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STYX

Prog Related • United States


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Styx picture
Styx biography
STYX is one of those bands that are always mentioned with some fear and shame by the Progressive Rock fan, because they always played in the border that divides Prog from plain POP, I believe the best way to describe them is as Prog Related (understanding this description as the simplest and more commercial form of Progressive Rock) blended with AOR, somehow in the same vein as JOURNEY or BOSTON but much more complex.

Officially born in 1972 from the ashes of "The TRADEWINS" and "TW4" was formed by the Panozzo twins (Chuck on bass and John on drums), Dennis de Young (vocals and keyboards), James Young (guitar, vocals) and John Curulewski (guitar, vocals).

In the first years they were closer to progressive rock than ever, from 1972 to 1974 the band released four albums, "Styx", "Styx II", "The Serpent is Rising" and "Man of Miracles", even though they were popular in Chicago, still the band couldn't reach commercial success. As a curiosity, in their first album they recorded "Movement for a Common Man" based in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, almost five years before ELP. In 1975 they release their more commercially consistent album (at that point of course) "Equinox" which blended Rock & Roll, Pop and Progressive Rock in an efficient way, "Light Up", "Lorelei" and "Suite Madam Blue" are the first songs in which the band achieve some financial success and show the sound they pretended to create.

1976 was a crucial year for "STYX", John Curulewski leaves the band and is replaced by Tommy Shaw who became the front man with his California boy image (Even when he was born in Montgomery Alabama) and melodic but elaborate style, the band finally had the face capable of reaching the female public and massive acceptance, but writing some of the best STYX themes. "Crystal Ball" was released in the same year with a moderate success, "Crystal Ball", "Mademoiselle" and "Put me On" became favorites in their massive concerts, the band was reaching their commercial peak but started to abandon prog rock and turning into an ARENA band.

At this point the story is well known, "The Grand Illusion" became a platinum album with major hits like "Fooling Yourself" and of course "Come Sail Away", also their three next albums "Pieces of Eight", "Cornerstone" and "Paradise Theater" reached commercial success with tracks that go from light prog' to soft pop ballads.

This era ends in 1983 with the infamous "Kilroy Was Here" a weak ...
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Styx: Greatest HitsStyx: Greatest Hits
Remastered
A&M 1995
$6.17
$1.40 (used)
The MissionThe Mission
UMe 2017
$8.95
$7.24 (used)
The Grand Illusion [LP]The Grand Illusion [LP]
A&M 2015
$17.25
$6.56 (used)
Styx GoldStyx Gold
A&M Records 2006
$10.46
$4.07 (used)
5 Classic Albums5 Classic Albums
Polydor 2015
$18.50
$18.49 (used)
Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings [2 CD]Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings [2 CD]
Remastered
Hip-O 2005
$8.81
$8.77 (used)
Equinox / Crystal BallEquinox / Crystal Ball
Remastered
BGO 2015
$11.04
$11.03 (used)
Paradise TheatreParadise Theatre
A&M 1985
$9.14
$3.49 (used)
Best of Times: The BestBest of Times: The Best
Polygram Uk
$5.44
$4.02 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Styx The Beat Of Times 45 & Picture Sleeve 1979 USD $4.99 Buy It Now
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STYX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STYX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.77 | 106 ratings
Styx
1972
3.12 | 111 ratings
Styx II
1973
3.00 | 107 ratings
The Serpent Is Rising
1973
2.74 | 100 ratings
Man Of Miracles
1974
3.47 | 177 ratings
Equinox
1975
3.13 | 158 ratings
Crystal Ball
1976
3.72 | 257 ratings
The Grand Illusion
1977
3.58 | 208 ratings
Pieces Of Eight
1978
2.67 | 165 ratings
Cornerstone
1979
2.93 | 172 ratings
Paradise Theatre
1981
2.15 | 138 ratings
Kilroy Was Here
1983
2.72 | 66 ratings
Edge Of The Century
1990
2.85 | 57 ratings
Brave New World
1999
3.28 | 54 ratings
Cyclorama
2003
3.31 | 56 ratings
Big Bang Theory
2005
4.12 | 34 ratings
The Mission
2017

