1963 – Richard Marx is born in Chicago. The biggest of the songwriter

1963 – Richard Marx is born in Chicago. The biggest of the songwriter’s run of 14 top 40 singles was the No. 1 “Right Here Waiting.”

Richard Noel Marx (born September 16, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois) is an adult contemporary and pop/rock singer, songwriter, musician, 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”, “Now and Forever”, 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.

Early life

Marx 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.

Early career

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.”  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,” Marx recalls. “He tells me, ‘Come try this part.’ It worked and I ended up singing on his album.” Marx 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, Marx 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, Marx gave him a demo of “Crazy.” Rogers recorded it, along with another of Marx’s songs, “What About Me?”, which also featured James Ingram and Kim Carnes. The trio recording hit #1 Adult Contemporary and #15 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (while just scraping onto the Country and R&B charts) in late 1984 while “Crazy” hit #1 Country and #5 AC the following year. Soon after, Marx 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 Marx 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. Marx 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”

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, Marx’s second release (May 1989) hit 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 Marx. “Some people might think that it would be easier this time around, that I could just kick back,” Marx 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, Marx 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, Singapore, 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. Marx also received his second Grammy nomination in 1990 for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male” for “Right Here Waiting”.

Other albums

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 to #12 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” (AC #4, Hot 100 #20) and “Chains Around My Heart” (AC #9, Hot 100 #44). In August of 2001 Marx admitted that the track “Superstar,” from the Rush Street album was about pop star Madonna.

In early 1994, as Marx 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” peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 and spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 (also #12 in the UK) 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”, climbed to #3 on the US AC chart and #20 on the Pop charts.

1997 saw the release of Flesh And Bone – Marx’s final studio album on the Capitol imprint. Marx’s sales cooled with this album (which sold approximately 350,000 copies) 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 1999 Marx built “Renegade Studios,” a state of the art recording facility located in Marx’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

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.” 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.

Richard’s latest release – in 2008 – is an album of duets with Matt Scannell of the rock group Vertical Horizon. Entitled Duo, the CD is available from Richard’s websites and at his live performances. It includes retooled versions of several classic RM hits.

Work with other artists

As the years passed, Marx served as a writer/producer for an extensive list of other recording artists, including Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, 98 Degrees, Kenny Loggins, Roch Voisine, Emerson Drive, Luther Vandross, Michael Bolton, *NSYNC, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah Brightman, SheDaisy, John Farnham, and Vince Gill.

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 John Farnham, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Luther Vandross, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gladys Knight in his list of favorites.

Recent news

* During the Summer of 2006, Marx toured with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. Other members of that year’s All Starr Band included Edgar Winter, Sheila E, and Billy Squier.

* Marx appeared on the Fox network’s TV show “Celebrity Duets”. Other singers to take part in the series included Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Loggins, Patti LaBelle, Randy Travis, Jesse McCartney, and Gladys Knight.

* Country singer Travis Tritt recently covered Richard’s “You Never Take Me Dancing” for his latest album titled The Storm, released in late 2007. “You Never Take Me Dancing” originally appeared on Marx’s 1997 release, Flesh And Bone.

* Country singer Sara Evans’ estranged husband, Craig Schelske, filed divorce documents in Williamson County, Tennessee that accuse the star of having close to a dozen affairs. The list includes singer Marx, as well as country star Kenny Chesney, Dancing with the Stars partner Tony Dovolani, and the members of the rock band Three Doors Down. Marx’s former manager, Chesney’s publicist, and the record label for Three Doors Down refused to comment on this issue.

* On June 12, 2008 Marx was part of a special “In the Round” PBS taping with Kenny Loggins and 3 Doors Down on songwriters. The show will air on PBS in Decmeber of 2008.

Personal

On January 8, 1989, Marx married singer/dancer/actress Cynthia Rhodes.. Rhodes acted 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). They reside in Lake Bluff, Illinois

Discography

Main article: Richard Marx discography
Main article: Richard Marx Songwriting & Production List

This list may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards.
Please help improve this list. It may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. (January 2008)

Collaborations

* “Moonlight Lady” (featuring Richard Marx) (1984)- Julio Iglesias 1100 Bel Air Place

* In 1986 Marx sang background vocals for Madonna on her multi-platinum album, True Blue.

Writer

* “Edge of a Broken Heart” (1988) – Vixen (co-written by Fee Waybill)
* “Surrender To Me” (1988) – Tequila Sunrise soundtrack (co-written with Ross Vannelli)

* In 1997 Marx sang with Donna Lewis, best known for her hit “I Love You Always Forever”, on the track At the Beginning for the Gold-certified Anastasia soundtrack. The track reached #2 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart where it held for six weeks straight.

* In 1997, Marx sang “Every Day Of Your Life” with Japanese singer-songwriter Aska.

* In 2000, Marx co-wrote and produced songs such as “Angel On My Shoulder” for Natalie Cole and “To Where You Are” for singer Josh Groban.

* In 2000 Marx wrote the song “Brand New Year (My Revolution)” with Kristyn Osborn of SHeDAISY for their Christmas album titled Brand New Year. Marx again co-wrote with Kristyn Osborn on the songs “Still Holding Out For You” from SHeDAISY’s debut album The Whole SHeBANG and “All Over You” from their album Knock on the Sky.

* In 2000, Marx wrote the songs “Crazy Me” and “I Do It For Your Love”, with country songwriter Gary Harrison for Kenny Rogers’ album titled “There You Go Again.”

* Marx’s work with other artists in 2001 and 2002 includes writing and producing songs for new pop and country artists such as Emerson Drive, Chris Botti, and Marie Sisters.
* “Perfect Day” (2002) – Chris Botti December (co-written with Cynthia Rhodes)
* It’s About Time (2003) – Kenny Loggins

Producer

* In 2002 Marx produced the songs “How Lucky I Am” and “Fall Into Me” for country group Emerson Drive on their self titled album.
* “Perfect Day” (2002) – Chris Botti December
* Only A Woman Like You (2002) – Michael Bolton

* At the 46th Grammy Awards on February 8, 2004, Marx won a Grammy for Song of the Year for “Dance with My Father,” which he wrote with Luther Vandross. On that same night, he played the piano accompanying Celine Dion in performing “Dance With My Father,” since Vandross was not present at the ceremony for health reasons.

* In 2004, Marx produced the album What If? with former DreamWorks Records executive Scott Borchetta for Canadian country group Emerson Drive. Songs written by Marx on this disc are “Last One Standing” co-written with Fee Waybill, “If You Were My Girl” co-written with engineer and producer David Cole, former band member Pat Allingham, and Emerson Drive, “Running Back To You,” and the track “Simple Miracles” co-written with country songwriter Gary Harrison.

* In 2005 Marx wrote a song called “Remember When” performed by LeAnn Rimes for the Disneyland 50th Anniversary album.

* During August and September 2006, Marx toured Australia for the first time in many years.

* In 2006, Spanish singer Julio Iglesias recorded Marx’s hit “Right Here Waiting” for his latest album Romantic Classics which was released more than 20 years after Marx sang with Julio on the hit “Moonlight Lady.”

* In 2006 Marx and Keith Urban wrote a song called “Everybody” for Urban’s album Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing.
* In 2007 Marx co-wrote a song, “Take You Back”, with Graham Colton, for his latest album, Here Right Now
* In 2008, the band Hawk Nelson released an album Hawk Nelson Is My Friend with a song co-wrote by Marx “One Little Miracle”

* Marx’s songs have often been covered by other artists. Clay Aiken’s 2006 album, A Thousand Different Ways, features a cover of “Right Here Waiting.”

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