Crystal Ball (Styx album)

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Crystal Ball
Studio album by Styx
Released October 1, 1976
Recorded 1976 at Paragon Recording Studios, Chicago
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 34:45
Label A&M
Producer Styx
Styx chronology
Equinox
(1975)
Crystal Ball
(1976)
The Grand Illusion
(1977)
Singles from Crystal Ball
  1. "Mademoiselle"
    Released: 1976
  2. "Crystal Ball"
    Released: 1977

Crystal Ball is the sixth album by Styx, released in 1976.

This album marked the recording debut of new guitarist Tommy Shaw. The track "Mademoiselle" was Tommy Shaw's vocal debut and the album's Top 40 hit.

The album's title track would become a concert staple for the band as it was performed on every subsequent Styx tour with which Shaw was involved.

"Shooz" was co-written by Shaw and James Young. The bluesy rocker had Shaw on slide guitar while Young contributed a Hendrix-like solo to the middle of the track after Shaw's slide solo.

"This Old Man" is a song that DeYoung wrote for his father and the impact his dad had on his life.

Debussy's classical piece "Clair De Lune" served as the intro to the album's closing track Ballerina. The version of "Clair De Lune" on Crystal Ball just had DeYoung on piano and changed the key from D flat to C as the next track ("Ballerina") started in C minor.

Although the album stalled at #66 upon its 1976 release, it would go platinum in 1978 after the success of the next album The Grand Illusion.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 1/5 stars[3]

Daevid Jehnzen of Allmusic rated Crystal Ball three-and-a-half out of five stars. He stated that it was better than Styx's previous album, Equinox, although it was not as successful. He also said that the album "[showcases] Styx's increased skill for crafting simple, catchy pop hooks out of their bombastic sound."[1] Alan Niester of Rolling Stone also found the album favorable, stating that "although Styx is based in Chicago, the group has its English scam down pat". He also stated that the instrumentation "always seems on the verge of going out of control, giving the whole album an extra surge of excitement."[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Put Me On" (DeYoung, Shaw, Young) – 4:56
  2. "Mademoiselle" (DeYoung, Shaw) – 3:57
    • Lead vocals: Tommy Shaw, harmony lead guitar solos: Tommy Shaw and James Young
  3. "Jennifer" (DeYoung) – 4:16
    • Lead vocals: Dennis DeYoung, lead guitar: James Young
  4. "Crystal Ball" (Shaw) – 4:32
    • Lead vocals and lead guitar: Tommy Shaw, synthesizer solo: Dennis DeYoung
  5. "Shooz" (Shaw, Young) – 4:44
    • Lead vocals and slide guitar: Tommy Shaw, second guitar solo in middle of song: James Young
  6. "This Old Man" (DeYoung) – 5:11
    • Lead vocals: Dennis DeYoung, lead guitar: Tommy Shaw
  7. "Clair de Lune/Ballerina" (Claude Debussy/DeYoung/Shaw) – 7:09
    • Instrumental/Lead vocals: Dennis DeYoung, lead guitar solos: James Young (wah-wah induced solos) and Tommy Shaw

Personnel[edit]

Styx
Production
  • Producer: Styx
  • Engineers: Barry Mraz and Rob Kingsland

Charts[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1976 Pop Albums 66

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Mademoiselle" Pop Singles 36

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jehnzen, Daevid. Crystal Ball (Styx album) at AllMusic. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Niester, Alan (January 13, 1977). "Styx, Crystal Ball". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 789. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.