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Suite Madame Blue by Styx

Album: EquinoxReleased: 1975
  • Dennis DeYoung wrote this in 1975 as America was gearing up for its Bi-Centennial celebration in 1976. The song is not a celebration of the event, but a look at how it was being exploited. He explained in Classic Rock Revisited: The 200th anniversary of America was being totally taken over by commercialization in a rather unceremonious fashion. I had a moment of reflection. I had grown up in the so called glory days of the United States of America, which was post World War II until 1970. To live in this country at that time was really the golden age. The fallibility of the United States was something that struck me and that set the tone for 'Suite Madam Blue.' Maybe I was fearful of being literal – I think I probably was."
  • Equinox was the last Styx album with guitarist John Curulewski. Tommy Shaw joined the band on their next release. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Haltom City, TX
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Comments: 22

I don't know that I would consider this song as one that "honors" American and/or the bicentennial celebration. Yes, clearly, the titular "Suite Madame Blue" is a metaphor for the United States, but this is not a fawning, rah-rah "God Bless the USA" kind of song. It is an honest assessment of the United States, warts and all, in the post-Watergate and post-Vietnam War years, by somebody who clearly loves his nation but who is honest enough to know it is far from perfect and has a lot of work to do.Ken - Philadelphia, Pa
pedgalad - actually, it's in different KEYS but the same basic chord progression (if you're using Nashville notation). This chord progression was also used by The Beatles (While My Guitar Gently Weeps), Chicago (25 or 6 to 4), and Jimi Hendrix (forgot which song). I think Genesis used it once, too. Classic.Bob - Farmington Hills, Mi
Great song! Richard from Chi Town, I don't think this song is about Cher, I think you meant "dude looks like a lady", by Aerosmith, now that song I can believe is written about Cher!Kelly - San Luis Obispo, Ca
I loved Styx ever since being turned onto "Lady" by a good friend in my teenage years. Definately one of the most underated bands of their era; their early stuff really kicked ass with the Panozzo brothers and James Young takin' it to it. The whole band cooked! Equinox is one of their better albums,IMHO. Had the pleasure of seeing them live a few tims, the last was in '89 I believe, when they performed Suite Madame Blue then as well. The solo with James Young was incredible! He's bathed in electric green light on one side, brilliant yellow on the other and he just lays into this incredible, soaring solo... time had a way of standing still for a while then. The feel was electric, ethereal - psychedelic (and I was the straight, designated driver! something I'll never forget. The whole place just went NUTS! This is one of those few songs where the band had a chance to stretch out a bit (A Day being the other great, long song that comes to mind) and I just can't help but wonder why progressive FM stations never quite "got it" when it came to Styx. Oh well, their loss! Peace.Paul - Croydon, Pa
the opening to suite madam blue is bm, bm/a, g#m7-5, gmaj7, f#. the opening to babe im gonna leave you is
am, c/g, am/g4, am+1,e. so they are in the same KEY, not the same notes.
Pedgalad - Willowdale, On
Tommy Shaw said in an interview several years ago on a radio station in Indianapolis Indiana that it was JC who on guitar on the album. It was, of course, JC.Woland - Albany, Ny
DANIEL from PA - JOHN CURULEWSKI WAS ON "SUITE MADAME BLUE". The album Equinox was his last with Styx. He left the band right after its release on Dec. 1, 1975. Tommy Shaw was recruited to replace him for the tour to support the album. Tommy did not make an appearance on a Styx lp until Oct. 1976 with Crystal Ball.A.h. - Tampa, Fl
Hahaha! Randy-OH I just finished mentioning in the "Babe" (also by Styx) comments that "Babe I love you" played backwards says "are you laughing" clear as day! Lolz! This is a fantastic song on many levels, music & lyrics are top notch, so just enjoy! Also, Yolanda-UT needs to cut down on a the a coffee a eh?5cats - Winnipeg, Mb
OKKKK who really cares if it sounds the same, and the meanings are totally different so people need to stop being so critical, don't comment if its not positive. this song is awesome soo just go away. Thanks Randy for telling him off.Allison - A Little Ol' Town In, Mi
