials, soldiers and callers as well as video of C-SPAN’s coverage of the House and Senate debates.
“Show Me the Way” put Styx among a short list of artists to achieve top 10 singles in three different decades, the 1970s (“Lady,” “Come Sail Away”), the 1980s (“Babe,” “The Best of Times,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Don’t Let It End”), and the 1990s (“Show Me The Way”). Interestingly, Tommy Shaw did not perform in the studio version of “Show Me the Way” (their latest top 5 single) or “Lady” (their first top 10 single).
Dennis DeYoung is credited with writing more Styx songs than any Styx band member. DeYoung also wrote the #1 hit “Babe” (1979) performed by Styx.
Dennis DeYoung performs the music of Styx tonight (Friday July 3, 2015) at 8:00 p.m. at Frontier Days at Recreation Park (500 East Miner Street in Arlington Heights).
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“Show me the Way” Desert Storm mix with voiceovers (images not part of original mix).
Music video by Styx performing Too Much Time On My Hands. (C) 1981 A&M Records.