Styx was a hugely popular band in my formative years. A meld of pop and hard rock with an underlying progressive tone.
They were a favorite of those of us that partook in the Columbia Music House Record And Tape Club, and a staple on AM radio of the day.
The classic late seventies and early eighties lineup put out some of the most memorable songs on the soundtrack of my youth.
Then came 1983’s Kilroy Was Here:
This wanabe rock opera followed on the heels of the fantastic Paradise Theater album. It was anchored with the single and video Mr. Roboto:
This album was the first musical shark jump I recall. We hated it! It just sounded so out of touch, like a novelty record! To boot, this release coincided with the ascension of MTV, so we were continually assailed with the shitty video as well!
To highlight how bad we thought this song was, I recall a night out with friends when one of us stuffed a fiver in the jukebox and programmed the thing to play Mr. Roboto 20 times in a row nonstop!
“That’ll teach ’em!” I’m sure I was saying as I pressed the buttons repeatedly… the machine had conspired against me though because, apparently, if you program the same song over and over again, the juke box over rides your request and just puts the song in intermittently throughout the evening.
How bad is Mr. Roboto? This was one of eight Stxy songs to chart top 10. We’ve seen them live a couple of times in the past 5 years and, even with Dennis DeYoung clone Lawrence Gowan, they never touched this tune!
I never bought the album. I never thought I would! But here I said transfixed to the stereo speakers following the story of Robert Orin Charles Kilroy (R.O.C.K., get it?) and his struggles against MMM leader Doctor Righteous. Luckily Jonathan Chance (AKA Tommy Shaw) was there to save the day!