Lawrence Gowan is a Scottish-born Canadian musician, rock singer and current lead vocalist and keyboardist for Styx since May 1999. His musical style is usually classified in the category of progressive rock.
At the age of nineteen, he earned an ARCT in classical piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto, Ontario. Upon graduation, he enjoyed modest local success with the band Rhinegold in 1976. After the band broke up five years later, Gowan began what was to become a successful solo career under the stage name Gowan, releasing his first album under that name in 1982, which was produced by Rob Freeman and featured Kim Mitchell of Max Webster on guitar. This album contained the singles "Victory", "Give In" and "Keep Up the Fight".
His 1985 album Strange Animal was his commercial breakthrough in Canada, and featuring a more 'theatrical' Gowan, backed by Peter Gabriel's rhythm section players Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. The album spawned the hit singles "A Criminal Mind", "(You're a) Strange Animal", "Guerilla Soldier" and "Cosmetics". His 1987 follow up Great Dirty World gave him another hit single with "Moonlight Desires," featuring Jon Anderson on backing vocals as well as the fan favourite "Dedication".
In 1990, he released Lost Brotherhood which featured Red Rider member Ken Greer, ex Coney Hatch guitarist Steve Shelski and Rush's Alex Lifeson. It produced the singles "Lost Brotherhood", "All the Lovers in the World", and "Out of a Deeper Hunger". This was Gowan's first album for Anthem Records and his first US release. He released the more acoustic, adult contemporary ...but you can call me Larry in 1993 under his full name, returning to the Canadian pop charts with "When There's Time for Love", "Soul's Road" and "Dancing on My Own Ground". He subsequently released The Good Catches Up in 1995, which featured the single "Guns and God", which received moderate airplay in Canada. Also that same year, Gowan was part of an all-star lineup at Toronto's Massey Hall to celebrate Ronnie Hawkins' 60th birthday, as documented on the album Let It Rock, sharing the stage with veteran rockers Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and The Band.
In 1997, Gowan released two live CDs: Sololive - No Kilt Tonight containing a rendition of Ragtime's classic "King Chanticleer Rag", and Au Québec with a cover of Harmonium's "Pour un instant" as well as his first composition in French, "Stéphanie", for his fan base in Quebec. In 1997, Gowan released "Healing Waters" as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales after her death. "Healing Waters" was officially an unreleased song from Gowan, though it was used in its original form, in the 1995 Jeff Wincott movie, When the Bullet Hits the Bone. His song "A Criminal Mind" was covered in 2005 by Canadian hip-hop artist Maestro; Gowan appears in the video and his vocals are sampled on the track. The song was also sampled in a song performed by Akon and Freck Billionaire. He also guest-starred on the Canadian animated comedy series Chilly Beach.
In February 2006, Gowan did four orchestra-accompanied concerts in London, Ontario and Kitchener, Ontario. Also in 2006, his home was featured on MTV's Cribs. In March 2010, Gowan released "Return of the Strange Animal", a remastered version of 1985's "Strange Animal" plus a making-of documentary and music videos on DVD. In May 2010, Gowan performed two solo shows in support of the 25th anniversary of the "Strange Animal" album.