His biggest hit actually started as a love letter to his wife, Cynthia, who, at that time, he had been dating for two years. The couple was forced apart by their work—he was on a world tour, she was filming a movie in Africa—for three months. “This was before Skype, before email,” he told Radio.com. “This is when long distance calls cost 44 dollars a minute.”
Marx sat down one day to write away his pain and 17 minutes later he had “Right Here Waiting.” He sent the cassette (“That’s how long ago 1988 was,” he joked) and never planned to sing the song again.
Unfortunately, Cynthia started playing it for their friends and everyone started asking, “When are you going to record this?” But Marx wasn’t interested in letting other people hear his feelings, comparing the song to a love letter in the newspaper.
“I’m a guy, I write songs like that, but I can’t say, ‘Oceans apart, day after day,’ I can’t say that,” he said.
Marx soon decided to compromise and have someone else record the song. He pitched the song to Barbra Streisand. But she had a few issues with his lyrics.
“She called and said, ‘I love this music, this melody is gorgeous, but if I’m going to record it, I’m going to need you to rewrite the lyrics because I’m not going to be right her waiting for anybody,’” he said laughing.
So Marx threw it on his second album, 1989’s Repeat Offender, and it soon became his most recognizable hit.
Even now, fans come up to Marx telling him how special “Right Here Waiting” is to them.
“Me and Cynthia talk about how that’s our song,” he said. “But eventually it became everybody’s song.”
– Shannon Carlin, Radio.com