Sometimes I hesitate a bit in writing about an act that I particularly like. For a writer like myself who is at least a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to dealing with the inevitable debates that come over whether an act is or is not worthy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, especially when one considers that there are usually only six slots in a year and dozens if not hundreds of worthy acts, one often wishes to avoid the appearance that one is a booster of a particular group or act. It is easy to defend a group that has massive critical appeal and whose music one only likes casually, or an act whose career was obviously influential even if one is not a fan. In such cases one has no doubt that one is behaving justly. However, when one likes a particular act–and let it be known that I am very fond of the music of Richard Marx–it is very easy to believe that one is allowing one’s own fandom  overwhelm one’s sense of fairness and impartiality. Nevertheless, even allowing for my own fondness of Marx’s music, the man had a career that is worthy of induction in at least one if not three categories. How so? It is to this that we will now examine.
The Influence Of Richard Marx
Richard Marx’s influence was felt in at least three ways. For one, Richard Marx was a musician whose songs were massively popular, whose albums sold in multi-platinum numbers, whose videos were extremely popular, and who was in much demand as a session musician. In addition to this career as a solo musician, guest artist on the music of others, and session musician for still other musicians, Richard Marx was also influential as a songwriter and a producer. As each of those categories is worthy of induction, we will consider the career of Richard Marx from all of those categories, and the result is that it is baffling that Richard Marx is not inducted at all. Like a few other immensely multi-talented artists whose solo careers have not received RRHOF induction , Richard Marx had a large part of his career in the 1980’s, among the most disrespected eras of music in the Rock & Roll era, and he was also known for singing beautiful love ballads, not a sort of music that the RRHOF tends to honor. Yet Richard Marx was much more than a middle-of-the road adult contemporary act, as beautiful as those songs are.
Why Richard Marx Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
How does Richard Marx deserve induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Let us count the ways. As a solo musician he has had three number one hits (“Hold On To The Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” and “Satisfied”). Aside from that, he had six top ten hits (“Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Should’ve Known Better,” “Endless Summer Nights,” “Angelia,” “Hazard,” and “Now And Forever”). In addition to that he had five additional top 40 hits, including such standout tracks as “Too Late To Say Goodbye,” “Children Of The Night,” “Keep Coming Back,” “Take This Heart,” and “The Way She Loves Me .” Included among these are soulful songs about baby-making, anthems about social injustice and child abuse and exploitation, and gritty rock tracks as well as more polished material that was popular on adult contemporary radio. He was, of course, popular internationally as well as in the United States. As far as his albums are concerned, he had two multi-platinum albums and two platinum albums, a solid career. As a session museum, he sang and performed with such notable acts as Lionel Richie, Chicago, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, Billy Joel, Sarah Brightman, Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers, Josh Groban, Kenny Loggins, Luther Vandross, Ringo Starr, Vertical Horizon, and Heart, among many others . Many of those acts are worthy of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction themselves , and if Richard Marx was not worthy of RRHOF induction on his own, he would be as a session singer/musician of the highest caliber. In addition to that, we must consider Marx’s career as a producer and songwriter, which included hits like “What About Me” (for Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes), “This I Promise You” (for ‘N Sync), “To Where You Are” (for Josh Groban), “Fall Into Me” (for country act Emerson Drive), “Dance With My Father” (for Luther Vandross), “Everybody” and “Better Life” (for Keith Urban), and “Suddenly” (for Toni Braxton). Again, this is an immensely successful producing career, and it is only one of Richard Marx’s several noteworthy careers as an act.
Why Richard Marx Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
It makes no sense to me why Richard Marx isn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and almost as little sense why he isn’t inducted two or three times. With his massively influential and successful career, Richard Marx has not only been a dominant figure on mainstream pop and adult contemporary radio, but he has influenced such diverse genres as country and R&B through his songwriting and producing. He has been equally competent as a solo act, session musician, and songwriter/producer, and all of them have been done at a Hall of Fame level. Does the fact that he began in the 1980’s count that much against him? If so, that is immensely unjust.
Verdict: Put him in, and then again and again.
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