By Steve Wiseman

Back in 1999, Richard Marx got a call from *NSYNC’s record company asking if he had any songs just lying around that might be right for the boy band. He immediately lied and said that he did.

“I wanted a ticket on that train,” Marx said. “As a songwriter you always want to be on a team that’s a winning team. And there was no more winning team right then than *NSYNC.”

After he hung up the phone, Marx immediately wrote “This I Promise You,” the ballad off the boy band’s 2000 release, No Strings Attached. He even got a chance to produce the song for the guys, thanks to a recommendation from Justin Timberlake.

On Marx’s most recent live album, A Night Out With Friends, which was recorded in Chicago as part of the PBS series Front Row Center and was released in June, he plays some of his past hits like “Right Here Waiting” and “Hold On To The Nights,” along with getting the chance to team up once again with former *NSYNC-er JC Chasez for a cover of their shared hit. Though he admits Justin is great, it’s JC that made the biggest impression on Marx after working with the group.

“I love Justin’s voice, but I’m a huge fan of JC Chasez’s voice,” he told CBS Local. “I think he’s one of the best singers I’ve ever worked with.”

Marx also brought in another good friend, Aussie heartthrob Hugh Jackman, who performed two songs– the Box Tops classic “The Letter” and “To Where You Are,” a song Richard wrote for Josh Groban–on A Night Out With Friends, but it was the ex-boy bander who really made the crowd go wild.

“You would have thought it was 1999 again,” Marx said. “The roof of the place just went off.”

More than a decade later, the boy band craze is having its second coming and Marx says he isn’t against teaming up with newbies like One Direction and The Wanted. He does admit though that he’s still more than a little surprised by all the hoopla.

“I got to the point in my mind like…’There’s not gonna be another New Kids on the Block.’ But it’s another New Kids on the Block,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just sort of like, ‘There’s no way that would come around again’ and boy, was I wrong. It’s huge.”

Shannon Carlin, CBS Local


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