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Styx, Frampton offer blasts from past

The Gorge turns time machine on Sunday when the stage is overtaken by arena rock relics Styx with Peter Frampton, Kansas, and Blue Oyster Cult.

Styx is widely believed to be responsible for the development of the term pomp-rock – meaning pompous, overblown arrangement, and uber-production.

Often described as the arena rock prototype in the late 1970s and early 80s, Styx made classic rock standards “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.”

Combining symphonic and progressive elements, Styx’s success was slow to catch up to them. Once the band signed to A&M Records in 1975, guitarist John Curulewski departed with the release of “Equinox” and was replaced by Tommy Shaw, who took over lead vocals and made significant contributions to the songwriting.

The quintet’s best-seller, a complex laser-etched concept album complete with elaborate and expensive packaging, “Paradise Theatre,” sold 3 million copies and catapulted Styx to the status of one of the era’s top touring acts with two U.S. Top 10 hits, “The Best Of Times” and “Too Much Time On My Hands.”

Peter Frampton’s double-LP live album “Peter Frampton Comes Alive” sold 25 million copies and helped usher in a new era of stadium rock. Frampton was later named Rolling Stone’s “Artist of the Year.”

Fusing the complexity of British prog-rock with American heartland sounds true to their name, Kansas hammered out smash hits “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust In the Wind,” songs that remain on classic rock radio play lists.

The thinking man’s heavy metal group, the Blue Oyster Cult, formed in 1967 on a college campus by rock critics who are credited for starting “Crawdaddy,” the first magazine dedicated to serious coverage of rock music and culture.

BOC released the platinum selling rock staples, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” “Godzilla” and “Burnin’ For You.”

Since the band was originally founded in the late 1960s, it has gone under many names and with several different members. Previous band names include the Cows, the Soft White Underbelly, Oaxaca and Stalk Forrest Group.


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