Styx's early recordings were prog rock, similar to the Moody Blues and such bands. Styx (1972), Styx II (1973), The Serpent Is Rising (1974) and Man of Miracles (1975) reflected the art rock aspirations of the band, and started establishing a fan base in the Chicago area. Styx was unable to break into the mainstream, however, until "Lady" (from Styx II) began to earn some radio time, first in Chicago and then nation-wide. Styx II went gold soon after. By the time the group released Equinox (1975), Styx had signed with A&M Records and Curulewski left, replaced by Tommy Shaw. The series of following albums became huge hits (Crystal Ball (1976), The Grand Illusion (1977), Pieces of Eight (1978) and Cornerstone (1979)), as did the single "Come Sail Away", "Renegade", "Blue Collar Man", "Fooling Yourself" and "Babe".
As the 1980s dawned, personal problems began to tear apart the group, primarily between Shaw and DeYoung. In 1980, Styx released Paradise Theater, a concept album that became one of their biggest hits thus far. DeYoung had been pushing for this theatrical direction, and the group went along with his next plan, Kilroy Was Here; the album and tour were a failure.
By 1985, Styx had disbanded and the members had moved onto moderately successful solo careers. Shaw formed Damn Yankees in 1989 with Ted Nugent, Jack Blades and Michael Cartellone; while Shaw was thus disposed, Styx reformed with Glen Burtnik replacing him. The new line-up released Edge of the Century before once again disbanding for solo careers and short-lived supergroups.
The entire band reunited in 1996 for a tour, but John Panozzo was unable to participate due to problems with alcohol that killed him soon after. Continuing with Todd Sucherman replacing Panozzo, Styx's tour was a massive success and the band soon released Brave New World (1999). Once again, though, personality conflicts drove the band members apart. DeYoung was further hindered in attempts to reform due to a strange viral illness which made him excessively sensitive to light. Before returning to the group, DeYoung was replaced by Lawrence Gowan. DeYoung continued his solo career, and Chuck Panozzo announced he was HIV positive in 2001. Styx had released their next album called Cyclorama and issued on February 18, 2003.