STYX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.72 | 40 ratings
Caught In The Act Live
1984
3.79 | 26 ratings
Return to Paradise
1997
2.28 | 6 ratings
Arch Allies - Live At Riverport
2000
3.96 | 10 ratings
Styxworld Live 2001
2001
3.80 | 5 ratings
At The River's Edge - Live In St. Louis
2002
3.16 | 6 ratings
21st Century Live
2003

STYX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.07 | 20 ratings
Return To Paradise (DVD)
1999
3.73 | 14 ratings
Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland: One With Everything
2006
2.59 | 14 ratings
Caught In The Act: Live 1984
2007
3.71 | 13 ratings
The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight Live
2012

STYX Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.60 | 10 ratings
Best of Styx
1977
3.23 | 7 ratings
Classics, Vol 15
1987
2.84 | 29 ratings
Greatest Hits
1995
3.30 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits Part 2
1996
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Best of Times: The Best of Styx
1997
4.08 | 4 ratings
The Singles Colllection
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lady: The Encore Collection
2000
2.25 | 4 ratings
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Styx
2002
2.38 | 4 ratings
Rockers
2003
3.50 | 9 ratings
Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology
2004
3.33 | 22 ratings
The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings
2005

STYX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Lady
1973
2.00 | 2 ratings
Light Up
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Best Thing
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lorelei
1975
4.00 | 3 ratings
Come Sail Away
1977
3.50 | 2 ratings
Sing For The Day
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
Blue Collar Man
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Enganandote (El Joven Enojado)
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Boat On The River
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lights
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Renegado (Renegade)
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Times
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Too Much Time On My Hands
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Rockin' The Paradise
1981
3.20 | 5 ratings
Regeneration
2011

STYX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Grand Illusion by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.72 | 257 ratings

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The Grand Illusion
Styx Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What is the Grand Illusion? In the hands of Styx, it might be the boundary between full-blown progressive rock and radio-friendly AOR pop. The album finds Styx straddling that divide in a similar manner to the way Kansas would attempt from time to time - though whilst to my ears Kansas always got the best results when they stopped trying to balance the equation and just embraced their prog side, here I think Styx actually manage to master both the substance of AOR-pop and the texture and aesthetic of prog simultaneously.

With The Grand Finale recapitulating the theme of album opener The Grand Illusion, for instance, there's a certain sense of an overarching concept here, but as with Supertramp's Crime of the Century (another classic of the borderland between prog and pop) that may be more apparent than actual; either way, you get some really solid, hook-laden tunes here which manage to be smart enough to pique the curiosity of a prog audience whilst being straight-ahead enough not to abandon their pop roots. I think it's badly underappreciated.

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.12 | 34 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by stewe

4 stars It's been around 40 year since hey-days of Styx. After such period the band returned with a new conceptual album The Mission. I had no big expectations, so it came as the biggest surprise this year so far. It turned out for me that this might, without any exaggeration, be one of their best records. The best since their 1978's Pieces of Eight (which I rank highest in their catalogue).

Tommy Shaw in his mid-sixties sounds better than ever, so youthful, and so does basically the whole band. It's also a courtesy of a drummer Todd Sucherman, who is really exceptional here - dynamic, technical, creative, restrained when needed - fitting really perfectly. Compared to previous hit-and-miss "Cyclorama", Lawrence Gowan sounds much more confident and prominent. His contribution is equally important to Tommy Shaw's, creating a perfect leading tandem with him, like in old times with Denis DeYoung. Gowan's voice reminds strongly DeYoung, but still sounds somewhat distinctive, powerful in his own way. His synth parts are varied, innovative and produced with respect to original Styx sound. James Young holds up well with the leading duo still complementing them in his rough way as he did in 70s.

Sound and instrumentation are extremely well done and tight, production is excellent. Compositions are classic Styx at their best with soaring multi-layered harmonies and memorable melodic ideas; proving that pure AOR is not dead and that the band with such long career can come up with an excellent work of art. Album sometimes rocks, sometimes makes you feel relaxed, reflective. It has an atmosphere and tension. No dull moments and very little filler moments. Pop side may be a little "over-the-top" on few places, but without them it wouldn't be a Styx record, would be? Highlights for me include Locomotive with early 70s (America, Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young?) inspired melodies, semi-epic Red Storm, beautiful piano filigree Khedive and infectious anthem The Outpost captivating with heavenly harmonies and wonderful twists. By the last, title track, I feel a big dose of nostalgia when this little musical journey comes to its end. The Mission I never expected to undertake has been accomplished.

