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John Panozzo

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John Panozzo
Birth nameJohn Anthony Panozzo
Born(1948-09-20)September 20, 1948
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJuly 16, 1996(1996-07-16) (aged 47)
Chicago, Illinois
GenresProgressive rock, rock, hard rock
Years active1956–1996

John Anthony Panozzo (September 20, 1948 – July 16, 1996) was an American drummer best known for his work with rock band Styx.

Early life and career[edit]

Panozzo was born to Tranquinino Panozzo (1916-1974) and Elizabeth Lofrano Panozzo (1915-1999), both of whom were of Italian descent, and grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, the south side of Chicago, Illinois, with his fraternal twin brother, Chuck (born 20 minutes apart). Chuck and John also have an older sister, Emily. At age 7, the twins took musical lessons from their uncle in which John took an interest in drums and percussion. They attended Catholic school and eventually they were part of a three-piece band in which John played drums and Chuck played guitar. They would play weddings at age 12 and were paid $15 apiece.

In 1961, John, Chuck, and their neighbor, Dennis DeYoung, formed a band called The Tradewinds in which John played drums, Chuck played guitar, and Dennis played the accordion and sang. They played local gigs at bars and began gaining popularity as a garage band on the city's South Side. In 1968, Chuck switched to bass and they added guitarists/vocalists James "J.Y." Young and John Curulewski, changing their name to TW4 (an initialism of "There Were 4").[1] The band signed to Wooden Nickel Records and changed their name to Styx.

Panozzo was active in Styx from 1972 - 1984, when the band went on hiatus. In 1993, Panozzo played drums on two tracks for guitarist/vocalist James Young's solo album Out on a Day Pass.[2]

Illness and death[edit]

In 1996, as Styx was about to embark on its first tour with the classic line-up since 1983, Panozzo fell seriously ill and began battling cirrhosis of the liver, following years of excessive drinking. He died of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and cirrhosis in Chicago on July 16, 1996, at age 47. His wife, Debbie, and two children survive him. Panozzo is buried next to his parents at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. [3][4][5][6][7]


The band dedicated their 1996 Return to Paradise tour to him. Tommy Shaw, who had earlier replaced Curulewski, wrote the song "Dear John" as the band's final tribute to Panozzo.


Panozzo used Premier drums during the band's early years then switched to Tama drums by late 1978. He also played Zildjian cymbals.


Studio albums[edit]



  1. ^ Clark, Dick (March 29, 1983). "Styx and stones...". Times-News.
  2. ^ liner notes to "Out on a Day Pass"
  3. ^ "John Panozzo - Styx Drummer". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 16, 1996.
  4. ^ "John Panozzo, 47, 70's Rock Drummer". New York Times. July 18, 1996. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  5. ^ Perrone, Pierre (20 July 1996). "Obituary: John Panozzo". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-06-13. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 18 July 1996.
  7. ^ https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/5861205/john_panozzo

External links[edit]