Come Sail Away
|"Come Sail Away"|
|Single by Styx|
|from the album The Grand Illusion|
|B-side||"Put Me On"|
|Length||3:10 (single), 6:05 (album)|
|Styx singles chronology|
"Come Sail Away" is a song by American progressive rock group Styx, featured on the band's seventh album The Grand Illusion (1977). Upon its release as the lead single from the album, "Come Sail Away" charted at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and helped The Grand Illusion achieve multi-platinum sales in 1978. It is one of the biggest hits of Styx's career.
Musically, "Come Sail Away" combines a plaintive, ballad-like opening section (including piano and synthesizer interludes) with a bombastic, guitar-heavy second half. In the middle of the second half of the album version is a minute-long synthesizer instrumental break.
Background and writing
Styx member Dennis DeYoung revealed on In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an entire episode to the making of The Grand Illusion), that he was depressed when he wrote the track after Styx's first two A&M offerings, Equinox and Crystal Ball, sold fewer units than expected after the success of the single "Lady".
- Dennis DeYoung - keyboards, lead vocals
- Tommy Shaw - lead guitar, backing vocals
- James Young - rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Chuck Panozzo - bass
- John Panozzo - drums
In popular culture
The song appears as a plot point to the South Park episode "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut". Cartman is unable to hear part of the song and leave it unfinished. On Chef Aid: The South Park Album, he does a cover of the song.
It scored the end of the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks, in which the leading character finally gets the courage to ask a popular girl to slow dance. Though she agrees, the guitar-heavy second half kicks in before they can start dancing as originally intended.
A version of the song performed by Aimee Mann is used in the TV show Community in the Season 5 episode, "Geothermal Escapism," for the nautical departure of Donald Glover's Troy Barnes. In the first season, he'd confessed to crying upon hearing the original version of the song.
The song also appears in ER's season 7, episode 19 ("Sailing Away"), where Doctor Greene sings along.
In Generation Kill several of the Marines sing the chorus as they travel.
The song is parodied as "Please Say You'll Stay" in the Fish Hooks episode "Labor of Love".
The song was used in the homecoming dance scene of The Virgin Suicides (film).
The song has taken on a cult following at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Playing off the school's mascot of the Lakers, a captain of a vessel that would be used on the Great Lakes, the song has been played with regularity by the school's pep band and marching band before and during home football and basketball games at the school.
Patty Pravo covered it as "Dai Sali Su" on her 1978 album "Miss Italia."