Styx's Chuck and John Panozzo

Twins Chuck and John Panozzo, who played bass and drums respectively,

founded the band that became pomp-rockers Styx in 1963 with keyboardist

Dennis DeYoung in Chicago. Both brothers remained in the group throughout

its late '70s–early '80s hitmaking heyday.

Though John died in 1996, Chuck is featured on Styx's 1999 LP Brave

New World, their first (with their most famous lineup) since 1983.

Chuck and John Panozzo were born 52 years ago today in Chicago. They

formed the Tradewinds (later known as TW4) with neighbors DeYoung and

Tom Nardini (guitar) and gigged in local rock clubs. In 1969, the brothers

and DeYoung attended Chicago State University and Nardini left the band.

When guitarists John Curulewski and James Young joined in 1970, the group

changed its name to Styx (after the mythological river of the dead).

After years of gigging and recording, the band had a 1975 top-10 ballad

with "Lady," originally from 1973's Styx II. The song established

Styx's sound: sweeping balladry mixed with churning pop-rock. Styx's

true breakthrough, though, was the multiplatinum 1977 LP The Grand

Illusion, featuring the smash "Come Sail Away" (RealAudio

excerpt), the popular title track, and "Fooling Yourself (Angry

Young Man)." By the time of that album, singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw had

replaced Curulewski.

The following year's Pieces of Eight sold similarly well and

yielded the harder-edged hits "Renegade" and "Blue Collar Man (Long

Nights)." Cornerstone (1979) spawned the #1 hit ballad "Babe."

That year, a Gallup poll named Styx the most popular rock band among U.S.

teenagers. At the height of their success, Styx scored the hits "The

Best of Times" and "Too Much Time on My Hands" from Paradise Theater

(1981).

After the overwrought Kilroy Was Here, including the hits "Mr.

Roboto" and "Don't Let It End," Styx's popularity dropped and the band

called it quits in 1984. Though some of the members started solo careers,

the Panozzo brothers remained relatively quiet before participating in

the Shaw-less Styx reunion LP, 1990's Edge of the Century.

Following another hiatus, Styx began touring again in 1996 until John

Panozzo's death that year from gastrointestinal bleeding linked to alcohol

abuse. In 1997 came the live LP Return to Paradise.

Shaw was back in the Styx fold, along with Chuck Panozzo, Young and

DeYoung for Brave New World, featuring "Number One" and the title

track. Though the band is now supporting the LP with a U.S. tour, Panozzo

and DeYoung are not participating.

Other birthdays: Mick Rogers (Manfred Mann's Earth Band), 53; Dave

Hemingway (Housemartins, Beautiful South), 39; Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme),

33; Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (Nelson), 33; Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden),

31.