The success of Richard Marx’s debut was no overnight success. Marx finally hooked up with EMI/Manhattan after years of frustration and promptly proved his worth with a multi platinum debut.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Richard Marx
ALBUM: Richard Marx
SERIAL: 7 46760 2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Richard Marx – vocals, keyboards, drums
Additional Musicians: Guitars – Mike Landau, Joe Walsh, Bruce Gaitsch * Bass – John Pierce, Nathan East, Patrick O Hearn, Joe Chemay * Drums – Prairie Prince, John Keane, Tris Imboden * Keyboards – Tom Keane, Rhett Lawrence, Jim Lang, Michael Omartian * Sax – Dave Boruff * Percussion – Paulihno De Costa
TRACK LISTING: 01 Should’ve Known Better * 02 Don’t Mean Nothing * 03 Endless Summer Nights * 04 Lonely Heart * 05 Hold On To The Nights * 06 Have Mercy * 07 Remember Manhattan * 08 The Flame Of Love * 09 Rhythm Of Life * 10 Heaven Only Knows
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The success of Richard Marx’s debut was no overnight success. Marx had spent several years singing backing vocals for the likes of Lionel Richie, Madonna and Whitney Houston, before writing songs for Kenny Rogers and Chicago. He found no takers for his own demo, the tape turned down by every major record company in Hollywood.
Finally hooking up with EMI/Manhattan after years of frustration, he promptly proved his worth with a multi platinum debut. The Chicago native pursued a commercial form of AOR, rewarded with two top three singles in ‘Should’ve Known Better’ and ‘Dont Mean Nothing’ and a no 1 with ‘Hold On To The Nights’. He was backed by a host of familiar names in the studio, with The Tubes Fee Waybill writing the lyrics to several tracks.
The album opens with a melodic rocker, ‘Should’ve Known Better’, with the emphasis on keyboard atmosphere and some wonderful passages. ‘Don’t Mean Nothing’ chronicles Marx’s struggles with record labels, accompanied by a hard rock riff and some sarcastic vocal delivery, with a chorus that sticks.
‘Endless Summer Nights’ could be mistaken for Chicago, with the sultry, sentimental sax and soft hook, perfect 80’s radio material. The heights of AOR are reached with ‘Lonely Heart’, one of Fee Waybill‘s written efforts. Stunning verse-chorus-verse bonanza with melody out the ears and a constantly thrilling listen. ‘Hold On To The Nights’ hit the top of the charts with it’s power ballad force and teary eyed chorus, the slicing keys the key (ahem) to it’s magic.
‘Have Mercy’ is an upbeat rocker with more aggression in the guitars, but ‘Remember Manhattan’ suffers from a forgettable overall melody, despite Waybill’s backing vocals. Some jangly guitars weaken ‘The Flame Of Love’ but the horns and synths of ‘Rhythm Of Life’ are more acceptable. ‘Heaven Only Knows’ rounds it out on a light note, splendid vocals from Marx melodic to the brim.
Richard Marx became a pop chart idol and consolidated it with 1989’s even bigger ‘Repeat Offender’ follow up, with two more no 1 singles to its name. Marx was sitting comfortably alongside Michael Bolton as champion of America’s lite rock stations, a position that remains to this day.
With 1991’s ‘Rush Street’ Marx began his descent into sales obscurity. Even though it shifted millions it wasn’t the hit expected and by 1994 he had settled into a position as Adult Contemporary specialist, with none of the AOR tendencies of the debut. Richard Marx continues to write and produce for other artists, his own albums few and far between. The debut remains by far his most satisfying AOR tinged effort and is well worth seeking out.
Richard Marx on Video
Endless Summer Nights
Heaven Only Knows
Click to go to YTM album page.
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