Back in the 1990s, the main source of television entertainment for the people of Bangladesh was BTV. If I remember correctly there were two days designated for dramas back then, Tuesday and Thursday. Majority of the dramas, of the romantic genre and staged in the urban setting, had a one negligible fact in common. The love birds would meet up for a date at a ‘Chinese restaurant’ and the background score of that scene will be the instrumental version of Richard Marx’s “Right here waiting”.
Almost every urban youth of the 90s in Bangladesh knew that song. Or at least they knew the tune, even if they did not know who the singer was. Unknowingly, the heartthrob singer of the 1980s and 1990s shaped and even at times influenced a whole generation of youngsters, romantics and broken hearts in Bangladesh.
So when Richard Marx came down to Bangladesh for a gig on May 16, 2017, it caused little wonder when the majority of the crowd consisted of 30 plus year olds. It was pure nostalgia for them, a chance to jog down the memory lane. To them, Richard meant something more than his most popular song.
Although he was mostly known for his soul wrenching ballads, he did produce a lot of old school rock hits. I even remember jumping like a Kangaroo to his song “Should have known better” during my annual class party. The first standard version of me didn’t understand a single line he sang, but the effect was blood pumping nonetheless.
I also remember a cousin of mine, significantly senior to me, locking himself up in his room and listening to Richard Marx albums after a severe heartbreak. Years later, while he was moving out of the old house, those album cassettes got unearthed. He told the story to his wife, the person who actually broke his heart back then, and they chuckled maniacally. Incidentally, he proposed to her, in a ‘Chinese restaurant,’ after he made a spectacle by singing “Now and forever.”
I believe that there will be a lot of other stories encircling the songs of this talented musician. But I bet that he’ll never know how, somehow, his songs shaped an entire generation of music lovers in Bangladesh.