Crystal Ball (Styx album)

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Crystal Ball
Styx - Crystal Ball.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1, 1976
Recorded1976 at Paragon Recording Studios, Chicago
Styx chronology
Crystal Ball
The Grand Illusion
Singles from Crystal Ball
  1. "Mademoiselle"
    Released: 1976
  2. "Crystal Ball"
    Released: 1977
  3. "Jennifer"
    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 album sold 300,000 copies when it was first released, Although Crystal Ball peaked no. 66 on the charts, shortly before the release of The Grand Illusion (1977) and received Gold.


The opening track "Put Me On" is about a guy who bought and listening to a vinyl record. In the beginning the first part was a hard rock part (Young) and the second part was a prog rock ballad who's the listener is in the mood (DeYoung). In the end it returns to the hard rock instrumental part and sound effect of a vinyl record speeded up when the song ends.

"Mademoiselle" was Tommy Shaw's vocal debut and it was about a man who's finding love with a french girl from Canada.

"Jennifer" is about a man who's fallen in love with a woman named Jennifer.

The album's title track was written as a an acoustic song with harmonies in a CSN vien, during the bowling alley which Shaw wrote with the prior folk band with his childhood friends called "Harvest". and the band changed it as a rock song with synthesizer and guitar solos with an epic chorus. That song it would become a concert staple for the band, as it was performed on every subsequent Styx tour with Shaw was involved.

"Shooz" was co-written by Shaw and James "J.Y." Young. The bluesy rocker had resembles of a Foghat/ZZ Top style, which 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 melodic power ballad song that DeYoung wrote for his father and the impact his dad had on his life.

DeYoung was a classical trained musician and he played Claude Debussy's classical piece "Clair de Lune" which served as the intro to the album's closing prog rock epic track "Ballerina" which was co-written by Shaw/DeYoung. Shaw wrote the lyrics and DeYoung wrote the music. The version of "Clair de Lune" on Crystal Ball changed the key from D flat to C as the next track ("Ballerina") started in C minor.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone(favorable) [2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 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 (1975), 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]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Put Me On"DeYoung, Shaw, YoungYoung (verses), DeYoung (bridge)4:56
2."Mademoiselle"Shaw, DeYoungShaw3:57
4."Crystal Ball"ShawShaw4:32
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
5."Shooz"Shaw, YoungShaw4:44
6."This Old Man"DeYoungDeYoung5:11
7."Clair de Lune / Ballerina"Claude Debussy / Shaw, DeYoung(instrumental), DeYoung7:09




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


AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1976 Pop Albums 66

Singles – Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Mademoiselle" Pop Singles 36


  1. ^ a b Jehnzen, Daevid. Crystal Ball 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.

External links[edit]