Shortly after the album Equinox was released in 1975 John left the band.
When asked what “Suite Madame Blue” was about DeYoung says: “It was the Bi-Centennial and as it was coming up you started seeing commercials for the Bi-Centennial mug and the Bi-Centennial panties and all of that. The 200th anniversary of America was being totally taken over by commercialization in a rather unceremonious fashion. I had a moment of reflection. I had grown up in the so called glory days of the United States of America, which was post World War II until 1970. To live in this country at that time was really the golden age. The fallibility of the United States was something that struck me and that set the tone for “Suite Madam Blue.” Maybe I was fearful of being literal – I think I probably was.
Take Bruce Springsteen for example, in his early work he is very literal in his storytelling and there is not a great deal of mysticism. I was still being influenced, lyrically, by art rock bands. I really love Yes as a band in their early years but to this day I still don’t understand any of their songs. I have no idea what any of those songs are lyrically about. That is mysticism to the extreme. “Suite Madame Blue” is somewhere in-between.”
When Equinox was recorded in 1975 Styx consisted of keyboard player Dennis DeYoung guitarists/song writers John Curulewski and James Young with brothers John Panozzo (drums) and Chuck Panozzo (bass) filling out the rhythm section.