I have read a lot of books about bands and rock stars and I am a little tired of the sex, drugs and Rock & Roll aspect of the whole thing. It is the same old, same old. I like to read the fun stories that are interesting, smart and I enjoy the stories behind the songs or even the artists writing style and what motivates them. If you are the same way, then this book is what you need to read. Richard Marx brings us a book about his life and believe it or not, he had a great childhood, loving parents, he doesn’t do drugs and never had the wild sex-filled tours and you know what, that is okay because what he gives us are intelligent stories, tons of humor and a lot of behind the scenes looks at the numerous stars he has worked with and songs he has written.
Before I get to that, let us look at the book itself. The copy I purchased was a bundle. It came with an autographed copy of the book as you can see below. I also paired it with a greatest hits CD which is 1 CD full of his hits and another full of demos, rare tracks and a collection of songs he wrote for other people, but this time with him singing and not the artist he wrote it for…really cool. Oh yeah, and the CD came with a signed booklet as well. Really cool stuff…okay, back to the review.
Richard took the down time with Covid to bring us a detailed telling of his life in music…not his personal life. We do get some of it, but mostly it is about the music. Richard is real private about his family but does give us glimpses, however, this is about the rock star. And let me tell you he has worked with some mega stars and is friends with some as well. We learn how he got started in the business by being a background singer for numerous people but got his break with Lionel Richie. He also works with Kenny Rogers and writes a song for him that gave him his first #1 song in country music. But that is the only tip of the iceberg.
I think one of the funniest stories (but wasn’t funny to him) was when he did his first tour in Taiwan and had a run-in with a guy in the Chinese mafia. He ended up basically being held at gunpoint to perform two shows on the same day and then being chased out of the country, literally, and narrowly escaping by plane. That story is freaky and it is stories like that which will keep you engrossed from beginning to end. Heck, the last time I picked up the book, I shot through 100 pages like that because I couldn’t put it down.
I knew Richard had written songs for other artists, but I never realized how many or how many songs and albums he had produced. That was really cool to learn and let me tell you he has had more hits than you would ever imagine. Some of the best were “Dance With My Father” with Luther Vandross and “This I Promise You” for ‘Nsync. What I also found cool as that there were so many people he worked with that he became really close friends with and that tells you a lot of his character as well. He had some great friendships with Fee Waybill (The Tubes), Luther Vandross, Olivia-Newton John, Rick Springfield, Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Kenny Loggins and that is only naming a few.
I am not going to tell you any more of the stories, but look out for the story of the Disappearing Tooth, the scary illness, did he murder Mary and then all the stories behind some of his biggest hits and some that weren’t so big. You will be engrossed the whole way through as his intelligence and humor shine through the book from front to back.
I can’t recommend this one enough as it is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Richard Marx’s wit is second to none, his writing is smart, engrossing and flows in a way that makes the book hard to put down. I like the fact the chapters are short as it seems to make the reading easier. But most importantly, he has the stories to tell. Those stories are happy, sad, funny, scary and everything in between. Do yourself a favor and pick this up and see that a rock star’s story doesn’t have to be all sex, drugs and Rock & Roll to be enjoyable. In fact, I think it makes it even better as you get past the crap to get to the meat of what makes up the man. I will gladly give this book a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.