Sunday, July 28, 2013

"The Best of Times" by Styx

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0473
Date:  01/24/1981
Debut:  31
Peak:  3
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Styx's previous album "Cornerstone" contained their first (and only) #1 hit, "Babe," and it was the album that began to create some divisions in the band. But they set aside differences and came together to create their concept album, "Paradise Theater," which became their only #1 LP in the US. The concept of the album was tracing the era of Chicago's Paradise Theater from its inception to its abandonment. The theme was also a reflection of the state of the US from the 70s through to the 80s. This first rock ballad single was an instant hit and spent four weeks in the #3 position.

ReduxReview:  Oh man I played this on 45 so many times. I would say that there are two singles that I bought that really started me on my love of 80s music and purchasing way too many 45s and LPs. This would be the first one followed very soon by Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes." This was a big, theatrical Dennis DeYoung song that I totally hooked into. I already liked Styx, but this was the song that pushed me into super-Styx-dom.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This album was a source of controversy after its release. James Young's song "Snowblind" from the album was targeted for having satanic "backmasking," a recording technique where music or vocals are recorded backwards but are meant for play forwards. But the song does not use this technique and was most likely a victim of sung words when played backwards being interpreted as other actual words. The line of the song "I tried so hard to make is so" when played backwards was said to have sounded like "Satan move through our voice." Of course, Tipper Gore and the PMRC after their formation had a field day with this song calling it satanic. Styx vehemently denied the accusation and those who are experts in such things chalked it up to coincidence. The publicity couldn't have been too bad for Styx as controversy sells, but I'm sure it was not fun to be put on the spot by the immaculate Ms. Tipper and her crew. I myself had the LP and manually move the record backwards to hear for myself. The best I could make of the line above going backwards was "saaaa-aaaahhhh  moooooozzzzz."  Nothing else. Didn't sound like anything to me. As usual, a bunch of whack-jobs making controversy where there is none. Get a real life, folks.

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