Richard Marx

This article is about the singer. For the film editor, see Richard Marks. For the jazz pianist, see Dick Marx.
Richard Marx

Marx in Germany (2005)
Background information
Birth name Richard Noel Marx[1]
Born (1963-09-16) September 16, 1963[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
Origin Highland Park, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Pop rock, alternative rock, soft rock[2]
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, organ, piano, bass guitar
Years active 1980–present
Labels Capitol, EMI, Manhattan, Signal 21, Zanzibar, Frontiers, Kobalt Label Services
Associated acts Dick Marx, Fee Waybill, Matt Scannell, Luther Vandross, Keith Urban, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
Website Official website

Richard Noel Marx (born September 16, 1963) is an American adult contemporary and pop/rock singer, songwriter, musician and record producer who has sold over 30 million records. He had a stream of hit singles in the late 1980s and 1990s, including "Endless Summer Nights," "Right Here Waiting," "Now and Forever," "Hazard" and "At The Beginning" with Donna Lewis. Although some of his major hit songs were ballads, many of his songs have 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 Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 4). His record sales worldwide exceed 30 million.[3] Aside from songs that he has written, composed, and recorded for himself, he has written and/or composed, collaborated on the writing and/or the compositions of, and produced such successful selections for other artists as "This I Promise You" by NSYNC and "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross. The latter song won several Grammy Awards.[4] His 14th and latest chart topper, "Long Hot Summer," performed by Keith Urban, gave Marx the distinction of having a song he wrote or co-wrote top the charts in four different decades.[5]

Early life

Marx was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Ruth (née Guildoo), a former singer, and Dick Marx, a jazz musician and founder of a successful jingle company in the early 1960s.[6] He has three half-siblings from his father's previous marriage.[7]

Early career

Marx began his career in music at the age of 5, singing commercial jingles written by his father's company; its list of advertising hits includes Arm & Hammer, Ken-L Ration[8] 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 thought Marx had the talent and told the teen, "I can't promise you anything, but you should come to L.A." [9] After graduating from North Shore Country Day School, Marx moved to Los Angeles and visited Richie. "He was recording his first solo album (Lionel Richie) 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 hit "You Are", as well as "Running with the Night" and "All Night Long (All Night)," both on Richie's follow-up album Can't Slow Down.

In those early years, Marx would find any excuse possible to work within the recording industry. His enthusiasm and presence in the studio landed him several jobs as a background singer for artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, and Luther Vandross, and, eventually, as a songwriter. Marx also had a minor acting role in the television movie Coach Of The Year, which starred Robert Conrad. He was singing for Kenny Rogers in 1984 when he overheard Rogers say he needed a new song. Within days, Marx gave him the demo of "Crazy." Rogers recorded it, along with another of Marx’s songs, "What About Me?" This also featured James Ingram and Kim Carnes. The trio recording hit #1 Adult Contemporary and #15 on the Billboard 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 his own record deal. 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 recording contract with the opportunity to write and record whatever he wanted. Marx contacted his good friend Fee Waybill, frontman of The Tubes, and some very talented musicians, including Joe Walsh, and Randy Meisner of the Eagles, and created a ten-track album that led to a very successful career.

Music career

Debut album

Main article: Richard Marx (album)

Marx's self-titled debut album, released in June 1987, yielded four hit singles and sold nearly four million copies in the US. The debut single, "Don't Mean Nothing," about the potential pitfalls of the music business, had been released the previous month, and it 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 Pop 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. His 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 - Solo' for "Don’t Mean Nothing."[10]

Repeat Offender

Repeat Offender, Marx’s second album, was released in May 1989. It 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 copies in the United States alone. 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. Since then, "Right Here Waiting" has been covered numerous times, most notably by Monica and 112 in a 1998 duet. Another single from the album, "Children of the Night," was written and composed in support of the suburban Los Angeles (Van Nuys)-based organization for runaways. It became the sixth 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, Malaysia, 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 had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform the Beatles’s "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."[11]

Rush Street

Main article: Rush Street (album)

Marx went on to release a number of other albums. In 1991 he released his third consecutive 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 2001, Marx admitted that the track "Superstar," from Rush Street, was about pop star Madonna.

In early 1994, as he 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.

Flesh and Bone

The year 1997 saw the release of Flesh and Bone, Marx's final studio album on the Capitol imprint. This album sold 250,000 copies in the United States. "Until I Find You Again" hit #1 in several countries and #3 AC in the U.S.