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.12 | 34 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by gr8dane

4 stars Styx on a mission. What a nice surprise we got here.Styx making a concept album about the first manned mission to Mars. If you were not a fan of Styx before,I am sure this won't change your mind.But if like me, you were along for the ride in the 70ies,this is a fantastic album.For me the Equinox-Pieces of 8 were fantastic.(Also love the Wooden Nickel era.). There is only one pumping rocker like Miss America and Queen of Spades,the 2 minute scorcher Gone Gone Gone and no sappy ballads like Babe and such.Everything in between here and very well produced and sounding excellent. Harmonies galore,lots of guitars ,heavy drumming and great keys.The sound of Styx is alive and well.I am not going to do song for song here,there is always you-tube for sampling. I really hope they will play this whole album on tour.It's absolutely worth it. Welcome back boys.
 Kilroy Was Here by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.15 | 138 ratings

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Kilroy Was Here
Styx Prog Related

Review by Corcoranw687

3 stars I always thought everyone was too hard on Styx, but the fact is they sound too much like prog for a radio-rock fan, and their songs rarely inspire the average prog fan. I like to say Styx has something for everybody to dislike, and that is truest for this album, but I think they're great and music like this has great value. Let's look at an album that most would write off that isn't bad at all, the much-ridiculed 1983 sort-of-concept album "Kilroy Was Here". Sure we've heard all we need to hear about the singles, "Mr. Roboto" is pretty repetitive and really does have a comical chorus, but a radio single about an android who is struggling with his identity whilst defending humanity at least sounds like it would be awesome. "Don't Let it End" and "Haven't We Been Here Before" are pretty weak 80s ballads, and I don't often get through "Double Life" either. What's with 3 stars when half the album is questionable, then? "Cold War" is great, a catchy chorus and Tommy Shaw's fantastic vocals keep me interested until the first solo section, where the rest of the band plays a very "Home By the Sea" part, making me wonder what Tony Banks was listening to during those recording sessions. "High Time" introduces a dystopian world with a man who speaks to you on your "laser video", and ends with a huge horn section and Dennis acting bizarre with his stuttering vocals. "Heavy Metal Poisoning" is my favourite on the album and has JY apparently playing Dr. Righteous, possibly the man from the previous song. This song about music ruining the youth's minds is mostly spoken by JY in a very ominous way, but we soon turn to a children's choir screaming "sex and drugs!!" and "Righteous righteous righteous!!", it's great. Another standout is "Just Get Through This Night" which features a neat intro followed by a great Shaw ballad with excellent lyrics, this one really nails it. Overall I think you should listen to this album if you are ever in an 80s mood, some tracks may just surprise you. 3 stars
 Return To Paradise (DVD) by STYX album cover DVD/Video, 1999
4.07 | 20 ratings

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Return To Paradise (DVD)
Styx Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the mid nineties the "classic" line-up of the band (Dennis De Young, Tommy Shaw, James Young, Chuck Panozzo, John Panozzo) was playing together again. Unfortunately, this didn't last for a very long time, because John Panozzo died in mid 1996. Anyway, since 1995 they had a new drummer, called Todd Sucherman, a very good drummer who became their official drummer after John died.

This concert video was recorded in the Autumn of 1996, a few months after John died. I really didn't expect to see STYX playing as well as they did in this concert video. They sound very well rehearsed, and they look very happy playing together. Dennis De Young is a very good lead singer and keyboards player, and he sings and plays with a lot of energy. Maybe his songs are in contrast to the more heavy musical style of the songs which are sung and composed by Tommy Shaw and James Young. This led to De Young to leave the band in 1999 after some musical differences with Young and Shaw, and also after some health problems which also forced him to leave the band. De Young was replaced with another very good singer and keyboard player (Lawrence Gowan). Anyway, the band wasn't the same anymore without De Young.

The set list of this concert video is very good. I'm not a fan of STYX, but in this concert video they played some very good songs for my taste ("Come Sail Away", "Crystal Ball", "Blue Collar Man", "Miss America", "Lady", "Boat on the River", "Snowblind"). Fortunately, no songs from the "Kilroy Was Here" (1983) album were included in this concert video. Their "Caught in the Act" concert video from 1984 had several songs from that album, an album which I don't like.

There is also a song called "Show Me the Way" which was dedicated in this concert by De Young to the late John Panozzo. It is a very good song.

