Spoiler alert— while I was/am a big fan of Styx, this is their lone song on my countdown. Truth be told my favorite three tunes from the band are “Babe”, “Come Sail Away” and “Lady”. However, all three are from the 70s.
While in general I wasn’t a huge fan of rock bands in the early 80s, Styx’s Paradise Theater album was part of my collection and one of my early youth favorites. I seriously had the needle playing on that LP ad nauseam.
From it, this song emerged as my single of choice primarily for two reasons.
One was the unforgettable baseline at the beginning and throughout the song. The other was a kick-ass video of a dude sitting at a bar drinking and chatting his life away. I’m not quite sure why as an 11-year old I found it so captivating but I certainly did. Maybe I knew then I was looking into my own future.
In a 2016 interview for the band’s website, band guitarist Tommy Shaw describes the making of the song.
“There was a place near where I lived in Niles, Michigan, a little tavern right next door to the Catholic church,” Shaw said. “I don’t know if there’s some kind of law against having a bar next door to a Catholic church — maybe it was grandfathered in before the church came in there. I think officially it was called Mark’s Tavern, but everybody called it Mark’s Bar. It was the local watering hole.
The drinks were good, and the drinks were cheap. You could go in there with 20 bucks and be a hero, you know — buying rounds of drinks. And you’d always run into somebody you knew in there.
That was the basis of the song. It’s one of my favorite kind of songs. It had written itself before I got to it.”
Chart Success: “Too Much Time On My Hands” managed to climb to number-nine on the Billboard Top 100, where it remained on the charts for 19 weeks. It was one of the few songs on this countdown to not finish its respective year on the Billboard Top 100, because not enough people appreciate great music I guess.
Great Lyrics: Spending two decades working behind a bar, I’ve seen plenty of these guys. Hell, I may be one myself.
“Sitting on this barstool talking like a damn fool
Got the twelve o’clock news blues
And I’ve given up hope on the afternoon soaps
And a bottle of cold brew
Is it any wonder I’m not crazy? Is it any wonder I’m sane at all
Well I’m so tired of losing- I got nothing to do and all day to do it
I go out cruisin’ but I’ve no place to go and all night to get there”
Fun Fact: This wasn’t even close to being Styx’s biggest chart topper. The group had four top-three hits, including their lone number-one (Babe) and seven overall top ten hits.
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can D0)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
91. Night Ranger – Sister Christian
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
80. Debbie Gibson – Only In My Dreams
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
69. Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling
65. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
64. Phil Collins – One More Night
63. Europe – The Final Countdown
62. Patrick Swazye – She’s Like The Wind
61. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
60. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
59. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
58. Huey Lewis & The News – Power Of Love