I recently bought a used car, a 2000 Honda Accord with about 100K more miles than the burro we donated—recycled might be a better word. So far I’m loving the car. It was the higher end model for that year with leather and power everything. But it needed a different stereo, one with an aux input to run my iPod through it. I eventually found some time to install the one I’d taken from the burro, but before that I was relegated to radio and CDs. Remember those? Stands for compact disc, if I remember correctly.

One such CD I found in a box in my office was Richard Marx’s 1991 release, Rush Street. I was about 13 at the time and owned only a handful of CDs, in comparison with something like 100 gigabytes of music I have now. (Not sure how many CDs that is.)

Taking Me Back to Endless Summer … Days

Ah, Richard Marx. The golden boy of the ‘80s with the pretty voice and the ballads that made all the girls swoon. (Or was it the hair?) There was “Endless Summer Nights” and “Hold On to the Nights” and later on, “I Will Be Your Man.”

His third CD, Rush Street was my favorite. When I slid that disc into my new-for-me Honda stereo and the music began pouring forth, I was transported back to my parent’s house. Somehow I remembered the lyrics after nearly 20 years, and when a song would finish, I anticipated the next one, recalling how it would begin.

(You who used to listen to full records or CDs instead of individual MP3s remember how a project was arranged. But then those greatest hits compilations would always throw me off.)

I’m not sure why as a budding keyboardist I liked Rush Street so much, since there wasn’t much piano, as before on “Right Here Waiting.” Instead each track featured layer upon layer of guitars and the fantastic studio musicians who played them. There were clean guitars, distorted guitars, chorused guitars—even the obligatory classical, nylon string guitar (in the solo on my favorite, “Hazard”).

Tommy Lee appears courtesy of …

As it’s mentioned in the liner notes (“courtesy of Epic Records”), Luther Vandross contributed to “Keep Coming Back,” which may have been my first exposure to the Fender Rhodes electric piano, a bit of a throwback for an early ‘90s release. I miss liner notes. Sure, you can find the lyrics on the Internet today but not who plays what instrument, nor where it was recorded (not less than ten different studios for Rush Street). Without liner notes, I wouldn’t have known that Tommy Lee played drums on “Streets of Pain” or who played piano on “I Get No Sleep”—some guy named Billy Joel.

At an impressionable age, I listened to Rush Street hundreds of times, so it’s understandable that you can trace Richard Marx elements in my singing. I hadn’t realized this, until someone at church awhile back said my voice reminded her of someone. At first I figured she’d say Michael W. Smith, since many people likened me to him—not exactly something I was happy about. But then she said it was Richard Marx. Certainly not a comparison I mind even today.

What about you? What CD did you play hundreds of times back when you only owned a handful?

Check out this video. Gotta love the hair. Strange how in the end one guy starts hugging his guitar.

One thought on “Richard Marx: Rush Street

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