WCSX Classic Cuts
Styx: “Crystal Ball”
The Hook: Written on the spot in a bowling alley lounge in Montgomery, Alabama.
Album: Crystal Ball
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.”