‘Stories to Tell: A Memoir” by Richard Marx – Book Review

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Hazard” by Richard Marx

For My Sunday Song #80, I chose the song “Hazard” by Richard Marx.  The song was off Marx’s third album ‘Rush Street’ and went on to become his third #1 song on the Adult Contemporary charts.

I love a song that tells an interesting story and this is one of those songs.  We all know Marx is an incredible songwriter and if you don’t you must live under a rock.  The song “Hazard” tells a great story.  It tells the story of a young man, who is an outcast in the town of Hazard, Nebraska.  No one seems to like him and they all feel he is a little strange.  He meets a girl, Mary, and falls in love, BUT…Mary ends up dead and he is the prime suspect.  What also is great about the story is you don’t find out if he did it or not.  It leaves you as the listener deciding on your interpretation and whether you feel he did it or not.  What do I think?  I might tell you later.

The song is at a ballad like pacing, but definitely not a love song.  The music and pacing give the song an eerie, dark tone to it which adds to the drama of the song and makes you feel the sadness the main character is feeling at the loss of his love and trying to convince everyone he is innocent.  I think it is beautiful.

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