Richard Marx aspired to be a musician and even recorded a demo tape while in high school. Somehow, the tape reached Lionel Richie, who called Marx telling him to move to Los Angeles and start a music career, after his high school education. Richie even took the extra step of convincing Marx’s parents that the move would be for the best. Thus, Marx made the leap but faced rejection after rejection from all the labels he approached. He became a session singer until striking a record deal that spawned hit after hit. Below is a list of the ten best songs he has ever recorded.
10. Thanks to You
Although it was released in 2010, Marx had written the song in 1997, soon after his father passed away. He clarified that it was not because he had anything left unsaid to his father. Instead, the loss made him appreciate his mother more; thus, it is dedicated to her and all mothers.
“Angelia” was inspired by a series of girls that Marx had dated in the past. He had already written the song, but four syllables were missing. All the singer needed was a girl’s name, but he could not find the right one. Luckily, he took a flight in Dallas and noticed a beautiful flight attendant smiling as she pushed the beverage cart down the aisle. Marx was taken in by her smile. As she served him a ginger ale, he read the nametag on her uniform. After complimenting the flight attendant on the beautiful name, she corrected him, saying it was pronounced as “Ange-LI-a.” The name helped him complete the already-written song; thus, he appropriately titled it so.
8. Don’t Mean Nothing
According to Songfacts, “Don’t Mean Nothing” was written when Marx was already frustrated. He was only 22 but had experienced lots of rejection since no label wanted to sign him. That is why some of the lyrics refer to a director telling him that although he loves the singer’s work, it is not what they are looking for; thus, he realized it is about who, and not what, you know, in the industry. Some music producers even wanted to change his lyrics and take a cut from his songs’ revenues. He believes this song became a hit because people could relate to it.
Marx told The Orange County Register in 2011 that he had a good run as an artist years ago. He now thinks of himself as a producer and writer for other people. The song “Satisfied” refers to how people work 9-5 jobs, and Marx reckons there must be more to living than making our bodies weary. Perhaps it is this realization that finally made him feel satisfied with what he had accomplished. Hence, he transitioned to writing and producing music.
Marx was known for writing love songs that pushed him to the #1 spot but “Hazard” departed from this trend since it is a murder ballad. He woke up with the melody in his head. He was worried that it would not be well received, but it ended up being the #1 song in 14 countries, and today, it has over 26 million views on YouTube.
5. Should’ve Known Better
The musician once said that there is nothing like young, unrequited love, but it took heartbreak to inspire “Should’ve Known Better.” He was young at the time and dating a girl who pitted him against another guy without either of them knowing what was happening. Marx said the girl was selfish, and her actions hurt a lot of people. The silver lining was drawing a song from his experience.
4. Hold on To the Nights
Not every song that Marx writes is about him. He disclosed that he wrote this song based on a scenario that happened to his close friends, although he could relate to some parts. The song is about a guy who is already in a relationship with someone else. He then meets a girl also dating someone else, and despite having mutual feelings, they never pursue a relationship. Instead, they each go back to their former flames, and the guy could not help but wonder if he had lost the “right one.”
3. Now and Forever
After being inspired to write several songs by his love for Cynthia Rhodes, Marx noticed it had been a while since he had written any song regarding their relationship. Thus, “Now and Forever,” was written as a tribute to his wife. He appreciated he would not be alone anymore because of the fortune that the heavens had given him. He swears to be forever her man, although they later divorced.
2. Endless Summer Nights
The song is from the singer’s self-titled debut album. It reached triple platinum status and peaked at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100. It is no wonder that in 2010, according to Richard Marx’s website, “Endless Summer Nights” was named the #5 top summer song of all-time. A vacation with Rhodes inspired it as a theme to lost summer love. The lovebirds wed the following year.
1. Right Here Waiting
The funny thing about this song is that it was not intended for the public, but a friend encouraged him to record it. It was a letter from Marx to his then-wife Cynthia Rhodes. The actress was in South Africa, and Marx missed her so much that he wanted to see her after not being together for months. Unfortunately, his visa application was rejected, so he penned down the letter in 20 minutes, making it the fastest song he had ever written. So far, it has over 350 million views on YouTube and remains the best song Marx has ever released.