Too Much Time on My Hands

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"Too Much Time on My Hands"
Single by Styx
from the album Paradise Theatre
B-side"Queen of Spades"
ReleasedMarch 1981
GenreRock, Disco
Songwriter(s)Tommy Shaw
Styx singles chronology
"The Best of Times"
"Too Much Time on My Hands"
"Nothing Ever Goes as Planned"

"Too Much Time on My Hands" is a song by American rock band Styx, released as the second single from their tenth album Paradise Theatre. It was written and sung by Tommy Shaw, who also plays the lead guitar solo during the break in the song. It was Shaw's only top 10 single as a writer and vocalist with Styx.


The inspiration for its lyrics came from Shaw's experiences in a bar in Niles, Michigan, U.S.[1] The lyrics are about an unemployed man who has "given up hope for the afternoon soaps / and a cold bottle of brew.[2]


Record World said that "Tommy Shaw's vocal is a perfect vehicle for this message about modern man's boredom and praised the "brisk beat and winding guitars."[3] Allmusic critic Eduardo Rivadavia regarded "Too Much Time on My Hands" as one of Shaw's best singles.[4] Classic Rock critic Malcolm Dome rated it as Styx 6th greatest song, saying that it shows a "new wave aptitude" linking Styx's 1970s material with 1980s music.[5]

Music video[edit]

PopMatters critic Dennis Shin rated the video as one of "20 ’80S music videos that have aged terribly," criticizing its cheesiness, he "band's period attire," "mullets galore, perms, girls with feathered hair, and Joe Dirt in the baby blue jumpsuit on vocals."[6]



It reached #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1981,[7] No. 2 on the Top Rock Tracks chart, and No. 4 on the RPM Top Singles chart of Canada.

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8] 67
Canada Top Singles 4
US Billboard Hot 100 9

Year-end Charts[edit]

Year-end chart (1981) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[9] 54

In popular culture[edit]

  • In August 1981, MTV went on the air and gave new life to the song by airing the music video in heavy rotation. The video was one of the few the network had available at the time from an American rock band.
  • The song enjoyed a small revival when The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon started talking about the music video after hearing the song on the radio in April 2016.[10][11] This culminated with the episode on April 29, 2016, when Fallon showed a shot-by-shot reenactment of the video with him and guest Paul Rudd on the show.[12] In this video Fallon plays the part of Dennis DeYoung and Rudd plays Tommy Shaw, with A.D. Miles as James Young, Seth Herzog as John Panozzo, and Gerard Bradford as Chuck Panozzo.[13][14] Tommy Shaw has commented positively and said he was impressed with Fallon's vocals.[15]
  • The song was heard in the Close Enough episode "Snailin' It".


  1. ^ "Styxworld Exclusive: The Inside Story Behind 'Too Much Time on My Hands'". 30 April 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  2. ^ Robins, Wayne (April 24, 1981). "Styx takes it seriously". Newsday. p. II-29. Retrieved 2022-06-16 – via
  3. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. March 21, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  4. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Paradise Theater". Allmusic. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  5. ^ Dome, Malcolm (February 18, 2022). "The 10 best Styx songs". Classic Rock. Louder Music. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  6. ^ Shin, Dennis (November 19, 2020). "20 '80S Music Videos That Have Aged Terribly". PopMatters. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  7. ^ "Styx". Billboard.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 299. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Number One Awards – Billboard's 1981 Year-End Charts : Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 93, no. 51. December 26, 1981. p. YE-9. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Jimmy Fallon & Paul Rudd recreate Styx Too Much Time On My Hands video -". Entertainment Weekly's
  11. ^ "Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd re-create Styx's 'Too Much Time On My Hands' video". UPI. 30 April 2016.
  12. ^ Jimmy Fallon & Paul Rudd Recreate Styx Music Video. 29 April 2016 – via YouTube.[dead YouTube link]
  13. ^ "Watch Jimmy Fallon's and Paul Rudd's Remake of Styx's 'Too Much Time on My Hands' Video". Ultimate Classic Rock. 30 April 2016.
  14. ^ Danielle Henderson (30 April 2016). "Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd Gave Us the Shot-For-Shot Styx Video Remake We Didn't Know We Needed". Esquire.
  15. ^ "Jimmy Fallon Sings "Too Much Time on My Hands" - Styx". Styx.

External links[edit]