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Richard Marx's Long Hot Summer(s)

by Jason Gubbels

Richard Marx's Long Hot Summer(s)

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If you were of record-buying age in the late 1980s, you remember Richard Marx. Cuts from his 1987 self-titled debut album were ubiquitous on both the pop charts and rock radio, from dues-paying fist pumper "Don't Mean Nothing" (featuring former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh contributing his patented swamp crunch) to the shimmering synths of No. 1 power ballad "Hold On to the Nights." His follow-up triple-platinum Repeat Offender even managed to bump Prince's Batman soundtrack out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 in 1989 -- no small feat given summertime frenzy for the superhero film. By the time Marx's third album appeared in 1991, Marx had enough artistic capital to tap the likes of Billy Joel for backup help.

At the time, Marx's smoldering good looks and expert pop/rock choruses helped make him a heartthrob for millions of teenagers, even if his preferred style of musical creation perfectly exemplified adult contemporary. But after the hits started drying up, Marx maintained a presence in the soft rock scenes, returning once again to the studio work and songwriting duties that had initially helped him gain a foothold in L.A. circles (Marx's first appearance on record was contributing backup vocals to Lionel Richie's 1982 debut album). Having previously distinguished himself by writing several hit singles for Kenny Rogers ("Crazy" and "What About Me"), Marx would go on to help craft tunes for such acts as 'NSYNC (ballad "This I Promise You"), Luther Vandross ("Dance with My Father") and Keith Urban ("Long Hot Summer"). Marx even continued to pick up some session work, playing piano on Vertical Horizon's "Here."

Our career overview offers a little bit of everything from the Marx catalog -- the big hits, unplugged outings, early session gigs and some of his songwriting work-for-hire (you can sample Marx's original versions against more famous interpretations). From "Endless Summer Nights" to "Long Hot Summer" to "Whatever We Started" -- the latest track off his brand-new album Beautiful Goodbye -- we've assembled all the Richard Marx you'll need this season.

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