When Richard Marx first arrived on the British chart in 1988, he was 24 years old and was seemingly a new kid on the block, but in truth, Richard had been involved in music in one form or another for almost 20 years.
Richard’s father wrote jingles and his mother sang them, so by the age of five, Richard, who had been accompanying his parents to the recording studio, was now singing them himself. As a teenager he began writing songs and when he was 18, in 1981, he sent a demo tape to Lionel Richie who acknowledged his talent and suggested he came to Los Angeles where he was invited to sing backing vocals on Lionel’s 1983 album, Can’t Slow Down.
The following year he co-wrote ‘What About Me’ with Kenny Rogers which Kenny sang with Kim Carnes and James Ingram. Later that year he met Cynthia Rhodes, the lead actress in Stayin’ Alive and also the girl seen dancing in Toto’s video for Rosanna, they dated and married in 1989.
In 1987 he released his debut album, Richard Marx, and the first two singles, ‘Should’ve Known Better’, with backing vocals by Fee Waybill of The Tubes and the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit and ‘Endless Summer Nights’ both made the top three in the US and both peaked at number 50 in the UK.
Due to Cynthia’s filming commitments and Richard’s touring schedule, the couple were apart for about three months. Despite a few attempts to meet up, it didn’t happen. He went to a friend, Bruce Gaitsch’s house and decided the only way he could carry on without his love by his side, was to write a song about her. Richard recalled how it happened, “I wrote the song for Cynthia who was in South Africa shooting for a film. We were not married at the time but I wanted to meet her because I had not seen her for a few months. But my visa application was rejected and when I came back I wrote this song which was more of a letter from me to her. It was the fastest song I wrote, in barely 20 minutes. This was the time when there was no Skype and Social networking so I had to ship the track to her. The song was very personal and was not intended to go public. But my friends pursued me to record it.” The song was eventually included on the parent album Repeat Offender.
In the Nineties, Richard had further UK Top 20 hits with Hazard, Take This Heart and Now and Forever. He also wrote hit singles for Barbra Streisand & Vince Gill (If You Ever Leave Me) and Nsync (This I Promise You). In 2004 Richard won his first Grammy for Song of the Year with Dance with My Father as sung by Luther Vandross. He recalled, “I’m very proud to have co-written that song. I helped Luther write it musically, but lyrically it was all him. It was a tribute to his father.” Richard accepted the award on the night but he said, “I couldn’t really celebrate because Luther was not there. He was recovering from a debilitating stroke and it was sad. It felt wrong.” Luther never recovered and passed away on 1st July 2005.
In the summer of 2006, Richard was asked to join Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band for a North American tour of 22 cities. He played guitar in the band supporting Ringo and performed his own hits at each show. In 2008, he began touring with former Vertical Horizon lead singer, Matt Scannell, as an acoustic duo and released a CD called Duo. The following year Richard’s latest CD Emotional Remains was released which features contribution from Jennifer Hanson and Kenny Loggins.