Single by Styx
from the album Pieces of Eight
B-side"Sing for the Day"
ReleasedMarch 1979 (US) [1]
Songwriter(s)Tommy Shaw
Styx singles chronology
"Sing for the Day"
Red vinyl pressing
Renegade - Styx.jpg
Limited edition release

"Renegade" is a 1979 hit song recorded by the American rock band Styx on their Pieces of Eight album. Although songwriter Tommy Shaw and fellow Styx guitarist James Young usually played lead guitar on their own compositions, Shaw asked Young if he could take the solo on "Renegade". Young agreed, and Young later returned the favor by allowing Shaw to play lead on his "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" on the Paradise Theatre album. When performed live from 1978 to 1983, drummer John Panozzo increased the tempo of the drum pattern during the guitar solo sections. Also, the track would serve as the drum solo spot for Panozzo during that time frame.


The song is a first-person narrative of an outlaw, captured for a bounty, who recognizes that he is about to be executed for his criminal activities. The execution will be by hanging, as the outlaw laments, "Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don't have very long." Some pressings of the single were made with translucent, red vinyl. Years after its release it remains a staple on classic rock radio playlists, and is usually the final song Styx plays at its concerts.


Cash Box said it "opens with delicate a cappella singing which suddenly breaks into powerful drum beat and rhythm guitar work."[2] Record World called it a "story ballad with high harmony vocals and a strong rock track" and said that it had to be released as a single due to heavy AOR play.[3]

Classic Rock critic Malcolm Dome rated "Renegade" as Styx 2nd best song, particularly praising Young's guitar solo.[4]


Chart history

"Renegade" reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1979.

In popular culture

The song is often used in media:


  1. ^ "Styx singles".
  2. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. March 17, 1979. p. 15. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  3. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. March 10, 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  4. ^ Dome, Malcolm (February 18, 2022). "The 10 best Styx songs". Classic Rock. Louder Music. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1979-06-23. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ "1979 Top 200 Singles". RPM. Vol. 32, no. 13. Library and Archives Canada. December 22, 1979. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  9. ^ IMDB, "Freaks and Geeks" Pilot, (TV Episode 1999) - Soundtracks.
  10. ^ IMDB, "Supernatural" Nightshifter (TV Episode 2007) - Soundtracks
  11. ^ [Taltos. “Billy Madison (1995) Soundtrack - Complete List of Songs: WhatSong.” What, www.what-song.com/Movies/Soundtrack/50/Billy-Madison.]
  12. ^ Stepnick, John. "The Pittsburgh Steelers' "Renegade": a Brief History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2022-05-01.