Christopher Charles Geppert on May 3, 1951 in San Antonio, Texas
Though among the list of early-'80s soft rock
and adult contemporary
artists that attracted critical scorn in the face of tremendous commercial success, American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross certainly qualifies as a major artist of the era. His career declined precipitously during the decade's later years, but Cross produced a series of seamlessly produced pop singles that helped his first two albums become mainstays on the pop charts. Here's a look at the career of one of the most signature artists of soft's rock's golden age.
Early Years & Overnight Success:
Cross spent much of the '70s honing his craft as a songwriter while performing in a Texas cover band. Signing in 1978 as a solo artist with Warner Bros., Cross almost immediately made a major mark on the national pop music scene. His self-titled debut album
was released in late 1979 and absolutely dominated 1980 at an unprecedented level of popularity. As a result, in 1981 Cross won all four major Grammy awards
for which he was nominated and then followed up that still-unmatched feat by winning an Academy award and Golden Globe for "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do),"
his second No. 1 single of his young career.
Later Hits & Slight Chart Decline:
Cross had a lot to live up to based on the smash hit status of his first album, and perhaps the five-time platinum showing of that record made it almost inevitable that all subsequent releases would pale in comparison. Even so, his follow-up efforts - including contributions to the Arthur
film soundtrack and his sophomore LP, 1983's Another Page
- were certainly no slouches. The hits may have decreased in stature, but that year's mid-tempo "All Right"
as well as the ballad "Think of Laura"
received steady airplay and at the very least flirted with Top 10 chart status in North America.
Despite Consistent Activity, the Hits Dry Up:
It may have seemed to many observers that Cross disappeared from the music scene by the middle of the decade, but in actuality the singer continued to record his own compositions for solo albums as well as for TV and film soundtracks. 1985's Every Turn of the World
and 1988's Back of My Mind
failed to generate chart relevance, but Cross remained a relatively prolific solo artist all the way through the '90s and into the new millennium. And even if his career has retained a vintage lite rock vibe that has kept Cross pigeonholed, those early successes were massive indeed.