Too Much Time on My Hands
Writer(s): Tommy Shaw (see lyrics here)
First Charted: March 20, 1981
Peak: 9 US, 8 CB, 7 HR, 9 RR, 4 CL, 2 AR, 4 CN, 67 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 16.9 video, 23.25 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
From 1974 to 1990, Styx landed in the top-10 eight times. Prior to “Too Much Time on My Hands,” Styx had graced the upper echelon with “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” the #1 hit “Babe,” and “The Best of Times,” the first single from Paradise Theater. They would later hit the top 10 with “Mr. Roboto,” “Don’t Let It End,” and “Show Me the Way.” All those, however, were written and sung by Dennis DeYoung.
Tommy Shaw, the band’s guitarist and singer with a more rock-edged vibe, had reached the top-40 with “Fooling Yourself,” “Blue Collar Man,” and “Renegade,” but “Too Much Time on My Hands” was his first time with a top-10 hit written and sung by him. The song was “a straight-ahead chug-a-lugger with a heightened chorus and crisp keyboards.” AMG It was the second single from Paradise Theater, the band’s only #1 album. Overall, the album “followed the theme of a concert hall rising to prominence and then crumbling, based on a real venue: the Paradise Theatre in Chicago.” SF This song, however, does not fit the theme.
Shaw was inspired by Mark’s Tavern in Niles, Michigan, where he was living at the time. As he said, “It was the local watering hole. The drinks were good, and the drinks were cheap. You could go in there with 20 bucks and be a hero, you know - buying rounds of drinks. And you'd always run into somebody you knew in there. That was the basis of the song.” SF
The video combined scenes from a bar with the band engaged in “goofy antics” SF mixed with footage of the band performing the song. The video got a lot of airplay when MTV went on the air in August 1981 as it was one of the few videos by an American band. SF In 2016, Jimmy Fallon did a shot-by-shot renactment of the video with guest Paul Rudd and others.
First posted 6/24/2021; last updated 10/30/2022.