Always on hold

What do José Feliciano, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Julio Iglesias, Barry Manilow, Hugh Jackmann, Till Brönner and David Hasselhoff have in common? They all recorded “Right Here Waiting”, one of the great pop ballads of the great pop ballad era of the late 80’s. At that time Bravo invented the genre “cuddly rock”, which the Americans only classified under the non-sensuous generic term “adult contemporary”. In any case, anyone who hasn’t kissed on track 13 on disc 1 of the double LP “Kuschelrock Vol. 4” has done something wrong: “Right Hear Waiting” (of which, by the way, two sexy video versions were banned from prudish music television ), sung by its songwriter Richard Marx.

Unlike the man consuming himself in the 1987 song, Marx does not make a lonely impression at the moment. The American, who just turned 59, is extremely sociable. He has collaborated with a number of other musicians throughout his career, which began when he was five years old and sang jingles for his father’s promotional music for Nestle muesli. Lionel Richie discovered him in Chicago, had him sing backing with him, and brought him to LA, where Marx wrote a hit with country star Kenny Rogers. He wrote and produced songs for Justin Timberlake’s N’Sync , Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, won a Grammy with Luther Vandross for “Dance with my father” which he sang at the awards gala with Celine Dion. He sang on Madonna’s album True Blue and Cher’s Love Hurts, toured with Ringo Starr, Billy Joel played piano on his album Rush Street.

Marx also had numerous successes of his own: his first four albums achieved platinum status in the USA, and he was the only artist ever to release his first seven singles from “Don’t Mean Nothing” (featuring Eagles guitarist Joey Walsh) to “Angelia ” in the top 5 of the US charts. Right from the start he also toured in Germany, where surprisingly more men came than anywhere else who demanded his rockier rock. He also performed the Beatles’ “Help” at the Berlin Wall in 1989. But it wasn’t until 2004 that he really warmed to the homeland of his father’s family in Mainz.

Joe Cocker had invited him to support, Marx just felt “lost”, as he says, went on tour, and for the first time he wasn’t hiding in the hotel. He went to churches and cafes in all 22 cities and wrote in his diary: “I fell in love with Germany.” He feels at home here and is particularly happy to be back on tour here.

All alone on stage, “like at a party in my living room,” he says, he plays songs on demand, but also the new ones from the rock, pop, ballad album “Songwriter”. On that he wrote a lot with others again, five tracks with his sons Lucas and Jesse, and one with his great idol: Burt Bacharach. That was one of his goals in life, he says. His wife convinces him to give it a go and call him. The California songwriting guru said yes. But called the day before the work meeting and asked Marx to send him the text. He panicked: he thought they only wrote the music, and from that he let himself be inspired for the lyrics, as usual. “I don’t need any help making music, Richard,” Bacharach said. So Marx spent an evening composing lines about his wife Daisy, whom he had met late, and how a pity it is to have so little time together. “Always” pleased the 94-year-old Bacharach, and Marx likes the joint ballad. “But the best part for me is that we became friends through songwriting. It’s a gift.”

Richard Marx, Mon., Sep. 19, 8 p.m., Deutsches Theater , card phone 54818181

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