This song leads off the Paradise Theatre
album, setting up the concept of the rise and fall of a Chicago theater. The Paradise Theatre was real, located in Chicago and built in 1928 with the slogan, "Not for today but for all time." It gradually degraded and was torn down in 1958.
The theatre is a metaphor for life in America, which at the time seemed bleak to keyboard player Dennis DeYoung
, who came up with the concept. He calls this song his "working class take on what was wrong with America."