Greatest Hits

Marx's Greatest Hits compilation was released in November 1997. The 16-track album includes a variety of hit singles from his first five albums plus "Angel’s Lullaby," a song written about his children originally appearing 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 tribute to his mother. Marx’s dedication and support of numerous charities has continued throughout his career.

Days in Avalon

In 2000, Marx debuted his sixth studio album, titled Days in Avalon. This disc was released on the Signal 21 Records label founded by Marx and former Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer and record producer Bobby Colomby. Its title track, "Days in Avalon," was picked up by Adult Contemporary radio and spent 12 weeks in the chart's Top 30. The album was also quite successful in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Australia. The label became the vehicle for the release of this disc, and folded shortly thereafter.

My Own Best Enemy

After signing a new deal with his former label, Manhattan Records, Marx released the 2004 album My Own Best Enemy. It featured the two hit singles "When You're Gone" and "Ready to Fly."


In 2008, Marx released Duo, on which he collaborated with Vertical Horizon's lead singer, Matt Scannell. This album features select acoustic versions of Marx's and Vertical Horizon's hits, plus one they jointly wrote, jointly composed, and recorded together, "Always on Your Mind." This disc was not released under any label, but instead was made available through Marx's website, and at concerts featuring Marx and Scannell together.

Emotional Remains and Sundown

On October 31, 2008, "Emotional Remains" and "Sundown" were released, as digital downloads, on Marx's official site. Marx wrote and composed the track "Through My Veins" in tribute to his late father, jazz musician and jingle writer Dick Marx, who had died in 1997. The selection appeared on the Emotional Remains disc.

Stories to Tell

In March 2010, Stories To Tell was released during Marx's solo acoustic concerts. It was the first fully acoustic album he ever recorded and/or released, and it featured several songs from several of his previous albums. In November 2010, Stories to Tell album was released in Europe in support of Marx's European tour. The European release featured all the songs from the March release and new studio recordings of songs that Marx had written and or composed with, or for, such other artists as Josh Groban and Keith Urban.

On May 3, 2011, the reissue of Stories to Tell was released in the United States as a three-disc set exclusively through Walmart. The set included a "best of" disc, an acoustic disc of tracks, and a DVD of a live concert performance at the Shepherd's Bush venue in England. The album was also made available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon, but without the bonus DVD and album booklet. "Everybody" was released as a single in Europe and "When You Loved Me" was released in the US, peaking in the Top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[12]

The Christmas EP

On November 1, 2011, Marx released The Christmas EP, a five-song collection of Christmas songs. "Christmas Spirit," written and composed jointly by Marx and Fee Waybill, was the first single released for radio airplay.

Christmas Spirit

In October 2012, Marx followed up The Christmas EP with a full album of holiday tracks that he called Christmas Spirit. Four songs were released. The first was "Santa Claus Is Coming Back To Town," a duet with Sara Niemietz, and the second was "Christmas Mornings." These were released as promotional singles on YouTube. "Little Drummer Boy" and "O Holy Night" were released to radio, peaking at #7 and #19, respectively. Marx's interpretation of "The Little Drummer Boy" gave him his first Top Ten single in 14 years.

Beautiful Goodbye

On July 8, 2014, Marx released his eleventh studio album, Beautiful Goodbye, through Kobalt Label Services. The album included three songs ("Suddenly," "Have A Little Faith," and "To My Senses") that had all previously appeared on Sundown in 2008. "Whatever We Started" was released as a single on May 22, 2014. The title track was released as a single on September 13, 2014. A bonus track, "Just Go," had previously been released as a single on February 14, 2013.

Recent activity and future recordings

On June 12, 2008 Marx was part of a PBS television series called "Songwriters In The Round Presents: Legends & Lyrics." In Episode 102 of the first season, Marx appeared along with Kenny Loggins, Nathan Lee, and rock band Three Doors Down. The musical performance was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc through the Legends and Lyrics website. This episode also featured an interview with singer/songwriter Diane Warren.[13][14][15]

On December 6, 2008, Marx headlined a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis research, "Newsapalooza," sponsored by WLS-AM's Roe Conn program, in which Marx both performed several of his hits with his band and accompanied Chicago broadcast news reporters and anchors covering rock hits.[16]

In an interview published in Rolling Stone Magazine on June 26, 2009, Marx said he was "ashamed" of having been linked to a $1.92 million fine against single mother Jammie Thomas-Rasset by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Rasset had shared 24 songs on the file-sharing website Kazaa in 2005, and Marx's "Now and Forever" was one of them.[17]

