Russ: This artist made history in 1980 with his self-titled debut album, winning five Grammy Awards, including – for the first time ever – the four most prestigious awards:
- Record of the Year (for the single “Sailing”),
- Album of the Year,
- Song of the Year (also for “Sailing”), and
- Best New Artist.
Sweeping, orchestral pop-rock was his “secret ingredient” and, no doubt about it: 1980 went down in the annals of pop music as the year of Christopher Cross.
As composer of three gold singles and a triple platinum debut LP, and winner of five Grammys, Cross had topped off his achievements by being voted Songwriter Of The Year in the second annual Songwriter Readers’ Poll. Additionally, Sailing, was the hands-down winner in the Song Of The Year balloting.
Such acclaim in the career of a veteran songwriter would be remarkable. In view of the fact that Cross was a virtual unknown just the previous year, it was phenomenal. But if he is was newcomer to the award podium, he was no newcomer to songwriting.
Ride Like The Wind
An Interview with Christopher Cross
Ride Like The Wind
Never Be The Same
Think Of Laura
– NASA Tribute with Alan Parsons – So Far Away
– with Frances Ruffelle – I Will Take You Forever
Christopher Cross (born Christopher Charles Geppert; May 3, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his US Top Ten hit songs, “Ride Like the Wind”, “Sailing”, and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”, the latter recorded by him for the film Arthur starring Dudley Moore. “Arthur’s Theme” won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1981 (with co-composers Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen).
Early musical career
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Cross (nee Geppert) began writing songs in the seventh grade, singing and playing drums in local bands. Impatient with his ability to get his material across to other band members, he took up guitar, and, to this day, does all of his writing on that instrument.
Cross entered San Antonio College in 1973, with the intention of becoming a physician like his father; but his love of music was too strong. After a year, he dropped out to devote himself fully to music.
However, his time at college was not wasted for it was there that he met up with keyboardist Rob Meurer and bassist Andy Salmon. Together with them and a changing cast of drummers (Tommy Taylor was added in 1975), Cross formed a band named Flash to make demos of his songs, playing Top 40 to pay the rent.
The new group sent out their first demo to Warner Bros. in 1975. After mulling it over a couple of months, the label returned it. The second demo went out in 1977. Ironically, this one contained the single that was to launch Cross’ career, but Ride Like The Wind didn’t kick up dust, and Warner passed once more.
Then in 1978, they sent one more demo of four tunes. This time the company was impressed enough to dispatch a representative to Austin to hear the band live; Chris’ signing occurred several months later.
The first album, and immediate success
Christopher Cross was his self-titled debut album in 1979.
The Billboard Hot 100 top 20 hits from this album included “Ride Like the Wind” (featuring backing vocals by Michael McDonald), “Sailing“, “Never Be the Same“, and “Say You’ll Be Mine” (featuring backing vocals by Nicolette Larson).
Due to the almost immediate success and popularity gained by his first album, he was nominated for several Grammy Awards, garnering him five.
He also made Grammy history by winning all four General Field Grammy awards (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist) in the same year. To date, he is the only artist to have won those four awards in the same year. He also won a fifth for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), sharing this award with producer and co-arranger Michael Omartian for the song “Sailing.”
The Christopher Cross band that signed to Warner Bros. and moved to California on the wings of “Ride Like the Wind” consisted of Cross and Meurer with drummer Tommy Taylor and Flash bassist Andy Salmon.
Rob Meurer has been playing in San Antonio bands since he was 14. Austin TX engineer Chet Himes perfected a sound Cross and Meurer had in their heads: sweeping, orchestral pop-rock inspired by the sounds of their Southern California and songwriting heroes.
The second album
Cross’s second album, Another Page (1983), included the hit songs “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (on the CD & cassette versions only, as a bonus song), “All Right“, “No Time for Talk“, and “Think of Laura“. “All Right” was used by CBS Sports for its highlights montage following the 1983 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, while “Think of Laura” was used as a reference to characters on the soap opera General Hospital.
Another Page sold well, getting Gold Certification. He also co-wrote and sang the song “A Chance For Heaven” for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.
He worked with Burt Bacharach in composing “Arthur’s Theme” for the film Arthur.
Songwriter Magazine gave Cross a great interview… http://www.dhpbear.com/music/ccross/SongwriterMagazine/index.html
The curse of the MTV generation
After 1984, Cross’ star quickly dimmed. As music television station MTV grew to dominate the mainstream music scene in the U.S., Cross’ physical appearance and style of music proved to be “a bad fit” for the network, and Cross’ brand of adult contemporary music declined in popularity.
Cross’ next two albums, 1985’s Every Turn of the World and 1988’s Back of My Mind did not produce any top 40 hits and did not sell as well as his first two albums.
Cross made three more albums in the 1990s, and although some of his releases gained critical response, he was not able to attract the mass audience he once enjoyed. After his decline in fame in the mid-1980s, he toured and opened for various acts during the 1990s.
In 2002 he released his Very Best of… album, and in 2007 he completed a Christmas album, A Christopher Cross Christmas. In 2008 recorded a new acoustic album of his hits titled The Cafe Carlyle Sessions.
In 2011 Cross released a new studio album titled Doctor Faith.
In 2013 he released A Night in Paris, a 2-CD live album he recorded and filmed in April 2012 at the Theatre Le Trianon in Paris, France.
The song “Ride Like The Wind” was featured on the “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” original movie soundtrack, released in 2013.
In September 2014 he released his latest album, Secret Ladder.
He currently continues to perform live shows.
Christopher Cross – Sailing – Epcot 2013
A self-described “Army brat,” Cross is the son of a U.S. Army pediatrician stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1950s, acting as physician for President Dwight Eisenhower’s grandchildren
He married Roseann Harrison in 1973; after their divorce in 1982, he remarried Jan Bunch in 1988.
For further insight, you may want to read this Bio / Interview: http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2012-01-20/the-reluctant-celebrity/