Q: Styx Fans & Paradise Theatre

The last (full) song on the album (i.e.: vinyl, tape, or CD) makes reference to South Africa, being free across the sea, and then coming back to the US. How does this all fit in with their theme of commemorating the Paradise Theatre? What’s your take on this?

I WAG the singer is in depair over the loss of Paradise Theatre due to how money calls the shots. And, maybe there’s a better life in some other far-off land? And when he arrives, to his dismay, life is not much more different than from where he left?
Not sure what statement they’re trying to make here…

Although I’m just Fooling Myself, the angry young man is asking you to Come Sail Away…

  • Jinx

Sounds to me like you’ve got too much time on your hands. (hee-hee)

You’re WAG sounds good to me, but I don’t have anything else to add.


I’m going to try and answer your question seriously because a) I’m a HUGE, lifelong Styx fan as you can see from my nickname and 2) you bring up an interesting idea.

The whole album is a loose concept of, as you said, America and how money had come to rule all (in their opinion of course). The closing of the Paradise was their way of saying Americans now will destroy wonderful old things in their rush to worship the almighty dollar if those wonderful old things aren’t pulling their weight, as it were.

As to Half Penny Two Penny in particular - to nitpick, but the song says:

" Half penny, two penny, back in the States
You just couldn’t take that African pace
Yes, Mrs. Cleaver your son’s home to stay
We all know it’s the American Way"

No mention of South Africa in particular, just the continent in general. Possibly they’re talking about northern Africa and the Middle East? Just a thought, although my gut instinct is that you’re right and they’re actually referring to the money down there - maybe even (if we want to stretch it here) the diamond industry and the horrid conditions they say the people who work the mines labor under.

When they say “I’m gonna shake myself loose/Back home across the sea/Where I know that I will be free” maybe its an acknowledgement that even though this country has its faults its still the land of the free (in comparison to some places) and worth trying to save.

Just my $.02

But, Dr. Righteous! In the opening lines which I shall paraphrase becase my CD in the car…
"Half-penny, two-penny
Gold Kugarrand
He was extremely rich
For such a young man…

I believe the Kugarrand (sp?) is a South African coin, no?
It could well be a reference to the diamond mines? Or, at least an attempt to conjur up this image…

Also, I puzzle about:
“Half-penny, two-penny
Strike up the band
Another divorce
Just a few hundred grand”

I WAG this is a general statement of how we too quickly sacrifice quality for money? Perhaps the rich, young man and the divorce do not refer to any one person, specifically, but rather our lust for quick money?

  • Jinx :confused:

First time I heard it, the line “Yes, Mrs. Cleaver your son’s home to stay” meant no more foreign wars. Referencing the old UL “Jerry Mathers was killed in 'Nam”…

Of course that’s convoluted and stupid!

What I picked up from discussions on the Styx mailing list is it’s a reference to Eldridge Cleaver. In 1968 he left the US to avoid arrest. Lived in various countries in Africa and elsewhere until his return in 1975. By 1978 he declared himself a conservative Christian.

The songs seems to be about many different things. In an interview James Young said the song predicted the OJ verdict. “Justice for money”

Hamsters ate my other post… I didn’t realize the kruggerand was the monetary unit of South Africa. My bad.

The song’s about what the whole albums about, and what Pieces of Eight and Grand Illusion are about - love of money above all is a Bad Thing.

I love that band…

Dr. Righteous, I’m curious: does your love of Styx include Edge of the Century, or do you consider that outside the canon?

“Suite Madame Blue” is one of my favorite Styx songs. And this is an example, I think, of how allegorical their lyrics can be: pointed references which are, at the same time, metaphorical and non-specific, as suggested in Jinx’s post #2. Part of the beauty of it is how the seemingly specific reference slides when you try to pin it down.

Well, I am a lover of the music, not a slave to the personnel of the band. There are parts of EotC I like (I’d hesitate to go so far as say love) just as there are parts of Brave New World I think are brilliant… and some of it sucks eggs. It’s all canon to me, as will be the new album with Larry Gowan. I personally can’t wait to see what they come up with. Larry, Tommy and Glen writing together… could be very cool.

I personally am a fan of their harder rock side so EotC didn’t really thrill me… just as Cornerstone didn’t either ::coughBabesuckedcough:: Both of them have their moments, but overall they’re just not stellar examples from beginning to end like, say, GI is.

I’ve got a real soft spot in my heart for Man of Miracles - totally dig that early 70’s prog rock thing they had goin’ on.

SMB is indeed a fantastic song. It’s got a bit of everything - rock, pomp, harmonies, lyrics to sink your teeth into… fun for the whole family :slight_smile:


It’s Dr Righteous! Run! RUN!!!


Best behave now, Jonathan… the MMM is watching…

And tell your friend Kilroy I’m after him. He really should just turn himself in. Resistance is futile…

Whoops, wrong universe. Never mind me.

Yeah, I know the truth, you ideologue!

Don’t think we’re not onto you!