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The 10 Best Styx Songs (Critic’s Picks)

During its half century existence, Styx has logged 23 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, eight of which reached the top 10. It’s a wide array of music as well, from the prog leanings of “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” to the hard rock of “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “Renegade” to power ballads such as “Babe” and “The Best of Times.” Then there’s whatever you want to call “Mr. Roboto.”

There’s more than a greatest hits album worth of tunes in the Chicago-formed band’s Hot 100 canon. And it’s important to understand the range represented; because of Dennis DeYoung’s prominent keyboards, a few longer tracks, thematic works and album imagery, Styx has prog credentials, but the bulk of its repertoire falls into the more straightforward rock and, in some cases, pop categories. It is in many ways the epitome of classic ‘70s AOR, touching quite a few bases for a substantial and varied core audience.

Choosing the best of Styx’s Hot 100 oeuvre — running from a sole No. 1 (“Babe” for two weeks in 1979) to No. 88 (“You Need Love” four years earlier) — is tricky. There are iconic tracks such as “Mr. Roboto,” “Show Me the Way” and “Babe” that are more popular than they are amazing, and there are some songs at the lower end of the Hot 100 spectrum that have greater creative merit. A long history breeds plenty of choices, and to its credit Styx has never shied away from drifting into different lanes that surprised and even polarized its audience.

With the band readying for a summer Renegades & Juke Box Heroes tour with Foreigner and special guest John Waite — starting June 11 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and introducing new bassist Terry Gowan (brother of singer-keyboardist Lawrence Gowan) — we give you these choices as Styx’s 10 finest Hot 100 entries. (Each song is listed with the album it hails from, the year it peaked on the Hot 100 and its Hot 100 peak in parenthesis.)

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