Before he became a pop/rock heavyweight during the late '80s (and an adult contemporary balladeer throughout the following two decades), Richard Marx sang on commercials and performed as a backing vocalist for Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, and Julio Iglesias. The Chicago native also delved into professional songwriting, penning tunes for Kenny Rogers and the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack before landing a solo contract with EMI Records. Featuring production from David Cole, who later launched C+C Music Factory, Marx's self-titled debut was released in 1987 and catapulted the artist to the top of the Billboard charts. "Don't Mean Nothing" and "Should've Known Better" were slick, radio-ready singles that emphasized guitar riffs and power chords, but Marx's real strength lay with ballads like "Endless Summer Nights" and "Hold on to the Nights." By the time Repeat Offender arrived in 1989, Marx had already established his presence on the charts; nevertheless, the album helped make him a genuine star, with "Right Here Waiting" marking his third consecutive number one hit in America. Another song, "Angelia," was Marx's record-breaking seventh consecutive single to crack the Top Five.