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CSX Classic Cuts

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 28: Styx performs during the Mitsubishi Motors ArenaBowl Extravaganza at The Spanish Plaza on July 28, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. ArenaBowl XXI will be played between the COlumbus Destroyers and the San Jose SaberCats on Sunday July 29. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images for AFL)

WCSX Classic Cuts

Styx: “Crystal Ball”

The Hook: Written on the spot in a bowling alley lounge in Montgomery, Alabama.

Album: Crystal Ball

Year:
1976

Writer: Tommy Shaw

Stats: Released as the second single off the Crystal Ball album, it didn’t even crack the Billboard Hot 100, but it became a rock radio and concert staple.

Background: Singer-guitarist Tommy Shaw first came to the attention of Styx as a member of a Montgomery, Alabama band called MSFunk, whose management was based in Chicago. Shaw wrote “Crystal Ball” in the time between that band’s break-up and getting the call from Styx, who needed a replacement for original member John Curulewski when he’d quit right before a tour was scheduled to start.

Styx singer guitarist Tommy Shaw on writing “Crystal Ball.” OC:…write it. :24

“I’d just moved back to Alabama and I was playing with my friends in a bowling alley lounge in Montgomery. And this song came to me like something right off MTV or [a] Top 40 radio show. It was like someone turned on the radio and this song was playing wide open in my head. And I just remember looking for a legal pad and I started writing and I wrote the whole song plus an extra verse just as fast as I could write it.”