Heaven Only Knows

Album: Richard Marx (1987)
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Songfacts®:

  • The last song on Richard Marx' debut album, "Heaven Only Knows" wasn't a single, but it was one of his favorites. It was a rare case of Marx needing help completing a song, as he had the track written, but couldn't come up with the lyrics. In our 2012 interview with Richard Marx, he said, "I thought nothing's coming, absolutely not a syllable is coming to me. So I called a friend of mine who is not a music writer at all, but only a lyricist, named Dean Pitchford. And Dean's written a lot of big hit songs that people know, like all the songs from Footloose, he actually wrote the screenplay to Footloose, as well. A bunch of really catchy, fun songs. But he's also written a bunch of songs that were never hits that are just gorgeous lyrics full of poetry and he's one of my dearest friends.

    And so I called him and I said, 'I'm stuck.' So I was going to have him write the lyric either completely or with me. We started to talk about the song without referencing any lyrics, and we started talking about what the music said and where my life was at the time and how exciting it was that I was about to put out my first album, but I was afraid of this and how is my life going to change, and what if it's a complete disaster, or what if it's a big hit. And we talked for about 45 minutes. And at the end of the conversation, Dean said, 'Now go write the lyric.' And I hung up the phone and I went into my music room and I wrote the lyrics.

    So that's like maybe the ultimate gift anybody's ever given me. It's such a sweet story. If you knew Dean Pitchford you'd go, Well, of course that's what happened. Because that's the kind of guy he is. He helped me go into this head space where it was effortless."

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