Richard Marx

Richard Noel Marx (born September 16, 1963 in Winnetka, Illinois) is an adult contemporary and pop/rock singer, songwriter and record producer. He had a string of highly successful hit singles in the late 1980s and 1990s, including "Endless Summer Nights", "Right Here Waiting" and "Hazard". Although most of his major hit songs were slow ballads like these, many of his songs had a classic rock style, such as "Don't Mean Nothing," "Should've Known Better," "Satisfied," and "Too Late To Say Goodbye". Marx placed himself in the record books by being the first solo artist to have his first seven singles hit the Top 5 on the US charts. [1]

Early career

Enlarge picture
Richard Marx on the cover of his album Paid Vacation
Marx began his career in music at the age of 5, singing commercial jingles written by his father, Dick. Marx's list of "commercial" hits includes Arm & Hammer and Nestlé Crunch.

Marx was 17 and living in Highland Park, Illinois when a tape of his songs ended up in the hands of Lionel Richie. Richie said he thought Marx had the talent to make it big, saying "I can't promise you anything, but you should come to L.A." [2] So after graduating from high school, Marx moved to Los Angeles and visited Richie. "He was recording his first solo album and having trouble with the background vocal," Richard recalls. "He tells me, ‘Come try this part.’ It worked and I ended up singing on his album." Richard contributed backing vocals to Richie’s hits "You Are," "Running With The Night," and the chart-topping "All Night Long," on Lionel's follow-up album.

In those early years, Richard would find any excuse possible to labour in the recording industry. His enthusiasm and his presence in the studio landed him several jobs as a background singer for artists like Madonna and Whitney Houston, and, eventually, as a songwriter. He was singing for Kenny Rogers in 1984 when he overheard Rogers say he needed a new song. Within days, Richard gave him a demo of "Crazy." Rogers recorded it, along with another of Richard’s songs, "What About Me," which also featured James Ingram and Kim Carnes. The trio recording hit #1 Adult Contemporary and #15 on the Hot 100 (while just scraping onto the Country chart) in late 1984 while "Crazy" hit #1 Country and #5 AC the following year. Soon after, Richard began working with producer David Foster and writing songs for the group Chicago and R&B singer Freddie Jackson.

While working as a songwriter and doing background vocals, Marx continued to pursue a record deal of his own. His demo tape was rejected by every label in Hollywood until, finally, four years after moving to Los Angeles, the president of EMI/Manhattan Records, Bruce Lundvall, heard Marx's demo and knew he had a star on his hands. He gave Marx a record deal and the opportunity to write and record whatever he wanted. Marx contacted his good friend Fee Waybill of The Tubes, and some very talented musicians, including Joe Walsh, and Randy Meisner of the Eagles, and created a ten-track album that put Richard on the path to success.

Music career

Debut album

Marx's self-titled debut album, released in June 1987, yielded four hit singles and sold nearly 4 million copies in the US. The debut single, "Don’t Mean Nothing", had been released the previous month and climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as #1 on Billboard's Album Rock charts. Richard became the first new artist played on 117 radio stations nationwide during his initial week on the charts. The next two singles, "Should’ve Known Better" and "Endless Summer Nights" reached #3 and #2, respectively. The fourth single release, "Hold on to the Nights", earned Marx his first #1 single.

With the success of his self-titled album, Marx became the first male artist to reach the Top 3 with four singles from a debut album. He embarked on his first world tour, initially opening for REO Speedwagon, but quickly began headlining his own shows. Marx's first tour kept him on the road for 14 months while the album remained on the charts for more than a year and a half.

In 1988, Marx was nominated for a Grammy Award for 'Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male' for "Don’t Mean Nothing" [3]

Marx later revealed in an interview on VH-1 Classic that his favorite song that he performed from his first, self-titled album was "Have Mercy".

Repeat Offender

Repeat Offender, Richard’s second release (May 1989) hit the pole position and pushed Prince out of the #1 spot on Billboard's Album chart. It went triple platinum within a few months and eventually sold over 5 million US copies. Repeat Offender was the result of the energy generated from over a year and a half on the road and was written or co-written entirely by Richard. "Some people might think that it would be easier this time around, that I could just kick back," Richard said at the time, "but the truth is, it’s harder, I’ve got more to prove."

The first two singles, "Satisfied" and the platinum-selling "Right Here Waiting," both reached #1, completing a string of three consecutive No. 1 singles. When the third single from Repeat Offender, "Angelia" climbed to #4, Richard became the first solo artist to reach the Top 5 with his first seven singles.

Another song from the album, "Children of the Night," was written in support of the Los Angeles-based organization for runaways. It became the fifth single from Repeat Offender, and all royalties were donated to the charity.

Marx's second world tour began in the spring of 1989 and took him to Australia, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States, lasting through August 1990. Highlights of that tour included a performance in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London and an invitation from Tina Turner to tour Germany.

Marx also had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform the Beatles’ "Help" at the Berlin Wall in late 1989. Richard also received his second Grammy nomination in 1990 for "Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male" for “Right Here Waiting”. [4]

Other albums

Richard Marx's Greatest Hits album
Marx went on to release a number of other albums. In 1991 he released his third consecutive multi-platinum album Rush Street. This album saw artists such as Luther Vandross and Billy Joel appear as backing vocalists and guest pianists. The disc's first single, "Keep Coming Back" went Top 10 pop as well as #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary charts for 4 weeks running. "Hazard", which depicted a man being wrongfully accused of murder in a fictional version of Hazard, Nebraska, went #1 in charts around the world. Two more Top 10 singles were culled from Rush Street with "Take This Heart" and "Chains Around My Heart". In August of 2001 Marx admitted that the track "Superstar," from the Rush Street album was about pop star Madonna.[5]

In early 1994, as Richard and his family permanently left Los Angeles behind and returned to Chicago, Marx released Paid Vacation, and scored his fourth consecutive platinum album. The acoustic ballad Now and Forever spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 and also held the #1 position on Billboard's Adult Contemporary charts for 11 weeks - at the time just one week short of the all-time record. The follow-up single, "The Way She Loves Me", reached #3.

