Richard Marx Biography
Richard Noel Marx (born September 16, 1963 in Winnetka, Illinois) is an adult contemporary singer, songwriter and record producer. He had a string of successful hit singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "Right Here Waiting," "Hazard," "Endless Summer Nights" and "Hold On to the Nights." Although most of his successful songs were slow ballads like these, many of his songs had an upbeat, 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.
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 Peter Pan peanut butter and Nestle Crunch.
Marx was 17 and living in a suburb of Chicago 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," 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," "All Night Long," and "Running with the Night."
In those early years, Richard would find any excuse possible to be in the recording studio. 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. Both songs reached #1 on the country charts. 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, Timothy B. Schmit, and Randy Meisner of the Eagles, and created a ten-track album that put Richard on the path to success.
Richard is the only son of Ruth, a former singer, and Dick Marx, a jazz musician and founder of a successful jingle company in the early 1960s.
In 1989, Marx married singer/dancer/actress Cynthia Rhodes. Rhodes starred in the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing and is a former lead singer for 1980s pop band Animotion. The couple have three sons: Brandon, Lucas, and Jesse. Brandon is the eldest followed by Lucas, then Jesse. The Marx family live in a house by the lake in Lake Bluff, Illinois, United States.
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.