Cornerstone (Styx album)

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Styx - Cornerstone.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 19, 1979
Recorded1979 at Pumpkin Studios, Oak Lawn, Illinois
Styx chronology
Pieces of Eight
Paradise Theatre
Singles from Cornerstone
  1. "Babe"
    Released: September 1979
  2. "Why Me"
    Released: January 1980
  3. "Boat on the River"
    Released: 1980
  4. "Borrowed Time"
    Released: 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone(mixed) [2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1.5/5 stars [3]

Cornerstone is the ninth studio album by the american rock band Styx, released in 1979 (see 1979 in music).

Cornerstone, Styx's third straight triple platinum selling album, peaking at #2 on the Billboard chart, was Styx's only album to earn a Grammy nomination for "Best Album of the Year". Like the four previous Styx albums, the band produced the album themselves.

The band started using the new recording studio Pumpkin Studios in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

The album was best known for the group's only #1 Billboard Hot 100 Single which was the power ballad "Babe" by DeYoung and also the folk 'unplugged' "Boat on the River" by Shaw, which was a big hit in European countries, Japan and even Israel (it was the only hit single that wasn't success in their home country).

Cornerstone became Styx's first US Top 5 album peaking at #2 on the Billboard album chart.


The album represented a transition into the 1980s as the band emphasized of its pop side more than the art-rock/prog-rock influences that dominated their first eight studio albums and was the band's first move towards a more pop/rock direction (band member Dennis DeYoung stated in a 2009 interview that the change in direction came from reading bad reviews that the group received in the rock press while on their first tour of England). Peaking at #2, the album represented Styx's highest album chart peak until it's successor, 1981's Paradise Theatre which would hit

Cornerstone is dominated by Dennis DeYoung's contributions as all U.S. charted singles were written and sung by him, including two power ballads. The first was the album's first single and Styx's only US #1 single ballad "Babe" which Dennis wrote for his wife Suzanne. The track was performed and recorded as a demo with just him and the Panozzo brothers but then James Young and Tommy Shaw heard the track and decided to put it on Cornerstone with Shaw overdubbing a guitar solo in the song's middle section.

Another power ballad on the album was "First Time" which was intended to be Cornerstone's second single (radio stations were playing it and got such a response that A&M wanted it released) until Shaw complained and threatened to leave the band. The upbeat song "Why Me" was released instead, reaching a disappointing #26 on the charts. The third release, the rocker "Borrowed Time" peaked at a disappointing #61. The song would open concerts on the group's tour in support of Cornerstone nicknamed "The Grand Decathlon tour".

Shaw's major contribution to the album was the folkish "Boat on the River", which became the band's biggest European hit. Shaw's other contributions included the pop-rocker "Never Say Never," the Shaw/DeYoung upbeat "Lights" and the proggish "Love in the Midnight".

JY had one song, the hard rocker "Eddie", which was about Edward Kennedy, pleading with him not to make a run for the U.S. presidency. Young used a guitar-synthesizer solo.

Cornerstone saw Styx with an updated sound. Dennis predominantly used a Fender Rhodes electric piano on over half of the tracks. Also, the group used real horns and strings on the album on several tracks.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Lights"Shaw, DeYoungShaw4:38
2."Why Me"DeYoungDeYoung3:54
4."Never Say Never"ShawShaw3:08
5."Boat on the River"ShawShaw3:10
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Borrowed Time"DeYoung, ShawDeYoung4:58
7."First Time"DeYoungDeYoung4:25
9."Love in the Midnight"ShawShaw5:25



Additional personnel[edit]


  • Producer: Styx
  • Engineers: Rob Kingsland, Gary Loizzo
  • Horn arranger: Ed Tossing
  • String arranger: Arnie Roth
  • Design: Mick Haggerty
  • Photography: Aaron Rapoport
  • Mastering: Ted Jensen


Album - Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1979 Billboard 200 2


Year Single Chart Position
1979 "Babe" Billboard Hot 100 1
1980 "Borrowed Time" 63
"Why Me" 26
"Boat on the River" German Singles 1
Switzerland Singles 1


  1. ^ AllMusic album review by Mike DeGagne: Styx - Cornerstone (1979)
  2. ^ Rolling Stone album review by David Fricke (13.12.1979): Styx - Cornerstone (1979)
  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.

External links[edit]