One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Styx Gone Solo: Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw


“Desert Moon” by Dennis DeYoung and “Girls with Guns” by Tommy Shaw

In 1961, when he was 14, Dennis DeYoung teamed up with his 13-year-old neighbors, Chuck and John Panozzo, in a three-piece combo. The trio later added guitarist James Young and John Curulewski to form the band Tradewinds in the late 1960s. The band renamed itself TW4 in 1968 before becoming Styx in 1970.
The band had some success in the early-mid 70s.

Their popularity started soaring when guitarist/singer/songwriter Tommy Shaw joined the group in 1975. But by the early ’80s, tension began mounting in the group. Tommy Shaw wanted the band to go more towards a rock direction, and Dennis DeYoung wanted to go more pop and theatrical. In 1984, Tommy Shaw left the band, and went solo. He released three solo albums in the 1980s: Girls with Guns (1984), What If (1985), and Ambition (1987). His biggest hit was the title track from his debut album Girls With Guns. It peaked at #33 on November 17, 1984.

While the band was in transition, Dennis DeYoung also did a solo project. He was a little more succesful than Shaw as his first solo album, Desert Moon, generated the hit, “Desert Moon”, which peaked at #10 on November 10, 1984.

Five years later, Styx decided to get back together. But, they did so without Shaw, who had formed Damn Yankees along with Ted Nugent, Jack Blades (of Night Ranger), and drummer Michael Cartellone (Shaw’s drummer during his 1988 Ambition tour). In 1990, Styx released the album Edge of the Century. A&M Records (which had just merged with PolyGram Records) dropped the group from its roster in 1992, and the group broke up again shortly afterwards.

In 1995, Styx reunited again, this time Tommy Shaw joined the group again. However, drummer John Panozzo became terminally ill and did not rejoin the band. He died of gastrointestinal bleeding on July 16, 1996. In 1999, DeYoung was replaced by Canadian star Lawrence Gowan. He has been non-mainstream work, and has not had another solo hit since “Desert Moon”. Styx is still together touring and recording, so Tommy Shaw also has not had another solo hit since “Girls With Guns”

Here is both songs:

“Desert Moon” by Dennis DeYoung

“Girls With Guns” by Tommy Shaw

[twitter-follow screen_name=’returntothe80s’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

4 thoughts on “One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Styx Gone Solo: Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw”

  1. I always liked Desert Moon a lot, although I was never a big fan of those dialogue-within-the-song videos. Looking back, though, this one’s pretty good.

    1. Yeah, that always drove me crazy with all the yapping in a music video. But this song more than makes up for it.

      I also hate it when there is dialogue within a song period. If I’m listening to a song, and then there is talking in it, the song gets an automatic skip from me! It’s a little more acceptable in videos since they can tell a story, like this does.

  2. Desert Moon is one of my favorite songs of my teenage years. To me it’s about everything romantic and sweet about first love.

Leave a Reply