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Also Known As: Richard H. Marx Died:
Born: September 16, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Before becoming one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the 1990s and beyond, the famously mullet-sporting Richard Marx was a backing vocalist for Lionel Richie and Madonna, among others, as well as the author of 1980-era hits for Kenny Rogers and Chicago. His talent for radio-friendly romantic ballads and upbeat pop tunes paved the way for his own solo career, which launched in spectacular fashion with four Top 5 singles from his self-titled 1988 debut record, including the chart-topping "Hold On to the Night." He would score two more No. 1 songs before changing musical tastes capsized his brand of pop-rock. Marx then returned to songwriting, where he found equal, if not greater success by penning such hits as "This I Promise You" for 'N Sync, "Dance with My Father" for Luther Vandross, and Keith Urban's "Long Hot Summer." Though critics frequently decried Marx's work as both a singer and songwriter as pabulum, he was also the only solo artist to send his first seven singles into the Top 5 on the Billboard singles chart, as well as a songwriter with No. 1 songs in four consecutive decades - a pair of accolades that few, if any, more respected musicians could claim as their own.Born Sept....

Before becoming one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the 1990s and beyond, the famously mullet-sporting Richard Marx was a backing vocalist for Lionel Richie and Madonna, among others, as well as the author of 1980-era hits for Kenny Rogers and Chicago. His talent for radio-friendly romantic ballads and upbeat pop tunes paved the way for his own solo career, which launched in spectacular fashion with four Top 5 singles from his self-titled 1988 debut record, including the chart-topping "Hold On to the Night." He would score two more No. 1 songs before changing musical tastes capsized his brand of pop-rock. Marx then returned to songwriting, where he found equal, if not greater success by penning such hits as "This I Promise You" for 'N Sync, "Dance with My Father" for Luther Vandross, and Keith Urban's "Long Hot Summer." Though critics frequently decried Marx's work as both a singer and songwriter as pabulum, he was also the only solo artist to send his first seven singles into the Top 5 on the Billboard singles chart, as well as a songwriter with No. 1 songs in four consecutive decades - a pair of accolades that few, if any, more respected musicians could claim as their own.

Born Sept. 16, 1963 in Chicago, IL, Richard Noel Marx was the son of jazz musician-turned-film and commercial composer Dick Marx and his wife, singer Ruth Guildoo. He began his career at the age of five, singing commercial jingles written by his father, and soon adding songwriting to his budding musical résumé. While still a teenager, Lionel Richie heard a tape of his compositions and invited him to Los Angeles. Marx took up the singer's offer, and after graduating from high school, wound up contributing backing vocals to several of Richie's solo hits, including "You Are," "Running with the Night" and "All Night Long (All Night)." He soon lent his voice to songs by Madonna, Whitney Houston and Kenny Rogers, who gave him his first hits as a songwriter with "Crazy" and "What About Me?" which also featured James Ingram and Kim Carnes. The latter song topped the Adult Contemporary charts in 1984 while also entering the pop Top 20, while "Crazy" hit No. 1 on the Country charts the following year. Marx was soon in demand as a songwriter for acts like Chicago, but his own career as a performer would not begin until 1987 when he landed a recording contract with EMI/Manhattan.

His self-titled debut album was a colossal hit, generating four Top 5 singles, including the ballad "Hold On To the Night," which reached No. 1. The record's first single, a cynical R&B number called "Don't Mean Nothing," later captured a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male in 1988. After touring for 14 months behind Richard Marx, his second album, Repeat Offender, was released by Capitol Records in 1989, the same year he married actress-dancer Cynthia Rhodes, best known for playing Penny in "Dirty Dancing" (1987) and who had appeared in the music video for "Don't Mean Nothing." Its first two singles, "Satisfied" and the Grammy-nominated "Right Here Waiting," provided him with two more No. 1 hits, while "Angelina" reached No. 4, making Marx the first solo artist to land his first seven singles in the Top 5 on the Billboard singles chart. But within a year's time, Marx had begun to lose his grip on the pop scene. His third album, Rush Street (1991), reached multi-platinum status, but its singles, including "Keep Coming Back," stalled in the lower half of the Top 20. By the end of the year, his brand of high-gloss pop/rock had been supplanted by Nirvana's Nevermind (1991) and hip-hop. Marx would take a three-year break from the music industry, during which he relocated to Chicago, before releasing his fourth album, Paid Vacation (1994). It marked a return of sorts to his previous level of success with the No. 7 single "Now and Forever," but the record soon dropped off the albums chart. His final record for Capitol was Flesh and Bone (1997), which sold a dismal 250,000 copies before vanishing from sight.

Marx continued to parlay his talents as a songwriter during the height of his solo success, penning songs for Luther Vandross, Sarah Brightman and other pop performers. As his singing career waned, he re-established himself as a top songwriter and producer, beginning in 1999 with singles for Barbra Streisand, Monica and the country-pop trio SheDaisy. He hit his stride the following year with the No. 1 Adult Contemporary single "This I Promise You" for 'N Sync, which was soon followed by work with such popular artists as Natalie Cole, Josh Groban, Billy Ray Cyrus and Vince Gill. He struck pay dirt again with "Dance with My Father" (2003), the Top 40 hit for Luther Vandross. A sentimental favorite with radio listeners in 2004, it would capture two Grammy Awards prior to Vandross' death the following year. Marx's own solo hits would also find a second life during this period through covers by Clay Aiken and Julio Iglesias, while his solo recording career continued on a variety of independent labels, including 2008's Duo, a collaboration with Vertical Horizon singer Matt Scannell, and Stories To Tell (2010), an album of acoustic renditions of his solo hits and songs for other artists recorded during a European tour. The following year, Marx returned to the record books when Keith Urban took his song "Long Hot Summer" to the top of the country charts. Its success provided Marx with not only his 14th No. 1 hit, but established him as a songwriter with No. 1 hits in four different decades.

By Paul Gaita

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 46th Annual Grammy Awards, The (2004) Presenter
5.
 Halloween Jam VI (1997)
9.
 1994 American Music Awards (1994) Presenter
10.
 American Music Awards, The (1993) Presenter
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