Richard Marx is one of the most accomplished singer-songwriters in the history of popular music. His self-titled 1987 album went triple platinum and made him the first male solo artist (and second solo artist overall after Whitney Houston) to have four singles from their debut crack the top three on the Billboard Hot 100. His follow-up, 1989’s Repeat Offender, was an even bigger smash, going quadruple platinum and landing two singles at number one. He has written fourteen number one songs in total, shared a Song of the Year Grammy with Luther Vandross, and collaborated with a variety of artists including NSYNC, Josh Groban, Natalie Cole, and Keith Urban. Lately, he’s also become a Twitter celebrity thanks to his outspokenness on social issues and his ability to out-troll his trolls.
In Stories to Tell, Marx uses this same engaging, straight-talking style to look back on his life and career. He writes of how Kenny Rogers changed a single line of a song he’d written for him then asked for a 50% cut—which inspired Marx to write one of his biggest hits. He tells the uncanny story of how he wound up curled up on the couch of Olivia Newton-John, his childhood crush, watching Xanadu. He shares the tribulations of working with the all-female hair metal band Vixen and appearing in their video. Yet amid these entertaining celebrity encounters, Marx offers a more sobering assessment of the music business as he’s experienced it over four decades—the challenges of navigating greedy executives and grueling tour schedules, and the rewards of connecting with thousands of fans at sold-out shows that make all the drama worthwhile. He also provides an illuminating look at his songwriting process and talks honestly about how his personal life has inspired his work, including finding love with wife Daisy Fuentes and the mystery illness that recently struck him—and that doctors haven’t been able to solve.
Stories to Tell is a remarkably candid, wildly entertaining memoir about the art and business of music.
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