Saturday, October 30, 1976

Styx charted with Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball

Styx


Charted: October 30, 1976


Peak: 66 US


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Put Me On (DeYoung/Shaw/ Young) [4:56]
  2. Mademoiselle (DeYoung/ Shaw) [3:57] (11/6/76, 36 US, 57 CB, 58 HR, 15 CL, 25 CN)
  3. Jennifer (DeYoung) [4:16] (1977, --)
  4. Crystal Ball (Shaw) [4:32] (5/14/77, 9 CL)
  5. Shooz (Shaw/ Young) [4:44]
  6. This Old Man (DeYoung) [5:11]
  7. Clair de Lune/Ballerina (P.D., arr. by DeYoung/ Shaw) [7:09]


Total Running Time: 34:45


The Players:

  • Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards)
  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James “J.Y.” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • John Panozzo (drums)

Rating:

3.560 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

At the end of 1974, Styx had produced four albums with the Wooden Nickel label. Then the song “Lady,” from Styx’s second album, was rediscovered, hit the top 10 and launched Styx’s career. Styx signed with major label A&M and released Equinox, an album that went gold and spawned the songs “Suite Madame Blue,” “Light Up,” and top 30 single “Lorelei.”

Follow-up album “Crystal Ball wasn't as successful as Equinox, but it was a better album.” AMG The most notable change was the addition of Tommy Shaw to the band after the departure of guitarist and sometime vocalist John Curulewski. He “Tommy Shaw proved he was the missing piece to Styx’s musical puzzle…His arrival sparked a healthy competition with resident creative forces DeYoung and JY, and dovetailed with their efforts to refine Styx’s art-rock formula into great hit songs.” UCR

While Crystal Ball wasn’t a huge success, it planted the seed for Styx’s dominance in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s as arguably America’s premiere rock band when they had four consecutive top-10, multi-platinum albums from 1977’s The Grand Illusion through 1981’s Paradise Theater. Shaw contributed some of those albums most noteworthy songs, including “Fooling Yourself,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Renegade,” and “Too Much Time on My Hands.”

Shaw’s presence aided the band in “showcasing [its] increased skill for crafting simple, catchy pop hooks out of their bombastic sound.” AMG Nowhere was this more apparent than on Shaw’s beautiful title song, which he sung and wrote. While it didn’t chart, it became one of Styx’s many album rock staples and “was performed on every subsequent Styx tour with which Shaw was involved.” WK

Elsewhere, Dennis DeYoung revealed his ever increasing leanings toward balladry, such as on This Old Man and Ballerina. The latter, paired with Claude Debussy’s classical piece Clair de Lune, also was a reminder of Styx’s earlier more progressive rock leanings.

DeYoung and Shaw teamed up for the top 40 hit Mademoiselle, one of several times the two collaborated for a magical pairing. They would also combine writing talent with James Young, who kicked off the album with Put Me On, a typical roaring anthem from tha man who always gave Styx its hardest rock edge.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 5/16/2021.

Monday, October 11, 1976

Abba’s Arrival arrives

First posted 3/27/2008; updated 9/13/2020.

Arrival

Abba


Released: October 11, 1976


Peak: 20 US, 110 UK, 4 CN, 18 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 1.65 UK, 10.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: dance pop


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. When I Kissed the Teacher
  2. Dancing Queen (8/21/76, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, sales: 3 million)
  3. My Love, My Life
  4. Dum Dum Diddle
  5. Knowing Me, Knowing You (2/26/77, 14 US, 7 AC, 1 UK, 5 CN, 9 AU)
  6. Money, Money, Money (11/20/76, 56 US, 38 AC, 3 UK, 47 CN, 1 AU, sales: 1 million)
  7. That’s Me
  8. Why Did It Have to Be Me?
  9. Tiger
  10. Arrival


Total Running Time: 33:09


The Players:

  • Agnetha Fältskog (vocals)
  • Anni-Frid Lyngstad (vocals)
  • Benny Andersson (synthesizer, piano, accordian, chimes, marimba, backing vocals)
  • Björn Ulvaeus (guitar, vocals, backing vocals)

Rating:

4.209 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“ABBA’s fourth album…shows the quartet at the absolute top of their game.” AMG They had achieved modest success internationally, but with Arrival they achieved global superstardom. WK It was the best-selling album of 1977 in the UK. WK

Of course, the most-celebrated song on the album was Dancing Queen, the biggest hit of Abba’s career. However, “the record was filled with brilliant material, including the spirited When I Kissed the Teacher; the dramatic, achingly beautiful Knowing Me, Knowing You (yet a further hit); the pounding Money, Money, Money (still another hit off the album); and the playful That's Me.” AMG


Notes: “Fernando” was added to the 1997 CD edition of the album. In 2001, the song “Happy Hawaii” was also added as a bonus track.

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Friday, October 1, 1976

Bob Seger releases Night Moves: October 1, 1976

Originally posted October 1, 2011.



“Bob Seger recorded the bulk of Night Moves before Live Bullet brought him his first genuine success, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s similar in spirit to the introspective Beautiful Loser, even if it rocks harder and longer. Throughout much of the album, he’s coming to grips with being on the other side of 30 and still rocking.” STE Critic Robert Cristgau said the album is for those no longer in their teens, but that it is still comprised of classic rock and roll riffs in the vein of Chuck Berry or The Rolling Stones. WK Seger “floats back in time, turning in high-school memories, remembering when wandering down Mainstreet was the highlight of an evening, covering a rockabilly favorite in Mary Lou.” STE

“Stylistically, there’s not much change since Beautiful Loser, but the difference is that Seger and his Silver Bullet Band – who turn in their first studio album here – sound intense and ferocious, and the songs are subtly varied. Yes, this is all hard rock, but the acoustic ballads reveal the influence of Dylan and Van Morrison, filtered through a Midwestern sensibility, and the rockers reveal more of Seger’s personality than ever.” STE Rolling Stone reviewer Kit Rachlis said that Seger sounded like Rod Stewart and wrote like Bruce Springsteen. WK In addition, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section lends a hand on 4 of the album’s songs. WK

“Seger may have been this consistent before (on Seven, for example), but the mood had never been as successfully varied, nor had his songwriting been as consistent, intimate, and personal.” STE

“Thankfully, this was delivered to a mass audience eager for Seger, and it not only became a hit, but one of the universally acknowledged high points of late-‘70s rock & roll. And, because of his passion and craft, it remains a thoroughly terrific record years later.” STE




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