Alt-rock band Styx was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1972. The group’s name is taken from a river in Greek mythology that ran through the underworld. The group reached popularity during the late 1970s and early 80s. The group is best remembered for its unique style of music, which incorporated hard rock and acoustic guitar and synthesizers and acoustic points. Most of the group’s catalog is power ballads as well as up-tempo songs. Additionally, they are thought to be the group that created arena rock. Even though they profoundly influenced the music industry, many fans feel they are not being recognized. In fact, a group of Styx fans is petitioning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to add them to an upcoming class.
Cleveland, Ohio, sits on Lake Erie in Ohio and has a storied history. Additionally, the city has several nicknames, including The Rock and Roll Hall Capital of the World. Another popular nickname may suit the city better since many bands have been overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Mistake on the Lake over the years. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Styx has been passed over for twenty years by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the petition circling the web, fans highlight many of the group’s notable achievements and catalog highlights. Styx was the first certified by the RIAA for having four consecutive multiplatinum albums. Additionally, they had many hits like Come Sail Away, Too Much Time On My Hands, and Mr. Roboto. One of the people leading the charge to get Styx into the Hall of Fame is Ken Shafer. He hopes the petition will get Hall’s attention so the group can finally get much-deserved recognition. It’s not only the fans that see something amiss. Over the years, several members of Styx have commented on being overlooked by the Hall.
According to Blabbermouth, in June 2020, Styx vocalist and guitarist Tommy Shaw spoke to a Detroit Radio station. One of the main topics was how he feels about being overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame year after year. Additionally, he was asked how he would feel if the group was ever inducted. Shaw gave a mixed response. He talked about going to some of the induction ceremonies during the interview, stating it was nice to see friends in the industry. He also thought it was a good thing to call himself a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he didn’t like the idea of going to the ceremony and standing in front of a lot of people. Additionally, he feels that the inductions are more a marketing strategy for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s also quick to point out he doesn’t understand the choices for installations. He added, “I just don’t understand their standards… I’m not bitter about it. But it’s just frustrating to be held up to those kinds of standards when all we care about is our fans.” Shaw feels that Styx fans have already given the group all the accolades they need. Nonetheless, if the group does get the nod, Shaw promises he’ll show up. Yet, he’s stopped worrying whether or not it will ever happen.
Styx guitarist James “J.Y.” Young spoke to the Arizona Republic in 2020, saying that if the group is inducted, original frontman Dennis DeYoung needs to be alongside them. However, he was quick to squash rumors bout about a possible reunion. After all, DeYoung sued the group for overuse of the name. As the interview progressed, he praised the former frontman but added that there were many additional problems and personality conflicts when DeYoung was in the band. On June 14, 2021, Dennis DeYoung spoke to Darren Paltrowitz on his podcast. They talked about his professional achievements and the elephant in the room during the interview, Styx induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. De Young had some strong words when asked what he thought about the choice of installations, “look, I think it’s simple. They should stop all this (expletive deleted) by renaming it the Contemporary Music Hall of Fame. “He went on to say that he felt that more pop-rock rap and hip hop artists are being added to the inductee classes because they are much more popular than rock stars.
By the numbers
One Styx fan went further than the petition in 2020. Russ Belville, the Podcast Radical Russ Belville Show host, posted an article about the group’s achievements and how they stack up to other groups from the same decade who are already members of the elite group. Even though Belville understands that many people don’t feel the same about Styx as he does, statistically, it makes no sense that they have been overlooked this long. He used the Hall of Fame’s own words against them, “honoring bands or solo artists which demonstrate musical influence. He compared Styx’s achievements against contemporaries like The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd. Styx’s career is over four decades long, which only five classic rock bands exceed. Additionally, two others, ELO and Judas Priest, match the length of Styx’s career. He also cited the number of albums released; fourteen groups have fewer albums than Styx, who outsold artists like The Moody Blues and The Who. Aside from the number, Belville also made numerous impassioned pleas, much like the fans who started the petition for the group to be part of an upcoming class.
Even though it’s called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there aren’t many actual rock acts left anymore. Studio overdubs and talent competitions are replacing the genre’s grittiness. Groups like Styx continue to be overlooked by the Hall despite their influence on music, while newer bands who lack inexperience are added to the roster. Cleveland may be the rock and roll capital, but The Hall of Fame continues to make many mistakes on the lake.