This concert video is very good, with very good quality of images, camera angles and recording and mixing. It is much better than the "Caught in the Act" concert video, and it has the band playing and singing with a lot of energy to their fans. It is a good memory of the band with Dennis De Young, and also shows a very good drummer, Todd Sucherman, playing with a lot of energy, doing a very good job replacing the late John Panozzo.

 Caught In The Act: Live 1984 by STYX album cover DVD/Video, 2007
2.59 | 14 ratings

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Caught In The Act: Live 1984
Styx Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars STYX's "Caught in the Act" live album and the video of the same name have some differences in the tracks which were included in each other. While the live album has more variety in the songs (including some Hits) which were played from different albums in their discography up to 1983, the video has more songs from the album they were promoting at the time ("Kilroy Was Here", from 1983). That album, which is for me like a "Rock Opera" with a fictional story about "Rock music prohibition by a dictatorial goverment" (similar in some ways to the never finished Rock Opera from THE WHO called "Lifehouse" from 1971) let the band (and more particularly to lead singer Dennis De Young) show their acting skills during that 1983 tour. So, this video shows several songs from that "Kilroy" album being "acted" and not really played "live" with the band, with only the lead vocals maybe being really sung "live" while the music was played from tapes. Not being a fan of Broadway musicals, I don't like the acting during these songs. This concert video also starts with a "Kilroy Was Here mini-movie" which lasts for about 15 minutes, and it explained to the audience the story of the "Kilroy" album in a better way, I think. So, this concert video really starts in a more or less boring way (more for me, because I don't like the "Kilroy" album). I also think that the "Kilroy" story has some influences from PINK FLOYD's "The Wall" album, but obviously without all the more "dark" elements from Roger Waters's story. "Kilroy" was more like a "Broadway Production" in comparison, in my opinion.

I never have been a fan of STYX's music, but I like some of their songs. They sang and played very well, being very "American Rock" for my taste, but they had some quality (particularly with this, their most successful line- up). The songs that I liked from this video are "Rockin' the Paradise ", "Blue Collar Man", "Snowblind" , and particularly, "Come Sail Away", which is the song that I like more from STYX. I have to say that there are very clear differences between the versions of this song which were included in the live album and in the video (with both recorded in the same dates, April 9,10, 1983, at the Saenger Theater, New Orleans), with both versions sounding like being the same recording of the song in most parts, but the main difference is in Tommy Shaw's lead guitar parts. Maybe Shaw's lead guitar parts were re-recorded later in the studio, or one lead guitar part from the other date was edited to the other part of the other recorded date in the live album version. The live album version has an extended final part. I prefer the live album version. Anyway, this song was played and sung very well.

I think that the "Caught in the Act" live album is better in content than the concert video of the same name. I think that the concert video is more for the fans of the "Kilroy Was Here" album.

 Pieces Of Eight by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.58 | 208 ratings

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Pieces Of Eight
Styx Prog Related

Review by sukmytoe

3 stars You can hear the 70's written all over this album. Uplifting, soaring rock music. It's essentially arena / glam rock with a slight progressive slant. To intensely dislike this essentially means that you have no 70's blood running through your veins at all. Punchy, keyboard infused and for the main part inspiring / uplifting. For me this was the last good Styx album before the band plunged into commercial pop music territory as so many bands did in the 80's in order to move with the recording executives who demanded puerile non complex bubble gum chewing nonsense for the masses. "Lords of the Ring" has a distinct "1812 Overture" inflection where although it cannot hope to hold a candle to that symphonic masterpiece it is pleasant to pick up on. "Blue Collar Man" is the standout rocker on the album. "Queen of Spades" displays outstanding guitar work and vocals. "Pieces of Eight" is the standout classic track of the album which although it doesn't match up with or come close to "Come Sail Away" from the previous album for grandiosity it is very pleasant to listen to. "Aku Aku" is not the way I would end this album - it's kind of an anti-climax - sort of like had they ended Black Sabbath's Volume 4 album with Laguna Sunrise it would have had the same effect.

A solid 3 stars from me for a pleasant mind trip back into the 70's.

