Sunday, October 16, 2011

NUMBER 1 ALBUMS: RICHARD MARX - REPEAT OFFENDER

Repeat Offender
Artist: Richard Marx
Title: Repeat Offender
Year: 1989
Weeks #1: One
Label: EMI
Producer: Richard Marx and David Cole
Track listing: Nothin' You Can Do About it / Satisfied / Angelia / Too Late to Say Goodbye / Right Here Waiting / Heart on the Line / Real World / If You Don't Want My Love / That Was Lulu / Wait for the Sunrise / Children of the Night


Even before Richard Marx became an established artist, he was no stranger to the top of the charts. He sang backing vocals on Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down and Dancing on the Ceiling, and a song he wrote for Chicago was included on We Are the World. Yet the Chicago-born singer-songwriter wouldn't stand alone at the summit of the album chart until the release of his second album, Repeat Offender.

In his formative years, Marx literally lived music. His father, a jazz pianist, recorded jingles, and Marx was only five when he was lured into the business; his mother was also a singer. Moving to Los Angeles at 18, Marx found work as a back-up singer for Richie and later worked as an assistant for producer David Foster. After years of working for Foster, the producer broke the news to the aspiring singer-songwriter. "One day he said, 'You might be a big producer and win a Grammy over me, but you're never going to make it as a singer,' " Marx says.  "It was like having your father tell you you're ugly. It totally devastated me."

Yet Marx would soon prove Foster wrong. At a songwriters' seminar in Canada, Marx met former Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer Bobby Colomby, who was working as an A&R consultant to Manhattan Records. He set up an audition, which led to Marx's signing. Marx's self-titled debut album climbed to number eight on the strength of four top three singles, including his first Number One, "Hold on to the Nights."

High on his newfound success, Marx wrote 25 songs for Repeat Offender while on tour in support of his first album. He recorded 15 tracks for the album at various studios in Los Angeles. "Satisfied," the last song written for the album, became the first single.

Richard Marx
Marx, a big fan of the veteran rock band the Tubes, collaborated with Tubes frontman Fee Waybill on two songs on Repeat Offender, but not on "Satisfied," the most Tubes-like of the bunch. "I think I stole the riff from the Tubes' ‘She's a Beauty,' " Marx says.  "It's slightly different, but when I wrote 'Satisfied,' I definitely was trying to write my version of 'She's a Beauty.'  " On June 24, "Satisfied" became Marx's second consecutive Number One single, yet it would take the ballad "Right Here Waiting" to push Repeat Offender to the top spot.

Initially, Marx didn't consider releasing the track he wrote as a musical love letter to his soon-to-be wife, actress Cynthia Rhodes. "It was based upon a separation that we had no control over," Marx says. "She was working in another country and I was touring. For various circumstances, three and a half months went by. When you are in a relationship and you love somebody that is a hell of a long time. The only thing that got me through that was that song, but I had no intention of putting on the record. It is a very personal song. It would be like writing a love letter and letting Entertainment Weekly publish it.”

Yet Colomby changed Marx's mind telling him that it was the best song he had ever written. Apparently the public agreed, as "Right Here Waiting" became Marx's third consecutive Number One single. Three weeks later Repeat Offender ended Prince's six-week reign at Number One.

THE TOP FIVE
Week of September 2, 1989
1. Repeat Offender, Richard Marx
2. Hangin’ Tough, New Kids on the Block
3. Batman,  Prince / Soundtrack
4. Forever Your Girl,  Paula Abdul
5. Girl You Know it's True, Milli Vanilli

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