Tonight’s the Night We’ll Make History

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI saw something on Twitter today that made me feel old.  No it wasn’t a picture of Maureen McCormick or a list of who’s performing at Bonnaroo.  It was this:

styx tweet

On January 19, 1981, Styx released Paradise Theatre.  That’s 36 years ago.  That album has seen six (almost seven) Presidents.  Jimmy Carter was on his way out the door when this album was released.  Hard to believe.

If you aren’t familiar with the album, it was Styx’s first concept album which was loosely based on the life of the Paradise Theatre in Chicago.  It spawned the popular hits Too Much Time on My Hands (never been a favorite), Snowblind, and The Best of Times.  The latter was the “theme” song of my senior prom (1982) – how you lived without that piece of information, I will never know.  In my opinion, this album shows the diversity of Styx’s contributors with rocking songs (Half Penny, Two Penny and the aforementioned Rockin’ the Paradise) and the softer ballads of The Best of Times and She Cares.  While diverse, it still plays well today. 

Believe it or not, I did not buy the album as it came out, rather I bought it after I saw Styx on this tour.  My friend Joe gave me a ticket to the show as a birthday present.  If you have read my musings previously, you might recall that this show made my top concert memories (favorite concert experiences), you know this show is in my list of all-time favorites.  

Back in the carefree days of general admission, you would get to the venue at least two hours early so you could stand up front by the stage.  Joe & I did just that and wound up right at the rail on Tommy Shaw’s side of the stage.   As the lights dimmed, a lone janitor came across the stage with a broom as A.D. 1928 was played.  There was piano, dry ice, and I was beginning to zone out and then BAM!  The curtain dropped, flashpots flashed, things went boom as Rockin’ The Paradise kicked off.  As the show literally wound down with A.D. 1958 and State Street Sadie, it truly was a downer.  Whether it was the music, the fact that I had never seen Styx, or the fact that I had never been that close to the stage, it was truly a memorable show.  

If I remember correctly, I went and bought the album the next day on the way home from school.  When the occasional Paradise Theatre song pops up, it takes me back to one great show filled with lots of memories – Will it go down as a classic album?  Nah, but it is still a classic in my mind, as old as it is.

About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”


  1. Terry Carty says:

    Hi Zach. Styx became one of my favorites less than 10 years ago when I saw them in concert in a field outside of Purcellville Virginia. I had no idea they had originated so many of my favorite songs. Now, like you, when one of their tunes comes on classic stations, it takes me back. TC

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