 Pieces Of Eight by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.58 | 208 ratings

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Pieces Of Eight
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sometimes when I give a 2-star release it's often because the album is really a 3-star album, but with a few things holding it back from being something more than for folks who are already fans of the band. With Pieces of Eight, the opposite is true: this is a 1-star album that has enough crumbles of songwriting or instrumental interest to make it just barely good enough for fans. In general I dislike Styx: I don't care for the tone of DeYoung's voice or keyboards, think they're song writing talents are over rated, and find their instrumental skills just "good enough." This album exemplifies these feelings. Listening is like being kicked in the groin repeatedly while being water-boarded in a bucket of soda-pop syrup as cheesy Saturday morning cartoons play in the background incessantly.

If it weren't for the Tommy Shaw rockers "Blue Collar Man" and "Renegade", or the thoughtful gusto of "Queen of Spades" this album would never get a second listen from me. The bland keyboards and sing-songy choruses are too much. The good stuff is few and far between, but is good enough for me to keep this album around for the sake of completeness.

I won't trash Styx or Pieces of Eight anymore, because as much as I think Styx is mediocre I respect their legacy and the fact that there are plenty of fans of theirs on this site. If you like Styx then keep on liking them! But if you're wishy-washy about the band, you'll probably find Pieces of Eight too much to bear.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

 Paradise Theatre by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.93 | 172 ratings

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Paradise Theatre
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album by my perpetual prog/pop punching bag Styx shifts the band's emphasis even more into the "pop" spectrum, featuring fewer over arranged keyboard sections, less Dennis DeYoung vocals, and even fewer attempts at ambitious composition... it's very ironic then that I feel like this is one of the best albums by the band I've heard. Moving away from the middling prog stylings was a great decision for the band. They didn't have the creative gusto or sound needed for sweeping, artistic prog, so why bother? Paradise Theater is a loosely themed collection of great rock songs which while not prog, are probably the better because of it.

The opener is fun and energetic, and evokes a nostalgic tone with its old-time rock n' roll feel and chorus line over dubs. "Too Much Time on My Hands" is made for FM schlock but is devoid of cartoonish keyboards or DeYoung's whining croon, so it gets a pass in my book. "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned" is a different matter, it's a stylish, quirky, and strutting tune with a smoking horn section. Maybe the highlight of the album?

"Best of Times" is the low point, for prog and pop fans alike. It's basically an imitation of a Queen song with unapalogietically syrupy sweet vocals and emotional hooks that miss the mark. "Lonely People" shows of some interesting song writing, with a dramatic style and instrumental flair. One of the better tracks and probably one of the few that prog fans may be interested in.

"She Cares" is the required Tommy Shaw-led rocker, an upbeat, romantic, and bright song that makes the band end up sounding like Fleetwood Mac. Ironically, this is one of the more genuine and enjoyable songs in the whole album. It's radio-friendly hooks are appealing if harmless and unchallenging. "Snowblind" and "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" close the album on a dark tone, given their vocal content and the intense tone.

In the end there's a lot of variety, and not a lot of progressive ideas in Paradise Theater, and honestly, I think that's a good thing. Styx music generally doesn't work for me and after listening to this album several times I think I know why. Much of their music strives to be something the band just isn't, and by focusing on the rock and fun a stronger record appears. Strange for me to say, on a prog website, but it's the truth, making Paradise Theater a fun diversion now and again.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Equinox by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.47 | 177 ratings

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Equinox
Styx Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Equinox is a very pertinent musical adventure. From cover to track-list, it is an album that sticks out (unlike a sore thumb) in Styx's discography. 1975 was still a decent year for progressive rock, but at the same time similarly being around the peak of the industries career. The true identity and greatness of Styx weaves all the way back to around '73, but a culmination of debut era sound and a more mature skill-set came a wonderful product for the ages. Remember, this was before the 80's Styx, who's synthetic commercialization was extremely forthright and seemed almost prideful to show to world. Equinox was a symbol of a more honest era, where instruments like synthesizers were modest and used in the right places instead of being sprawled out willy-nilly. Perhaps my favorite tracks on the album come from the fantastic juxtaposition of black-face progressive rock and the heavy metal/hard rock that Styx started to develop as the 70's went on. A very understandable comparison has been made between this album and Kansas' music (circa. Masque), which is very understandable. But while Kansas is very upfront about their symphonics, Styx utilizes both that and proto-metal 70's hard rock (which was stated before). For those neigh-sayers who enjoy saying that Styx if very light with the prog then I urge you to listen to Equinox.

If you have already, well, do it again.

Thanks to Iván_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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