Kilroy Was Here (album)

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Kilroy Was Here
Styx - Kilroy Was Here.jpg
Studio album by Styx
Released February 22, 1983[1][2]
Recorded 1982 at Pumpkin Studios, Oak Lawn, Illinois
Genre Progressive rock, pop rock, rock
Length 40:41
Label A&M
Producer Styx
Styx chronology
Paradise Theatre
Kilroy Was Here
Caught in the Act
Singles from Kilroy Was Here
  1. "Mr. Roboto"
    Released: February 11, 1983
  2. "Don't Let It End"
    Released: 1983
  3. "High Time"
    Released: 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 starslink
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars link

Kilroy Was Here is the eleventh studio album by the rock band Styx, released on February 22, 1983. The album is named after a famous World War II graffito, "Kilroy was here." It was the final album of original material to be released by the "classic" lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James "J.Y." Young, John Panozzo, and Chuck Panozzo.

The album is certified platinum by the RIAA.[3] As of 2016, it is the last studio album by the band to be certified platinum.


"Kilroy Was Here" was conceived by lead singer Dennis DeYoung as an album and accompanying stage show, which opened with a short film of the same name. While the supporting tour was a financial disaster,[citation needed] the album debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 in its first week and sold over 1 million copies (although some sources say 2.5 million copies) and peaked at #3 on the US charts; however, it broke the streak of multi-platinum albums for Styx, and ushered in a more keyboard-oriented, theatrical direction. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, James Young talked about the creative differences in the band, and what led to their breakup: "Dennis really wanted to do these soft, intimate love ballads, and that was against the grain for me and Tommy Shaw, so our differences got magnified, because Dennis was insisting on going outside the boundaries we lived with. He's an assertive and strongly opinionated guy."[4]

The album's somewhat rock-operatic story tells of a future where rock music is outlawed by a fascist government and the "MMM (the Majority for Musical Morality)". The story's protagonist, Robert Orin Charles Kilroy (DeYoung), is a former rock star who has been imprisoned by MMM leader Dr. Righteous (Young). He escapes using a disguise (according to the album's famous song "Mr. Roboto") when he becomes aware that a young musician, Jonathan Chance (Shaw), is on a mission to bring rock music back.

The album spawned two hit singles, "Mr. Roboto" and "Don't Let It End".

Despite the album's financial and chart success, after the Kilroy tour, the songs were not performed live in subsequent tours, with the exception of segments from "Mr. Roboto" and "Heavy Metal Poisoning" performed in the 'Cyclo-medley'. DeYoung did perform the songs "Mr. Roboto" and "Don't Let It End" during his solo tours.


The song Heavy Metal Poisoning is the fifth track on the album. This song begins with the backmasked Latin words "annuit cœptis, novus ordo seclorum".[5] Translated from the Latin, these words mean "[he/she/it] has favored our undertakings,[6] a new order of the ages".[7][8] These are the two mottoes from the Great Seal of the United States on the reverse side of the United States one-dollar bill.

The band created the album Kilroy Was Here partly as a mocking response to fundamentalist Christian groups and other anti-rock-music activists who had previously influenced the Arkansas State Senate to pass a bill requiring that all records containing backward masking be labeled as such by the manufacturer. Cited in the legislation were albums by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Styx.

Music video[edit]

Three of the four videos for the album - "Mr. Roboto", "Don't Let It End", and "Heavy Metal Poisoning" - were filmed at the same time and used footage from the minifilm. A fourth video, "Haven't We Been Here Before", was filmed a few months after the album was released; it did not interact with the album's story.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mr. Roboto" Dennis DeYoung 5:28
2. "Cold War" Tommy Shaw 4:27
3. "Don't Let It End" Dennis DeYoung 4:56
4. "High Time" Dennis DeYoung 4:33
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Heavy Metal Poisoning" James Young 4:57
2. "Just Get Through This Night" Tommy Shaw 6:06
3. "Double Life" James Young 3:46
4. "Haven't We Been Here Before" Tommy Shaw 4:06
5. "Don't Let It End" (Reprise) Dennis DeYoung 2:22
Total length: 40:41


Additional personnel
  • Arranged & Produced By Styx
  • Engineers: Gary Loizzo, Will Rascati, Rob Kingsland
  • Apprentice engineer: Jim Popko
  • Mastering - Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1983 Pop Albums 3

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1983 "Don't Let It End" Adult Contemporary 13
1983 "Don't Let It End" Pop Singles 6
1983 "High Time" Pop Singles 48
1983 "Mr. Roboto" Pop Singles 3
1983 "Mr. Roboto" Mainstream Rock 3


  1. ^ Robinson (Syndicated Columnist), Lisa (1983-02-04). "Rock Music". St. Petersburg Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  2. ^ On A&M "Feb. 22 A&M releases". Facebook. Retrieved 17 June 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ Recording Industry Association of America. "Gold and Platinum Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (1983-03-27). "Serious issues underlie a new album from Styx". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  6. ^ MacArthur, John D. (2016). "Annuit Coeptis - Origin and Meaning of the Motto Above the Eye of Providence on the Great Seal". Latin Mottoes. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  7. ^ MacArthur, John D. (2016). "Novus Ordo Seclorum - Origin and Meaning of the Motto on the Foundation of the Unfinished Pyramid on the Great Seal". Latin Mottoes. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  8. ^ "The Great Seal of the United States," U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., July 2003, p. 5. PDF of official brochure.