Styx was always a Chicago band and proud of it. Originally, they were called Tradewinds, then TW4, and they used to be kind of a progressive cover band, playing around the Chicago area. A friend of mine actually used to see them frequently when they were TW4, and he liked them a lot. In those days, they used to play a lot of Yes. (In fact, he liked them better then than later when they were doing their own music. Don’t tell Dennis.)
After John Curulewski left following the Equinox album, he was replaced by Tommy Shaw, I believe the first non-Chicagoan of the band. Tommy took center-stage pretty quickly (sharing it of course with Dennis DeYoung and James Young). His first album with the band was Crystal Ball, and he wrote and sang lead on the title track, which was one of album’s biggest hits.
Though the album was less successful than the band had hoped, it still had 2 big singles. “Mademoiselle”, which is a great song, and even better when you listen to the album and hear the segue into it from “Put Me On”, a song from the point of view of the record itself. Then of course there was the great title track. Another stand-out track, at least for me, was “This Old Man”, a love song from Dennis DeYoung to his father.
The fact that the album didn’t sell as much as Styx hoped was definitely made up for by their next release, the hugely popular The Grand Illusion. But any one of us who is a musician should be so lucky as to have a “disappointment” like Crystal Ball.