Paradise Theatre (album)

Paradise Theatre is the tenth studio album by American rock band Styx, released on January 16, 1981, by A&M Records. It was the band's most commercially successful album, peaking at #1 for 3 weeks on the Billboard 200 in April and May 1981 (non-consecutively). It was also the band's fourth consecutive album to be certified triple-platinum by the RIAA.

Paradise Theatre
Styx - Paradise Theater.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 16, 1981 [1]
StudioPumpkin Studios, Oak Lawn, Illinois
Styx chronology
Paradise Theatre
Kilroy Was Here
Singles from Paradise Theatre
  1. "The Best of Times"
    Released: January 1981
  2. "Too Much Time on My Hands"
    Released: March 1981
  3. "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned"
    Released: July 1981
  4. "Rockin' the Paradise"
    Released: August 1981[5]
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Daily VaultA (2003)[3]
C (2006)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [6]

Four singles from the album charted on various charts, with two songs reaching the top 10 pop singles chart. The lead single "The Best of Times", written by Dennis DeYoung, went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Too Much Time on My Hands", written by Tommy Shaw, went to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, Shaw's only top 10 hit for Styx. "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned", written by DeYoung, went to #54 on the US Pop Chart. "Rockin' the Paradise"—written by DeYoung, Shaw and James Young—went to #8 on the Top Rock Track Chart.


A concept album, the album is a fictional account of Chicago's Paradise Theatre from its opening in 1928 to its closing in 1958 (and eventual abandonment), used as a metaphor for America's changing times from the late 1970s into the 1980s.[7] (Dennis DeYoung, who envisioned and developed the entire concept, confirmed this in an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard about the making of the album.[8][9])

DeYoung has said that the theme of the album is "one of hope and renewal in the spirit of the American people to understand the problems that confront the world and this country and find solutions themselves to those problems. Don't depend on heroes to do what you must do for yourself. If you hate your job but you have a dream, then pursue it. Just don't sit around and complain about it."[10]

Newsday critic Wayne Robins stated that the songs "deal with people out of sync with themselves and their environment."[10] For example, "Too Much Time on My Hands" is about a man who is unemployed and has given up, he regards "Lonely People" as a "contemporary rewrite of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby,'" and "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned" is about "the inevitability of failure."[10]

Vinyl editionEdit

Initial vinyl copies of the album have a design featuring the name of the band laser etched directly onto the vinyl on side 2 (some copies had a wax design of the cover art). The vinyl record sleeve was a gate-fold and was painted by the artist Chris Hopkins. On the back cover, label and spine, the title of the record is spelled "Paradise Theater", while on the front cover, the title is spelled "Paradise Theatre".

Vinyl releases and initial CD pressings of the album had the musical segue between "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" and "A.D. 1958" indexed as the intro to "A.D. 1958". Subsequent pressings of the CD had the segue indexed as the fade to "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" instead.

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."A.D. 1928"DeYoungDeYoung1:08
2."Rockin' the Paradise"DeYoung, Young, ShawDeYoung3:35
3."Too Much Time on My Hands"ShawShaw4:31
4."Nothing Ever Goes as Planned"DeYoungDeYoung4:48
5."The Best of Times"DeYoungDeYoung4:19
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Lonely People"DeYoungDeYoung5:28
7."She Cares"ShawShaw4:17
8."Snowblind"Young, DeYoungYoung, Shaw5:00
9."Half-Penny, Two-Penny"Young, Ray BrandleYoung5:58
10."A.D. 1958"DeYoungDeYoung1:06
11."State Street Sadie"DeYoung(instrumental)0:28



Additional personnelEdit

  • Steve Eisen – saxophone solos
  • Bill Simpson – saxophones
  • Mike Halpin – trombone
  • John Haynor – trombone
  • Dan Barber – trumpet
  • Mark Ohlson – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Ed Tossing – horn arrangements


  • Styx – producers, arrangements
  • Rob Kingsland – engineer
  • Gary Loizzo – engineer
  • Will Rascoti – assistant engineer
  • Ted Jensen – mastering at Sterling Sound, NYC
  • Dennis DeYoung – original concept
  • Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff – art direction, design
  • George Beeson – art direction, design
  • Chris Hopkins – illustrations
  • Marc Hauser – photography
  • Greg Murry – photography
  • John Weizenbach – photography



Chart (1981) Peak
Argentina (Ránking Argentino)[11] 2
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 27
US Top LPs & Tape (Billboard) 1
UK Albums Chart 8

Singles - Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1981 "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned" Hot 100 54
"Rockin' the Paradise" Top Rock Tracks 8
"Snowblind" 22
"Too Much Time on My Hands" 2
Hot 100 9
"The Best of Times" Top Rock Tracks 16
Hot 100 3


  1. ^ "BPI certifications for Styx".
  2. ^ a b c d Rivadavia, Eduardo. Styx: Paradise Theater at AllMusic. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Egbert, Duke (December 2, 2003). "Daily Vault Album Reviews: Paradise Theatre". Daily Vault. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Hanson, Paul (June 27, 2006). "Daily Vault Album Reviews: Paradise Theatre". Daily Vault. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "Styx singles".
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 789. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. rolling stone styx album guide.
  7. ^ Secher, Andy (August 16, 1981). "Special mix of talent keeps Styx fans happy". Asbury Park Press. p. H5. Retrieved 2022-06-16 – via
  8. ^ In the Studio with Redbeard Facebook page > Styx scored the # 1 album in America this week in 1981. 5 April 2021)
  9. ^ Redbeard's Blog > STYX- PARADISE THEATRE 40TH- TOMMY SHAW, JAMES YOUNG (retrieved: 6 April 2021)
  10. ^ a b c Robins, Wayne (April 24, 1981). "Styx takes it seriously". Newsday. p. II-29. Retrieved 2022-06-16 – via
  11. ^ "Ránking de Argentina". Revista Pelo. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 1981.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 299. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External linksEdit