• Gowan - Strange Animal [Columbia Records BFC 40104] (1985)


Matt Collar [allmusic.com]

Canada's Larry Gowan, aka Gowan, is a powerful rock vocalist known for his solo albums and for replacing Dennis DeYoung as the lead singer of Styx in 1999. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1956, Gowan grew up in Ontario, Canada where he eventually studied classical piano at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. After graduating, Gowan formed the prog rock outfit Rheingold, touring and recording with the group until they disbanded in the late '70s. In 1982, he released his debut self-titled solo album, which led to his first Juno Award nomination for "Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year."

However, it was his sophomore album, 1985's Strange Animal, that found Gowan breaking through commercially. Produced by David Tickle and featuring members of Peter Gabriel's touring ensemble including future Yes-bassist Tony Levin, Strange Animal peaked at number five on the Canadian charts and generated several hits with "(You're A) Strange Animal," "A Criminal Mind," "Cosmetics," and "Guerilla Soldier."

Gowan's third studio album, 1987's Great Dirty World, also performed well, reaching number two in Canada and spawning several more singles including "Moonlight Desires" featuring Yes' Jon Anderson on background vocals. The album also garnered him several more Juno Award nominations, including "Album of the Year." The '90s were an equally fruitful period for the singer, who stayed busy releasing such albums as 1990's Lost Brotherhood, 1993's ...But You Can Call Me Larry, and 1996's The Good Catches Up.

In 1997, Gowan opened for Styx at several concerts in Montreal and Quebec. By 1999, founding lead vocalist Dennis DeYoung had parted ways with the band and guitarist Tommy Shaw invited Gowan to come aboard as a replacement. Since that time, Gowan has remained with Styx, touring with the band and appearing on such albums as 2003's Cyclorama, 2005's Big Bang Theory, and 2015's Live at the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas. When not performing with Styx, Gowan remains an active solo artist, touring regularly and working on new studio material.