Song of the Day #3,800: ‘The Best of Times’ – Styx

[First things first… Happy Birthday to my niece Madison! Loyal readers will remember Madison for her week of guest blogging about the use of songs on TV series.]

The top four best-selling albums of 1981 were released in late 1980 or earlier, so I can’t include them here. The best-selling album of 1981 actually released in 1981 was Styx’s Paradise Theater.

My exposure to Styx pretty much begins and ends with ‘Mr. Roboto,’ the 1983 hit from their rock opera Kilroy Was Here. Also ‘Come Sail Away,’ which I probably first heard on South Park. I’m familiar with other songs as I hear them, but I wouldn’t be able to name any off the top of my head.

The story of Styx seems to be an internal struggle between prog rock and hard rock, with the former championed by lead singer Dennis DeYoung and the latter by lead guitarist Tommy Shaw.

You can hear that struggle play out over the course of Paradise Theater, a concept album about the rise and fall of a fictional theater during the roaring 20s. DeYoung delivers dramatic ballads while Shaw sticks to the rocking basics.

The two would put out only one more album together (the aforementioned Kilroy Was Here). Shaw sat out 1990’s Edge of the Century and then DeYoung left the band for good in 1999 prior to the recording of Brave New World.

Listening to this album, I’m very impressed by DeYoung as a writer and performer. I’m instantly reminded of the band fun., which found success with a similar style of songs and vocals. I’d be surprised if Styx wasn’t an influence. I think open-hearted, theatrical (and yes, corny) rock like this is making a comeback.

Tonight’s the night we’ll make history
Honey, you and I
And I’ll take any risk to tie back the hands of time
And stay with you here tonight

I know you feel these are the worst of times
I do believe it’s true
When people lock their doors and hide inside
Rumor has it, it’s the end of paradise

But I know, if the world just passed us by
Baby I know, I wouldn’t have to cry, no no
The best of times are when I’m alone with you
Some rain some shine, we’ll make this a world for two

Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime
We’ll take the best, forget the rest
And someday we’ll find
These are the best of times
These are the best of times

The headlines read, “These are the worst of times”
I do believe it’s true
I feel so helpless like a boat against the tide
I wish the summer winds could bring back paradise

But I know, if the world turned upside down
Baby, I know you’d always be around, my my
The best of times are when I’m alone with you
Some rain some shine, we’ll make this a world for two
The best of times are when I’m alone with you
Some rain some shine, we’ll make this a world for two

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,800: ‘The Best of Times’ – Styx

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Styx is one of a number of bands that started out as very good, credible rock bands that musically jumped the shark to achieve greater widespread commercial success. Other examples include Foreigner (shark jumped with “I Want to Know What Love Is”), REO Speedwagon (“I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore”),

    While DeYoung may have had pop proclivities on Paradise, they were tempered by Shaw, but the dam broke on Kilroy with the insipid “Mr. Roboto.” Shaw was arguably the John Lennon to DeYoung’s Paul McCartney.

    Probably my favorite Styx song was Shaw’s “Too Much Time on My Hands” which you would hear far more on WSHE than Y100.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Happy Birthday Maddie ❤️❤️

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