Friday, September 4, 2009

Styx -- "Come Sail Away"

Thanks to readers Emma and Peter for the recommendation.

No real comment on this video, expect to say that I REALLY want to buy the basketball jersey or whatever it is that the drummer is wearing.

Also, TONIGHT Styx is performing LIVE with REO Speedwagon and .38 Special! This is not a joke. If you are in or around Bismarck, N.D., as I'm sure many of you are, I recommend that you drop everything and head for the Bismarck Civic Center Arena for a show that is, quite accurately in my opinion, billed as "Can't Stop Rockin'."

But why stop there? Head on out to St. Paul, Minn., tomorrow for the Minnesota State Fair to see the very same lineup, or to Elkhorn, Wisc., on Sunday for the Walworth County Fair (?!), which is apparently a solo gig for Styx. In the 7:30 time slot at the county fair, Styx will be in direct competition, playing the grandstand, with the Bosworth Family Lumberjack Show over in something called "Kiddieland." VERY tough call ... as you are most likely well aware, the Bosworth family can really jack that lumber.


I’m sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea / I’ve got to be free, free to face the life that’s ahead of me

Sounds like a bold move. The question is, will you be able to carry on, Dennis DeYoung?

On board, I’m the captain, so climb aboard

I'm going to be honest, the lyrics to this song are not terrible. The real awesomelybadness lies in the last verse. However, this line is pretty bad. If he just sang "I'm the captain, so climb aboard," it would be totally fine, but to add the extra "on board" at the beginning? Why? The worst part is it's not even a matter of needing the right number of syllables ... it's almost as if the "on board" part is shoehorned in, like it's a vital piece of information that just must be imparted to the listener. In fact, it is entirely superfluous.

OK, let's just carry on here.

We'll search for tomorrow on (and?) every shore

I swear it sounds like DeYoung says "ond" both in the studio version and in the live performance linked above. He seems to be singing "on" and then adds a "d" sound. Both "on" and "and" would make sense here, so I'm stumped.

And I’ll try, oh lord, I’ll try to carry on

Whee! I love the way he sings "carry on." If I was writing out the lyrics phonetically I'd probably use about 23 A's in the word "carry."

Also, I guess Dennis DeYoung is supposed to be trying to escape something in this song, but damned if I know what it is. I guess it doesn't really matter.

I look to the sea, reflections in the waves spark my memory / Some happy, some sad / I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had / We live happily forever, so the story goes / But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold / But we’ll try best that we can to carry on

Not much to say here, except that this song was quite obviously ghostwritten by a leprechaun who yearns to be a pirate.

A gathering of angels appeared above my head / They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said / They said come sail away, come sail away / Come sail away with me

This is a fitting conclusion to what is actually quite a nice little parable. A man burdened by some unnamed pressures of society has decided to "sail away" to start a new life. He takes on a traveling companion who is willing to take a risk and join him on this journey. As he leaves, he inevitably feels a bit wistful/nostalgic/apprehensive about leaving everything behind, but knows in his heart that he is making the right decision, and that the potential rewards of his departure outweigh the risks. Then a vision of angels confirms that he is, in fact, going down the correct path.

Well done, Dennis DeYoung. I applaud you for writing a fairly coherent little song here and now I'm just going to enjoy this nice little guitar/synth/keyboard/whatever solo that's going on here and ... wait a minute ... sounds like another verse might be coming? Now I'm nervous.

I thought that they were angels, but to my surprise / They climbed aboard their starship, we headed for the skies

Noooooo!!!!!!! Aliens??? ALIENS?!?!!! He gets abducted by aliens?!>!>!^&@!%#$^&!%#E#$##&**()_ ? > ????? COME ON!!!! We had such a good thing going there. I didn't know this song was actually written by M. Night freaking Shyamalan. Argh. I don't know what to say. Oh well, at least we can break out the "space travel" tag, which I've been using with surprising frequency.

Singing come sail away, come sail away / Come sail away with me



  1. Kind of bummed now that I'm not in or around Bismarck.

  2. Didn't Styx also do "Mr. Roboto"? With the whole... "I'm going to tell you who I am now... I'm Kilroy! Kilroy! ...Kilroy." thing (and I'm sure I got that wrong) I think it's safe to say Styx enjoys screwing up catchy songs right at the end.

  3. Your a total loser. I like Styx and will be going to see them Sunday in Elkhorn. I bumped into your blog looking for the time and date. I'm guessing that you did not "cut and paste" those lyrics, you probably recalled them from memory while wasting hours writing when you could be out doing something truly productive like picking up chicks! Do you have a crush on Dennis DeYoung and rub your mouse on your wiener while thinking of him?

