He doesn't have a hot single on the radio and hasn't had an album top the charts since the 1990s, but Richard Marx is still making hits.
Best known as the '80s crooner behind soft-rock ballads such as "Right Here Waiting" and "Hold on to the Nights," Marx has written for and collaborated with big-name artists across a wide range of musical genres. From those collaborations came songs such as "Long Hot Summer," which he wrote with pop-country titan Keith Urban and which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in October.
But it's something about those decades-old love songs sung by the balladeer, that fans love the most.
"People want to hear what they know," Marx said in a phone interview. "And that's fine because I'm confident in the music. I've played these songs a million times and there's nothing in my catalog that I'm embarrassed by."
Marx will give the fans exactly what they want Thursday night when he performs hits from his catalog in a one night show at the Valentine Theatre.
The one-man acoustic show tonight will feature Marx and his guitar, singing stripped down versions of the popular tunes and covers of songs he's written for other artists such as *NSYNC and Josh Groban.
"It's like having everybody over to my house and for two hours I'm telling stories," Marx said of the format. "It's like sitting there talking to old friends."
The acoustic tour started almost two years ago, and with no set end date, he said he will play as long as the fans keep buying tickets.
"I just want people to have a blast," he said. "I like to picture people in their cars thinking 'I feel like I hung out with him tonight.' "
On Tuesday, his latest album, Stories to Tell, acoustic versions of his most memorable songs, including "Hazard," "One Thing Left," "Endless Summer Nights," plus seven bonus tracks, will be for sale. The three-disc set, which also includes a DVD and a re-mastered copy of his greatest hits album, is currently available only at Walmart but will be available everywhere Tuesday. He is working on a new studio album, which is expected to be released this summer.
When he's not touring, writing, and recording music, Marx, 48, donates his time to charity. The husband and father of three sons, has an ongoing relationship with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, for which he has organized an annual benefit concert.
"I've been blessed. I feel like it's my responsibility," he said. "It's an easy call for me."
While Marx has spent the past two decades singing, touring, and writing songs for himself and other artists, he doesn't feel like he's working.
"When you're doing what you love, it's not work. It's so much fun," Marx said.
The Valentine Theatre is at 410 Adams St. in downtown Toledo. Tickets are $38.50 and the show begins at 8 p.m. Thursday. For tickets, visit valentinetheatre.com.
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at email@example.com or 419-724-6133.