American Rock Star (1948-1996)

Drummer for the rock band Styx. John Anthony Panozzo, twin brother of Chuck Panozzo, was born 20 September, 1948. The Panozzo brothers grew up in Chicago’s Pullman district, on the infamous South Side. At the age of five, they started music lessons from a relative. John quickly showed an aptitude for drums and percussion of all sorts.

The brothers began playing in a three-piece band before they were even into their teen years, and eventually recruited neighbour Dennis DeYoung to play the keyboards and sing. The band was soon playing local engagements.

Originally named Tradewinds, the band was renamed TW4 with the addition of James Young and John Curulewski. They enjoyed some success locally in Chicago and eventually got a recording contract from Wooden Nickel records. Soon thereafter, they changed the band’s name to Styx.

Panozzo was a very good percussionist and a very well-liked friend to his bandmates. His hobby was producing home movies about Styx. As Styx went from being an obscure Chicago bar band to being one of the biggest arena rock draws in the world, John discovered the lure of the rock star lifestyle, apparently his drinking got way out of control.

After enjoying huges successes, Styx went on hiatus in the mid-1980s. In 1990, the Panozzos, DeYoung and Young re-started Styx.

John Panozzo began fighting cirrhosis of the liver, likely related to his drinking. He died on July 16, 1996 of gastrointestinal hemmorhaging. Bandmate Tommy Shaw’s song “Dear John” is a tribute to him.

The Grand Illusion, Styx site -
Styx history online -
Styxworld site

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