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Music / Richard Marx

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Achieving his greatest success in the late eighties and the early nineties, Richard Noel Marx (born September 16, 1963) became involved in the music business at an early age, working as a backing vocalist, session musician and songwriter for artists such as Madonna, Lionel Richie (the man who got him into the industry), Whitney Houston and Chicago.

Marx released his first album in 1987 and became the first solo artist to place his first seven consecutive singles in the top five of the American charts, including three consecutive number ones. His early style generally aimed at an up-tempo Arena Rock not unlike what Bryan Adams and Michael Bolton were doing at the time, although like those artists he subsequently moved to a predominantly softer sound after the success of the hit ballad "Right Here Waiting".

Although his hit-making days were mostly done by the end of the 1990s, Marx continues to tour and record regularly. Notably, he co-wrote "Dance With My Father" with Luther Vandross, which became the latter's biggest hit and won a Grammy in 2004 shortly before Vandross' death.

Tropes featured by this artist include:

  • '80s Hair: Since he achieved his career success around the end of that decade, a mullet - which he wore at the time - is associated with that time period.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Hazard, Nebraska, is a real place, but it's too small even to be called a town (it's a village with a population of 57 as of the 2020 census) and doesn't have a river, though it has a muddy creek.
  • Ascended Extra: To an extent, since he started as a prolific session pianist and backing vocalist with several big name artists before entering the limelight himself.
  • Berserk Button: He utterly hates being called "shameless," apparently.
  • Courtroom Drama: The music video for "Hazard" ends with the protagonist put on trial for his Love Interest's death.
  • Darker and Edgier: "Hazard" deals with far darker concepts than Marx normally sings about - small town prejudice, murder, possible police corruption etc.
  • Death by Woman Scorned: It's suggested in "Hazard" that Mary was killed by a police officer she rejected, but the song is told by the town scapegoat and Unreliable Narrator is in play.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Hazard". Besides the general meaning of "danger," Hazard, Nebraska is a real place.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: "Right Here Waiting" is about one of these: the singer's beloved is "oceans apart", and how he sees them "next to never" and he "can't get near [them]".
  • Power Ballad: His speciality, though they tend to be softer than the norm. "Right Here Waiting" is his best-known example.
  • Rock Star Song: "Superstar." A woman who has fame but can't find love or self fulfillment.
    You're a mystery, and it's plain to me
    There's someone that you'd rather be.
  • Silly Love Songs: He made a career primarily on achingly-sweet songs about love, loss, and devotion. "Right Here Waiting" is an aching ballad about loving someone who is far away, and "Now and Forever" and "This I Promise You" are popular first-dance songs at weddings.