Dennis DeYoung Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Dennis DeYoung          

Founding Member of the Rock Group Styx

Dennis DeYoung is a singer-songwriter and producer, best known for being a founding member of the rock band Styx as lead vocalist and keyboardist, a tenure that lasted from 1961 until June 1999. DeYoung has been credited as the writer of more Styx songs than any other Styx member.

Within Styx, DeYoung acted as lead vocalist, keyboardist, accordion player, producer and songwriter. From the start of Styx's commercial success with the 1972 DeYoung-penned single "Lady," DeYoung became the creative force behind most of the band's hit songs. DeYoung wrote and sang lead on six of the band's seven top 10 Billboard Hot 100-ranked hits during this period, with Tommy Shaw's "Too Much Time On My Hands" (No. 9) being the sole exception.

A self-taught keyboardist, DeYoung quickly became one of the most notable players of that instrument in rock. As a keyboardist in Styx, DeYoung was best remembered for his prominent lead synthesizer solos that dominated the mix with a unique tone, a key element of the Styx sound. DeYoung's songs often had a grandiose style to them in the tradition of 1970s theatrical rock, which heavily influenced the group's direction in the late 1970s, culminating in the concept albums Paradise Theatre and Kilroy Was Here. The dissent of some members in the band during Kilroy brought tensions between the group's members over the future direction of the band, leading to guitarist Tommy Shaw's departure in 1984.

With Styx in limbo following Shaw's 1984 departure, DeYoung began a solo career of modest success. His first solo album, Desert Moon, generated a top 10 hit, "Desert Moon", and the follow-up single, "Don't Wait for Heroes", cracked the Billboard Top 100 as well. DeYoung's solo career continued with Back to the World.

After a five-year hiatus; DeYoung and several other members of Styx began discussing a possible reunion in 1989. By December, 1989 Styx had unofficially reformed. Tommy Shaw, who joined Damn Yankees in 1988, did not return. By 1990, Styx (minus Tommy Shaw, who was replaced by guitarist/singer-songwriter Glen Burtnik) returned to the studio for the album Edge of the Century. "Show Me the Way", a track written by DeYoung for his son Matthew, received extensive radio play, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Though DeYoung and his bandmates had been able to put aside their musical and personal differences during the "Return to Paradise" tour, those same issues resurfaced once work started on their new album, Brave New World. Complicating matters, DeYoung's physical health took a sudden turn for the worse; DeYoung said he was afflicted with a chronic fatigue syndrome-like disorder that affected his trigeminal nerve, and that he would not be able to perform onstage due to a sensitivity to bright light and sound caused by this disorder. The other four members of Styx said that the band was contractually obligated to tour in support of Brave New World. When DeYoung reiterated his health issues would leave him unable to perform live, the other members of the band opted to replace DeYoung with Canadian star Lawrence Gowan in 1999 in order to fulfill their touring obligation.

DeYoung sued his former bandmates, seeking the rights to use the group's name in support of his solo career. The suit was settled in 2001, with the group being allowed to keep the name "Styx" and DeYoung able to use the name in descriptive phrases such as "the music of Styx" or "formerly of Styx" (but not "the voice of Styx").

In February 2000, DeYoung was approached to perform a concert featuring his many songs from Styx, as well as his solo works and his 1997 stage musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with an orchestra. The show, performed at the Rosemont Theatre in DeYoung's hometown of Chicago, was a family affair for DeYoung. His wife Suzanne and sister-in-law Dawn Marie Feusi sang backup, his daughter Carrie Ann was in charge of publicity, while his son Matthew designed the stage lighting.

The concert was well received and formed the basis for a touring version of the show, and eventually an 2004 album, The Music of Styx - Live with Symphony Orchestra.

In 2010, DeYoung formed a new rock band dedicated to the music of Styx featuring new members guitarist and lead vocalist August Zadra and bass player and vocalist Craig Carter. They joined with John Blasucci, Jimmy Leahey, Tom Sharpe and Suzanne DeYoung in performing Styx hits including "Renegade", "Blue Collar Man" and others as well as DeYoung's solo works.

As of 2012, DeYoung's solo career shows little sign of slowing down as he continues to tour the world with his symphonic shows, rock band shows and acoustic shows.


Pop music: Dennis DeYoung ready to give Styx fans 'the full rock ...

Performing with his six-member band and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, DeYoung aims to give fans all the classic songs.

10 Things To Know About Dennis DeYoung, Former Styx Vocalist ...

"Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx" headlines the festivities at the first of this year's WZLX Classic Summer Concerts at the DCR Hatch Shell. DeYoung ...

Go-Go's, Air Supply, Dennis DeYoung highlight 2013 Epcot Food ...

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival has announced its 2013 music lineup, and as hoped, it's full of acts from the '80s. Among the can't-miss shows: Go-Go's, Air ...

Related Speakers View all

More like Dennis