Styx: “Lady” (1973)

The song that proves behind every successful band is their old “Lady.”

Kronomyth 2.5: Lady in waiting.

Dennis DeYoung’s Lady is the standout beauty of the early Styx catalog: three minutes of perfectly captivating prog that strike a graceful balance of light and dark. It should have been the band’s breakout single, and it was, eventually. For reasons known only to record promoters, “Father O.S.A.” and, later, “Winner Takes All” were selected as the early singles from Styx II, all but ensuring that the band would toil in anonymity (at least on a national level) for another year.

In September of 1973, Wooden Nickel finally got around to issuing “Lady” as a standalone single. And nothing happened. The single that should have broken them nationwide didn’t do a single thing for them. The Serpent Is Rising crawled back under its rock as Styx continued to play the Midwest college circuit. The band’s fourth, Man of Miracles, promised more of the same despite better promotion). Then “Lady” re-entered the room. No longer able to deny her charms, radio stations played the song and listeners quickly launched it up the charts. Miracle of miracles, Styx had finally arrived.

The B side the second time around was James Young’s Children of the Land, now excised from the first album’s sticky, messy opus, “Movement of the Common Man.” As I’ve pointed out before, American prog bands seemed to struggle with identity issues: were they hard rock bands prone to progressive flights of fancy or prog bands that needed to howl at the moon every now and then? This single, a sort of back-to-back hits that should have been, shows both sides to good effect. Time would find  the balance of power shift to prog and symphonic pop, proving the prescience of this mystical “Lady.”

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Lady (Dennis DeYoung) (stereo) (2:33)
B1. Lady (Dennis DeYoung) (mono) (2:33)

7-inch single re-release version (1974)
A1. Lady (Dennis DeYoung) (2:58)
B1. Children of the Land (short version) (James Young) (3:17)

The Plastic

Released as promotional 7-inch single in September 1973 in the US (Wooden Nickel, 73-0116) feat. A stereo and mono versions.

  1. Re-released with “Children of the Land” on 7-inch single in November 1974* in the US (Wooden Nickel, WB-10102) and Canada (RCA, WB-10102). Reached #6 on the US charts (charted on December 14, 1974 for 17 weeks). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1974 in the US (Wooden Nickel, JH-10102) feat. A stereo and mono versions. (*First appeared in 11/30/74 issue of Billboard.) Subsequent reissues are of this version.
  2. Re-issued on February 21, 1975 in the UK (RCA, RCA 2518) and in 1975 in Australia (Wooden Nickel, 102553), Germany (RCA, 26.11232) and Japan (RCA, SS-2435) with regional picture sleeve.
  3. Re-issued on 7-inch single in November 1975 in the US (RCA Gold Standard, GB-10492).

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