The Best Of Times
by Styx

Album: Paradise Theater (1981)
Charted: 42 3

Songfacts®:

  • If it's a romantic Styx song, it was probably the work of Dennis DeYoung, who was with the band until 1999. Like "Babe" and "Lady," he wrote and sang "The Best of Times."

    "For me, the song is simple," he told Songwriter Universe. "It's when the world goes mad, how do you cope? And in this instance, it's the love between two people, that they make their own paradise within their companionship, their love for each other, and their own home... it's saying that the best of times are when I'm alone with you."
  • Dennis DeYoung got the title from the 1859 Charles Dickens novel A Tale Of Two Cities, which opens with the famous passage: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
  • This was the first single from the Paradise Theatre album, which had a loose concept centered around the rise and fall of a theater in Chicago, where the band is from. In that context, the song recalls the glory days of the Paradise Theatre; the word "paradise" shows up three times in the lyric, and can allude to either the building or the state of mind:

    Rumor has it it's the end of Paradise
    ...
    I wish the summer winds could bring back Paradise
    ...
    But tonight will always last
    As long as we keep alive memories of Paradise
  • Styx made videos for "The Best of Times," "Rockin' the Paradise" and "Too Much Time On My Hands" on the same day, wearing the same outfits (DeYoung dressed as some kind of carnival barker, Tommy Shaw in a stylish jumpsuit). Most American acts didn't bother to make videos at this time, but the strategy paid off when MTV went on the air in August 1981, eight months after the album was released. The network put those videos in rotation, which earned Styx a raft of young fans and kept the album selling. It eventually sold over 3 million copies in America.
  • Styx had three talented vocalists, which allowed for tight harmonies as heard on this song's chorus, where guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young sing with DeYoung.
  • DeYoung posted a video of himself singing this from his home on his piano while quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. "This goes back to 1981, but it feels appropriate," he said.

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