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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Marx, Richard - 1987 Richard Marx
Marx, Richard - 1987 Richard Marx

ARTIST: Marx, Richard
ALBUM: Richard Marx
LABEL: EMI/Manhattan
SERIAL: 7 46760 2
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Richard Marx - vocals, keyboards, drums

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


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. Marx found no takers for his own demo, the tape turned down by every major record company in Hollywood. Marx finally hooked up with EMI/Manhattan after years of frustration and promptly proved his worth with a multi platinum debut. Marx 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'. Marx was backed by a host of familiar names in the studio, with The Tubes Fee Waybill writing the lyrics to several tracks.

The Songs
Marx opens the album 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 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 Of Life' rounds it out on a light note, splendid vocals from Marx melodic to the brim.

In Summary
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 Marx had settled into a position as Adult Contemporary specialist, with none of the AOR tendencies of the debut. 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.

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#1 | richardb on June 15 2008 15:01:46
A superb debut. Astonishing that it took him so long to get a record deal. However 'Repeat offender' is his strongest album in my humble opinion and I would argue that this is the one most AOR fans should consider an essential part of their collection.

Richard B
#2 | dangerzone on December 08 2011 07:21:01
No, sure enough here it is!
#3 | gdazegod on December 08 2011 08:05:52
Thanks Alun.. I'll link it.. I forgot all about it. .cheers.
#4 | jeffrey343 on December 08 2011 13:58:08
Handsome guy, great voice - hard to believe he had a hard time getting a record deal, and not surprising he sold millions once he did. This got a lot of attention back in 1987-88 in the U.S., obviously with three mega hits. "Don't Mean Nothing" sounds like something The Eagles could have done (Joe Walsh's guitar being a big part of that).

I put this and "Repeat Offender" on a cassette for the car back in '89, and I played that tape more than any other that year. So these tunes are burned into my memory. I think the album trails off a bit in the second half, but it's only a minor dropoff.

I'll agree with Richard that "Repeat Offender" is the pick of his material and one that is truly essential. These first two should definitely be in your collection.
#5 | Eric on December 08 2011 17:13:03
I knew/ worked briefly with someone who was working at EMI around the time Marx was trying to get a deal and apparently his father pulled some strings. Why and how much of that is true, or just sour grapes I can't confirm since that person has passed, but...
#6 | gdazegod on December 08 2011 21:34:59
Well the proof is in the pudding. What is it now.. combined sales over 15 million units? I know who is having the last laugh..
#7 | Eric on December 08 2011 22:37:05
Agree. He supposedly had issues in the studio early on - vocally from what I gathered and the label did not have high hopes, in fact the guy who I mentioned just laughed at his sucess, shaking his head as if Marx had no talent and just got lucky 'cause of his connections (Dad). This same individual was behind Michael Johnson, Marlyn McGregor, John Denver a.o's and brought Styx to RCA Distribution for Bill Traut so he knew some stuff. A drunk and crumugeon at the time, I did some one-stop distro work for him for and a label he was associated with that included Irish Folk star Mary Black . It was a miserable two months but I learned some things...
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