  4. Blogging is super gay!!!!
    I'm with "Anonymous"

  5. i'm a chick and you guys are the losers who didn't get asked to prom in the 80's when you all stayed home to cry at the song "babe" cuz you had nobody to love... start a new hobby like hiking! get out in nature and forget about your bad high school days...

  6. everyone is banned from this site forever

  7. Wow, I thought I knew what this song was about, but somehow had always missed that final twist. Thanks BLB!

    Thanks also to "Anonymous" for suggesting a new way to masturbate. It seems kind of silly that I had never thought of it before, but obviously a mouse + Dennis DeYoung fantasies = erotic pleasures the likes of which I've never known. You probably go through a lot of mouses that way, but clearly it's worth it.

  8. The Google logo today incorporates a spaceship abducting its second "O." I was kind of hoping that it would link to this post.

  9. hey boys, just a thought today, "Come Sail Away" should be "Cum Sail Away"!!! ha ha ha

  10. Um, I'm totally a chick also and I wanted to say that nature kinda sucks and you should probably spend more time rocking out to great bands like Styx, you never know when you're gonna meet a really great chick like me at the county fair, some of us even have all of our teeth!

    Oh, and Elkhorn rules your face!! So stop talking bad about the Wisc!!!

  11. was at elkhorn last night, in the grand stands. not one pretty girl in site RHONDA!!! The only one pretty was the lead singer of the band! You were probably the chick just waiting for him to sing "babe" to you because you got stood up at your prom... sucks to be you. Actually, were you the chick who was at their 1,000th show last night? loser with a capital "L"

  12. Styx fans, lol. What's hilarze about you 'tards is you don't even realize that BLB probably LIKES most of the music he makes fun of. He's just intelligent enough to see the humor in it, and he doesn't take it so seriously that he's afraid to address it.

    There are people on the internet getting angry because Styx is being mocked. This both entertains and sadddens me.

  13. Thanks to Emma & Peter! This entry was travel tag and all.

  14. Get out of my head! My friends have been on a "Come Sail Away" kick all month, and I've been grumbling about the idiocy of "on board I'm the captain, so climb aboard."

  15. it's possible to be on a "Come Sail Away" kick for an entire month??? i want to hang out with your friends.

  16. Yeah, I don't think the refrain will ever leave my head. Someone got a used copy of the greatest hits, and every time we drive anywhere together, "Come Sail Away" must be blasted. I'm sure my neighbors are thrilled. I'm trying to shift us to "Renegade" or "Blue Collar Man," but at least it's not "Mr. Roboto" (or "Babe"--gah!).

  17. Again I say Blogging is SUPER GAY!!
    I wanted to tell you all what BLB stands for!
    "Blogging Licks Butt"

  18. I am a man and I like men, Blue collar men!!!

  19. Personally, when I am all alone and thinking how sad my life has been, I turn on Mr. Roboto and just feel better emotionally. I connect with the song, it makes me feel sssoooo alive. Styx RULE. This blog RULES and I check it every day, play my old 8-tracks and BLB, I am gay too so maybe we could get together. You sound hot actually. I think you are smart and informed and just cool.

    I believe in keeping things real and up front, so could you maybe, like a midget? (That is why I like Mr. Roboto so much, he is short, like me). Blog back, right away.


  20. As a sailor (of the sailboat variety), you use "permission to come aboard" to step onto someone's boat (since you can't very well knock or ring the doorbell), that is why that phrase is added - he's giving "official" permission to board his vessel (ok, take vessel anyway you want it lol)
    Lost at Sea

  21. I still want to know how they get what is probably the coolest guitar sound of all time when they come out of the synth solo before the final verse. Impossible to replicate. Sounds like they're playing metal on metal with that lead guitar.

  22. Things come in multiples. Remember this as it happens more often than not, particularly in music and entertainment. When someone creates 'something unique', there will be many copies of it in many forms. When 'Come Sail Away' was released in 1977, it was released the same year as the Carpenter's cover of Klaatu's 1976 song 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. Because both the Carpenter's song version and Styx's song came out the same year, I have to assume that these versions didn't influence one another. Instead, Styx's 'Come Sail Away' was likely influenced by Klaatu's version of 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' released in 1976. In fact, Dennis DeYoung may have even been a fan of Klaatu and likely of that song's message. In fact, there were many bands at this time that had a takeoff of the traveling in space idea including E.L.O.'s 'Out of the Blue' and Boston's first album.

    Hence, my guess is that the last line in Styx's 'Come Sail Away' was intended as Dennis DeYoung's nod to the song 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' and the general 'space craze' that developed around the release both Star Wars and, more likely, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.