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 grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, the south side of Chicago, Illinois, with his fraternal twin brother, Chuck (born 90 minutes apart). 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.

Then, 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.[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]

Years of excessive drinking began to take a toll on his liver. In the mid-1990s, as Styx was about to embark on its first tour with the classic line-up since 1983, John fell seriously ill and began battling cirrhosis of the liver, eventually dying of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and cirrhosis in Chicago; he was 47 years old.[3][4][5][6]


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 their drummer and friend.


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.