Richard Marx was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on 16 September, 1963. He began singing at a young age, on commercial jingles produced by his father. It was hardly surprising, coming from a musical family, that Richard turned to songwriting to make a career for himself, and in 1987, he released his first album, entitled simply: Richard Marx. On this album was the single, 'Hold On to the Nights', which gave him his first number one in the US.
His next album, Repeat Offender, was released in 1989, containing some of the best (and loudest!) songs from his early days, with album tracks such as 'Nothin' You Can Do About It', and 'Heart On the Line'. The album also contained the 'kitchen dancing' number beloved of fans of air guitar, 'Satisfied', which gave him another number one in the US. This track featured his wife, Cynthia Rhodes (who is also the lead singer of the band Animotion) on backing vocals. The album also had the piano ballad, 'Right Here Waiting', on it. This song also reached number one in the US, but it was held off the top spot in the UK by Black Box's 'Ride on Time', instead settling at number two.
The album Rush Street was released in late 1991 and contained collaborations with other artists such as Luther Vandross, who was featured on backing vocals on 'Playing With Fire' and 'Keep Coming Back', and Billy Joel, who played the piano on 'I Get No Sleep'. Rush Street also hosted the acoustic story-song 'Hazard', which got to number three in the UK. Written in the back of his tour bus in 1990 and apparently based on a true story, this track also holds lyrical similarities with Bruce Springsteen's song 'The River'.
Apart from his great musical talent, Richard is also a gifted poet. For example, take this lyric from 'Now and Forever':
Whenever I'm weary
From the battles that rage in my head
You make sense of madness
When my sanity hangs by a thread
I lose my way but still you seem to understand
Now and forever I will be your man.
Of course, apart from the 'sentimental stuff', he has also written some great lyrics to say other things. Take this one from the Rush Street album track, 'Hands In Your Pocket':
We put people into power but we fight our wars alone
They take such good care of the rest of the world but what about the folks at home?
Point the finger at the man you chose
He'll say he's sorry but it's just the way it goes.
Days in Avalon
Richard has worked with many other artists, writing for, and with NSYNC, SHeDAISY, Michael Bolton and Kenny Rogers. His most recent album, Days In Avalon, was released in September 2000 and contains what many would describe as some of his best work to date. Keen to try different styles, he has allowed his new music to be influenced by country and folk, with simple, yet satisfying songs like: 'Almost Everything', 'Shine' and 'Straight From the Heart'. These songs, though different from his earlier hits, still have that Richard Marx touch.
Days in Avalon also has some great toe-tappers, such as 'Power Of You And Me', 'Waiting On Your Love' and 'Too Early To Be Over'. For both these last two tracks, Richard returned to his former collaboratior, lyricist Fee Waybill.
Richard has worked with many good causes over the years. He wrote 'Children of the Night' after meeting and talking to some of the runaway children who sought sanctuary at the Children of the Night Foundation in Los Angeles, California. Some of the children sang on the record and the royalties from the song were donated to the foundation.
You can read more about Richard's life, music and work for good causes at his official website.