Bing Search

Music News

Richard Marx
© AP / Richard Marx
Richard Marx finds Top 10 with a 'least favorite' Christmas song
By Gary Graff, Billboard

Richard Marx has scored his first top 10 hit in 14 years. And it's with a song he didn't even want to record. Marx's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" -- from his new "Christmas Spirit" album -- has, thanks to radio stations switching to 24-7 holiday music, become his first Top 10 Adult Contemporary hit since 1998's "At the Beginning."

The irony, he tells Billboard, is that the song is "one of my least favorite Christmas carols ever" and was never intended to be part of the collection.

"The album was essentially finished," Marx recalls. "Then my manager reminded me that, 'Dude, we need bonus tracks, a couple of extra tracks so that different retailers can have their own version of the record.' " "Little Drummer Boy" was on the short list for consideration, Marx says, "but I just never liked that song. It's just so monotonous." Then inspiration struck.

Bing: More on Richard Marx

"Right before I was ready to just completely scratch it off the list, I thought 'What would happen if U2 was forced to do 'Little Drummer Boy? What would The Edge play?,' " Marx recalls. "I came up with this guitar part, totally ripping off the best of The Edge, and I basically borrowed the drum groove from 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for.' So I tried to approach it like 'Little Drummer Boy' circa 'Joshua Tree'-era U2, and I wrote a bridge section for it and I walked out of the studio thinking, 'This is one of my favorite things on the record.' I was surprised but also thrilled that was the go-to track, but it made all the hard work worth it."

Marx has largely foregone his own recording career in recent years in order to focus on songwriting and production -- including the No. 1 country hit "Long Hot Summer" for Keith Urban in 2011. "Christmas Spirit," however, grew out of a series of songs he and his sons gave as holiday presents for his wife, actress Cynthia Rhodes. The family then began sharing them with friends, resulting in an EP last year and the album this year. And it might not be the last holiday music we hear from him.

"I actually said to (his wife) last month, 'You're not expecting another song this year, are you?' and she went, 'Oh yeah I am!' " Marx says with a laugh. "I looked at my boys the other day and said, 'Y'know, we have to go in and cut another freaking Christmas song for your mom.' So, yeah, I don't get any slack."

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Dec 26, 2012 12:49PM
Dec 26, 2012 4:47AM
He is an all-around talent.  Went to his concert last November in Seattle...just him, his music, his guitar, a piano a couple of times, and his sound man, and was the best concert!  Great singer, musician, songwriter, entertainer.
Dec 25, 2012 9:46AM
"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."
Dec 25, 2012 9:05AM
WOW!   People can't even get over themselves and be nice on Christmas!  Joy to the world.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
more on msn music
Miranda Lambert/Pharrell Williams/Janelle Monae
See highlights from this summers' biggest current tours and festivals
Ed Sheeran: From touring with Taylor to a single with Pharrell, British troubadour navigates to pop's mainstream
Most memorable BET moments: Check out six highlights from the 2014 awards' nearly four hour event
Courtney on Kurt: His widow and Hole front woman reveals Cobain was "desperate" to achieve rock stardom
Prince reigns: The funk-rock-pop wizard reveals another full-length set ready to roll out for fans