Marx played piano on the song "Here" and produced Matt Scannell's vocals on two tracks for Vertical Horizon's 2009 album, Burning the Days.[18]

Marx appeared on a YouTube video "ASK KevJumba 2," singing along with YouTube star KevJumba.[19]

On May 3, 2011, Marx was invited onto stage at the Curran Theater, San Francisco, by Hugh Jackman. It was opening night of Hugh Jackman In Performance. When introducing the mystery guest, Jackman said that the person was instrumental in helping him put the show together and rehearse, and that he had been on at least 4 occasions in this person's living room practicing. The mystery guest was revealed to be Marx. They then sang "Right Here Waiting" together with Marx changing the lyrics on the last chorus to "Right here waiting for Hugh."

In the summer of 2011, Marx collaborated with the comedy internet duo Rhett and Link, producing a celebrity endorsement for a colon cleansing spa in Sacramento, CA. The ad spot and its "making of" was featured on an episode of Rhett and Link's series on IFC.[20]


Musical influences / favorite artists

In addition to his parents, Marx names recording artists like Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley as his biggest musical influences, along with Elton John, Donny Hathaway, Steven Tyler, Kenny Loggins, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois, Annie Lennox, U2, and Dave Grusin. Marx includes The Eagles, Bryan Adams, Luther Vandross, John Farnham, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gladys Knight in his list of favorites.[21]

Personal life

On January 8, 1989, Marx married the singer/dancer/actress Cynthia Rhodes.[1] Rhodes acted and sang in Staying Alive (1983), Flashdance (1983), and most notably in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing, as well as appearing as the female lead in Marx's first video, "Don't Mean Nothing." Rhodes also briefly sang lead for the second incarnation of the synthpop band Animotion in the late 1980s. The couple have three sons — Brandon (born 1990), Lucas (born 1992), and Jesse (born 1994) — and had previously resided in Lake Bluff, Illinois. He currently resides in Los Angeles. In an article, dated April 4, 2014, the couple announced the dissolution of their 25-year marriage.[22] On December 23, 2015, Marx married Daisy Fuentes in Aspen, Colorado, as confirmed on his official Facebook page.[23] The two had been dating for at least a year.



Year Film/Show Role Notes
1980 Coach Of The Year Himself Credited as Richard Marks
2008 Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Live 2006 Himself
2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!HimselfEpisode: "Greene Machine"
2011 Stories to TellHimself taped at Shepherd's Bush in London, England
2012 A Night Out with Friends Himself taped at Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois
2014 Back In The DayNeighbor


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Biography & Career Highlights". Richard Marx Online. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  2. "'80s Soft Rock/Adult Contemporary Artists - Top 10 Soft Rock/Adult Contemporary Artists of the '80s". Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  3. "Yamaha Announces Incredible Lineup for 2007 Dealer Concert". Yamaha. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  4. Gary Eskow (September 1, 2004). "Richard Marx". Mixonline.
  5. "4 Decades Of Number 1 Songs!". Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  6. Kessler, Mike (2011-12-22). "Like Father, Like Son: Richard Marx continues musical legacy". Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  7. "Dick Marx's Death Notice". The New York Times. 1997-08-14. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  8. Armbrust, Doyle (2010-04-07). "Marx the spot - Music". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
  9. "Biography and Career Highlights: The Early Years". Archived from the original on 2007-01-07. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  10. "Biography and Career Highlights". Archived from the original on 2007-01-07. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  11. "32nd Grammy Awards - 1990 presented February 22, 1990". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  12. "Richard Marx Celebrates 25 Years on Billboard Charts". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  13. "Episode 102/Season 1". Legends and Lyrics/American Public Television. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  14. "About". Legends and Lyrics/American Public Television. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  15. "Nathan Lee". Legends and Lyrics/American Public Television. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  16. "Speaking with Richard Marx". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
  17. "Richard Marx "Ashamed" He's Linked to $1.92 Million RIAA Fine Against Minnesota Mom". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  18. "Band". Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  19. "ASK KevJumba 2". Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  20. Gianatasio, David. "Richard Marx Finds His Calling as Colon-Cleanser Spokesman". AdWeek.
  21. "Influences". Myspace/Richard Marx. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  22. "Richard Marx and Cynthia Rhodes Divorcing After 25 Years of Marriage". Wenner Media. 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  23. "Wedding Announcement". Richard Marx Music Official Facebook. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
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