Now and Forever: The Ballads by Richard Marx
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2014 - 12:00am

Much has been made out of Richard Marx being one of the most successful and enduring among the major pop discoveries of the late ‘80s.  The reasons why are still obvious.  Marx has a light pleasing baritone that rocks just a bit.  He is very attractive with the long-haired pop idol now given way to a dignified gentleman with lean, chiseled features.  And most of all, he has a lot of hit songs in his huge catalogue and as I am sure most of you have already noticed, these are the kind that disc jockeys know are greatly pleasing to their listeners. 

Take a look at Marx’s hit list. This guy can do a great show just by singing his own bestsellers from the past 25 years or so. Endless Summer Nights, Should Have Known Better, Don’t Mean Nothing, Right Here Waiting, Hold On To The Night, Satisfied, Angelia, The Way She Loves Me, Now And Forever, Hazard, Keep Coming Back, Angel’s Lullabye, Days In Avalon, When You Loved Me, Too Late To Say Goodbye and many others.  Needless to say, he is also one of those pop stars who have found a big following and now keep coming back to the Philippines to do concerts.

This is why I also call Marx one of the leading “not a day goes by” guys. He is just like Barry Manilow, Even Now, Somewhere Down The Road or Air Supply, Now And Forever, Two Less Lonely People or Stephen Bishop, It Might Be You, On And On in the local airlanes.  This means that not a day goes by that we do not hear at least one of his songs like Hold On To The Night or Right Here Waiting on the radio.

Now, Marx has a new album out in the market.  It is titled Richard Marx Now and Forever, the Ballads.  It is all nice and easy with old and new songs, but with a big difference.  What makes it very special is the fact that Marx’s The Ballads is made up of his own compositions.  The focus here is on Marx, the songwriter.  Unknown to many, Marx, the only son of a father who was a successful commercial jingle writer, has been writing and recording his own songs since he started in the business in 1986.  He is so good at this that he is considered one of the go-to guys in the business.  This means that if you are recording an album, you should check if there is something by Marx that you can do. He has a very good batting average with hit tunes.

His roster of recorded songs by other artists is very impressive.  Take a look at this list of some hot shot titles that were either written or co-written by Marx:  The Best Of Me by Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, David Foster and others; Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross; Stronger, also by Cliff Richard; This I Promise You by ‘N’Sync; To Where You Are by Josh Groban; Suddenly by Toni Braxton; Leave This Town by Daughtry; Everybody by Keith Urban; If You Ever Leave Me by Barbra Streisand and Vince Gill; Angel On My Shoulder by Natalie Cole and many others.

As you can deduce from this list, Marx does not only have a flair for commercial melodies and sentimental lyrics, he is also very versatile.  He does all types of music aside from his usual adult contemporary fare.  The contrast between This I Promise You and the Grammy-winning Dance With My Father is wide.  It is almost unimaginable that the points of these two songs could meet somewhere.  But they do in Marx, who is just as effective with the boy band ballad as he is with heartfelt soul or country, rock or classical and others. 

Of course, all of these songs were first recorded by Marx and this is the way they are presented in his Now And Forever The Ballads album.  His tones are mellow, the mood is totally relaxed and the songs are beautiful.  And so I present Marx, composer/ balladeer, some of his dreamy songs and his co-writers. 

Included are Loved co-written with Dann Huff; When You Loved Me with Matt Scannell, frontman of the band Vertical Horizon; To Where You Are with Linda Thompson and originally recorded and the first big seller by pop/classical artist Josh Groban; Suddenly; Wouldn’t Let Me Love You with Jason Rauch and Robert Graves; Through My Veins; Done To Me; Like Heaven with Jason Wade; Days In Avalon; The Best Of Me with Jeremy Lubock and David Foster; This I Promise You a sweet duet with Filipino acoustic artist Sabrina; and Everybody with country music star and American Idol judge Keith Urban. And as bonus tracks, two of Marx’s biggest hits, rerecorded, Now And Forever and Right Here Waiting.

Next on tap for fans of  Marx is a new album of all new original compositions titled Beautiful Goodbye.  This is his first studio recording after seven years.  Now, I still have to hear the album but it is said to be  one of his best.  Now, while waiting, make sure you check out Now And Forever The Ballads.  It is songwriting at its best and there is nothing quite like those hit songs to prepare you for more of Marx, the prolific songwriter.

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