Styx: Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer); Tommy Shaw
(acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals); James Young (guitar, background vocals); Chuck Panozzo (bass, background vocals); John Panozzo (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Recorded at Paragon Studios, Chicago, Illinois.
Personnel: Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 12-string guitar); Chuck Panozzo (vocals, guitar, bass guitar); James Young (vocals, guitar); Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer); John Panozzo (vocals, drums, percussion).
Recording information: Paragon Recording Studios, Chicago, IL.
THE GRAND ILLUSION was the album that rocketed Styx to superstardom after all their years of hard work. That time spent in the trenches was clearly not wasted, as the group displays an unprecedented level of tightness here in their writing, arrangements, and performance. This is something of a concept album, the theme being the hypocrisy and self-deception inherent in modern American society. The songs that tackle this concept most directly are James Young's bristling rocker "Miss America," Dennis DeYoung's appropriately grandiose-sounding title tune, and "Superstars," Tommy Shaw's evisceration of the rock star life.
Some of the most effective songs here are Shaw's inspirational "Fooling Yourself," the more obscure, moody tunes "Castle Walls" and "Man in the Wilderness," and DeYoung's epic tale of interstellar experiences "Come Sail Away," which would become one of the most loved songs in the band's catalog. Achieving the perfect balance between pop appeal, rock muscle, and prog-influenced flavoring, GRAND ILLUSION is Styx at the top of its collective game.