Robert, to state that this song is a "rip-off" to "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" is like stating that Led Zeppelin's "Your Time Is Going To Come" is a rip-off to the 5th Dimension's "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In". Just because a few musical notes on a song may have similarities to another doesn't necessarily make it a rip-off. I would suggest maybe you should spend more of your quality time spinning vinyl records backwards, and try to decipher messages from them.Randy - Colerain Twp., Oh
this song is such a ripoff of babe im gonna leave you. funny how people call zep ripoff artists, yet fail to mention the millions who follow the zeppelin formula in some way. ahh i feel a little better now.Robert - Al
Richard from Chicago.....are you on dope? I seriously doubt that the Styx would waste any time on writing a song about Cher.Paul - California, Pa
Daniel, Tommy may have been playing this song during the 'Equinox' tour, but it was JC that had record it with the band.Tommy didn't join the band until after the album was completed. Tommy did play a '12-string' on a double-neck in concerts during this first half of the song, and used the 'six-string' on the second half . During the early years in concerts, Dennis use to hit a note for approximately 20 seconds when he sang the last word in the verse "You conquered the world, and MORE...". You can get an idea of what the song sounds like live on STYX's 'Caught in the Act' album. I have also seen a video footage many years ago when Dennis performed this song while singing to a 'Miss Piggy' doll. I believe this song was released on 'Equinox' before Steve Miller's 'Wintertime', which I believe was on the 'Book of Dreams' album, was.Randy - Colerain Twp., Oh
John C WAS NOT on this song, it was Tommy Shaw.Daniel - Mill Hall, Pa
The STYX- MISS AMERICA SONG Goes with Suite Madame Blue, and That song fit's Cher too, so Check it out. That is why it is a suite of songs, and there is more , so Listen to "Wish You were here" CD and you will have the master suite! And you will undertand it all much better. Regards!Richard - Chicago, Il
People, There is an outer meaning, which is superficial, and a deeper meaning, which is exacting and requires a spiritual eyes and requiires a perfect fit. YOu see, Sweet Madame Blue is a Prophetic Story of Cher's 2002 to 2005 Farewell Tour to Hell and Back. Cher is really Sweet Madame Blue, and the Miracle for America is another secret, that you will soon learn about in summer 2006. Watch what happens with Cher next!
A Miracle!
Richard - Chicago, Il
the time during the Cold War, after Vietnam, the 70s were a time of regret and depression, such a waste of life, time, and money only led the country into this state. this was the peak of the blues in rock music and patriotism was, of course, very menial, but still we came through and became stronger because of it. everything and everyone has their vulnerable times of depressionTimm - Tucson, Az
I love a this a band a and a the a 70s a rocked a because a of a styx a led zeppelin a ac/dc a and a deep purple a and kansas a and reo speedwagon a and rush a and a boston a and a all a the a other a awesome a bands a good a night a.Yolanda Morphinite - Bountiful , Ut
Darryl: excellent observation!! They sound identical for the first couple of bars. I can provide no insight, however.Ash - Charleston, Wv
Just something I've noticed: the beginning of Suite Madame Blue and Steve Miller's "Winter Time" sound very similar. Same producer? Anyone know?Darryl - Kitchener, Canada
Robert from Chicago got it right, I thought I would fill in more detail about the era. In a nutshell, the 70's really sucked. We were coming out of the Vietnam era of the 60's which was a very unpopular war. Our youth was protesting the war, far too many died, and the vetrans returned home to a cold reception. Gasoline prices shot through the roof, there were long lines, and Nixon resigned as President of The United States. The cold war was very hot and to top it off, the economy wasn't doing that great. So, nobody really felt like creating patriotic songs.
What is interesting about this song is that DeYoung used an ederly woman to symbolize the US, and the general feeling that perhaps our coutry's better days have passed us by. At the end he asks for a "New Start."
Another metaphore that gained popularity in 1976 was from an unknown actor Sylvester Stalone as Rocky. It's a great story about a boxer who became too slow, too fat, too beaten down to be a winner. He put dedication into training and had a come back that really embraced the spirit of America, we weren't too slow and too fat to fly.
This song is from a long time ago, the America it portrays is clearly a different America that exists today.
Steve - Chino Hills, Ca
Perfect ending to their Equinox album. It tells exactly how America was like at that time.Robert - Chicago, Il
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