1997 saw the release of, Flesh And Bone, Richard's final studio album with Capitol. Marx's sales cooled with this album in the States but was a major success in other parts of the world. The album's biggest hit was "Until I Find You Again", a ballad that hit #1 in several countries and #3 in the US.

Marx's first Greatest Hits compilation was released in November 1997. The 16-track album includes all of the hit singles from his first five albums plus "Angel’s Lullaby," a song written about his children that originally appeared on For Our Children, Too, a compilation CD released in 1996 to benefit the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Greatest Hits was released in Asia in November 1998 and included two new songs, "Slipping Away" and "Thanks To You," a touching tribute to his mother. Marx’s dedication and support of numerous charities has continued throughout his career.

In 2000, Marx created his own record company "Signal 21 Records" with former Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer and producer Bobby Colomby. This label was the launching pad for Marx's sixth studio release titled "Days In Avalon." Due to distribution problems, it failed to chart in the U.S. The title song, however, was picked up by Adult Contemporary radio stations as an album track and spent 12 weeks in the Top 30. The label folded not long after.

In 2004, Marx signed a deal with EMI/Manhattan and returned to the Billboard charts with his album My Own Best Enemy which featured the hits "When You're Gone" and "Ready To Fly".

In 2007 Marx released a new ballad titled "Your Goodbye" and a remixed version of his classic love song "Hold On To The Nights" on a Phil Ramone compilation production called "New Music From An Old Friend." This compilation was released on the Target label called Spotlight.

Work with other artists

Recent News

Personal

  • Richard is the only child of Ruth, a former singer, and Dick Marx, a jazz musician and founder of a successful jingle company in the early 1960s.
  • On January 8th 1989, Marx married singer/dancer/actress Cynthia Rhodes.<ref name="bio" />
  • Rhodes starred in 1982's Staying Alive, 1983's Flashdance, and most notably in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing. Rhodes is also former lead singer for 1980's pop band Animotion.
  • The couple have three sons: Brandon (born 1990), Lucas (born 1992), and Jesse (born 1994). The Marx family reside in Lake Bluff, Illinois, United States.

Musical influences / favorite artists

In addition to his parents, Marx names recording artists like Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley as his biggest musical influences and includes Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Luther Vandross, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gladys Knight in his list of favorites.<ref name="bio" />

Discography

Albums

Singles

Year Song US Hot 100 US M.S.R. US A.C. US Adult Top 40 UK Singles Germany Album
1987"Don't Mean Nothing"31--78-Richard Marx
1987"Should've Known Better"3720-50-Richard Marx
1987"Have Mercy"-17----Richard Marx
1988"Endless Summer Nights"2-2-50-Richard Marx
1988"Hold On To The Nights"1-3-60-Richard Marx
1989"Satisfied"15--5242Repeat Offender
1989"Right Here Waiting"1-1-212Repeat Offender
1989"Angelia"4-2-4523Repeat Offender
1989"Nothin' You Can Do About It"-12----Repeat Offender
1990"Too Late To Say Goodbye"121747-3853Repeat Offender
1990"Children Of The Night"13-6-5458Repeat Offender
1991"Keep Coming Back"12-1-5552Rush Street
1992"Hazard"9-1-342Rush Street
1992"Take This Heart"20-4-13-Rush Street
1992"Chains Around My Heart"44-9-29-Rush Street
1994"Now And Forever"7-1-1354Paid Vacation
1994"Silent Scream"----3279Paid Vacation
1994"The Way She Loves Me"20-3-38-Paid Vacation
1994"Nothing Left Behind Us"--11---Paid Vacation
1997"Until I Find You Again"42-3-144-Flesh and Bone
1997"Touch Of Heaven"------Flesh and Bone
1997"At The Beginning" (with Donna Lewis)45-2--77Anastasia soundtrack
2000"Days In Avalon"--25---Days In Avalon
2004"When You're Gone"---20--My Own Best Enemy
2004"Ready To Fly"--2229-48My Own Best Enemy

References

1. ^ Yamaha Announces Incredible Lineup for 2007 Dealer Concert. Yamaha. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
2. ^ Biography and Career Highlights: The Early Years. richardmarxonline.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-14.
3. ^ Biography and Career Highlights. richardmarxonline.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-15.
4. ^ 32nd Grammy Awards - 1990 presented February 22, 1990. Rock On The Net. Retrieved on 2007-04-15.
5. ^ [1]
6. ^ Kenny Rogers: There you go again (biography). thatscountry.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-19.
7. ^ keithurban.net: music section. keithurban.net. Retrieved on 2007-05-17.
8. ^ Travis Tritt: You Never Take Me Dancing. richardmarx.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-12.
9. ^ Ex Accuses Sara Evans of Being Really Restless. E! Online. Retrieved on 2007-09-11.

External links

Official
Fan sites
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B-side(s) Hold On To The Nights (Live at The Palace Theatre)
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"Right Here Waiting" is a ballad recorded by Richard Marx on his second album, Repeat Offender.
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