“Right Here Waiting”

“Right Here Waiting”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Richard Marx
“Right Here Waiting”

Written and Recorded by Richard Marx

My first album was released in 1987. A promo tour was planned that turned into a 15 month tour! I got really lucky. The first single was a hit, then the second.… I was dating my wife now, Cynthia Rhodes, and had been for about two and a half years. She’d already done a couple of things, Flashdance and Staying Alive, and she got a job in South Africa. I’d been on tour for so long that we really wanted some time together. Much to the horror of my agent and manager, I took two weeks off to fly down to South Africa in the middle of her shooting schedule. She’d already been gone for five or six weeks and we really missed being together. This was before email and text messaging and with the time change, it was hard to communicate. And it would be three months since I’d seen her.

It was 1988 and there were (rightfully) sanctions against apart-heid and the political situation there. Had I been asked, I would have gladly given my anti-apartheid position, but no one asked me. I got a call three days before I was going to leave that my visa had been denied. I got shut down.

So now I had two weeks off with nothing to do except be miserable and miss her. I called a friend of mine and set up a day to write a song. For a songwriter, songwriting is therapy, only cheaper. I wrote a raging rock and roll song, my version of an AC/DC song. We were just about done, and my friend’s phone rang and he excused himself to take the call.

There was a baby grand in another room in the house and I went straight to the piano. I sat down and “Right Here Waiting” spilled out effortlessly. It wrote itself in 12 minutes, the only time that ever happened to me. I grabbed an envelope I found and wrote down the lyrics. My friend heard me singing it and ran and got a tape recorder. He said I had to put it on tape right then. My only mission was to send it to Cynthia in South Africa to tell her how much I missed her. When she got it, the 4 minute song took her a full day to get through. She said that after every line she stopped and cried.

A few weeks later I got a call from Barbra Streisand. She’d heard my music and asked me to write a song for her. After I went home and started thinking about it, I thought about “Right Here Waiting” and decided to give it to her. She loved the music but wanted me to re-write the lyrics. She said, “I don’t want to be right here waiting for anybody!”

I told her that I didn’t want to, it was too personal. She said, “Why don’t you record it?” I didn’t want to — it was too personal for me. I was in the studio recording my second album and everyone who heard it kept on telling me to record it. Very reluctantly, I did. Everyone who heard it said that I had to put it on my album.

The first single was “Satisfied,” a rock and roll up tempo song that hit #1. Radio and my fans had jumped on “Right Here Waiting” immediately. That’s when I realized that it is a universal song. It went to #1 and stayed there for three weeks. It was phenomenal for me. I framed the chart and sent it to Barbra with a note thanking her for turning down the song. We remind each other when we speak and laugh about it.

After all these years it’s still the song in my show that pulls everyone in the room together. The audience is from 12-75 years old and they all sing every word. I start it and then just play the piano and let the audience sing. I’m thrilled to have a song that ubiquitous. Soldiers and their wives have told me, “It’s our song.” What a tremendous privilege that is!

I wrote it because I missed my wife really badly. It’s not our song anymore — in a good way. It’s everyone’s song.

“Right Here Waiting”

Oceans apart day after day

And I slowly go insane.

I hear your voice on the line

But it doesn’t stop the pain.

If I see you next to never,

How can we say forever?

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

I will be right here waiting for you.

Whatever it takes

Or how my heart breaks

I will be right here waiting for you.

I took for granted, all the times

That I thought would last somehow

I hear the laughter, I taste the tears

But I can’t get near you now.

Oh, can’t you see it baby?

You’ve got me goin’ crazy.

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

I will be right here waiting for you.

Whatever it takes

Or how my heart breaks

I will be right here waiting for you.

I wonder how we can survive

This romance

But in the end if I’m with you

I’ll take the chance.

Oh, can’t you see it baby?

You’ve got me goin’ crazy.

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

I will be right here waiting for you.

Whatever it takes

Or how my heart breaks

I will be right here waiting for you.

Written by Richard Marx. © 1989 Chiboy Music

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