Christopher Cross was on top of the musical spectrum in 1980 upon the release of his self-titled debut album which produced four Top 20 Singles (Ride Like The Wind, Sailing, Never Be The Same, and Say You’ll Be Mine). For my fellow trivia buffs out there, did you know there is only one person to ever in the sixty something year history of the Grammys to win the Grand Slam for Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, Album of the Year and Record Of The Year? Yep, it’s our boy Christopher Cross who won album of the year for his self-titled debut as well as Song and Record of The Year for his hit single “Sailing”. And it didn’t stop there as one year later in 1981, he also would claim an Academy Award and Golden Globe for his performance of Arthur’s Theme (It’s The Best That You Can Do) from the classic Dudley Moore move. “When you get caught between the moon and New York City!” Now you know what I’m talking about. Did you also know his name wasn’t really Christopher Cross? I was shocked upon researching for this column that his real name was Chris Geppert. Makes sense that he changed it. Anyway….
And then a little thing called MTV debuted in 1981. Now we could see what our favorite pop music stars looked like and if their appearance would translate to a different medium other than radio. Unfortunately for Christopher Cross, MTV would be his death knell. Beyond his angelic voice was his appearance of bushy-haired chubby fellow with not much of an ounce of charisma. Compete with more stylish and good-looking musicians like David Bowie or Duran Duran he could not! Although Christopher Cross’s second album included a few more hits like All Right and Think Of Laura (which ABC beat to death to promote General Hospital with references to the popular couple of Luke and Laura), he would never see the Billboard Pop charts again and faded away. Or so we thought.
Cross was still making critically acclaimed albums, but his mass appeal was all but lost. Warner Records had dropped him due to horrible sales due to not fitting into the new pop landscape that associated a star by not just the music, but the artist’s appearance. So he decided to shift his focus toward creating music for movies and television. Do you remember the infamous Growing Pains Hawaii episode in which Mike Seaver fell in love with a beautiful native girl with a child? During the episode, a sweet four minute montage was filmed which included a beautiful tune called Swept Away. There was no internet back in 1987, and I never could determine who was responsible for such a powerful ballad! The song would go towards the back of my memory banks for some time. Who knew it was none other than Christopher Cross?
In 2002, my brother and I kept adding to our music collection and picked up Christopher Cross’s greatest hits to make sure we had the familiar tunes. The album had a few surprise tunes, but one in particular that was so wonderful that we had heard before. It took us awhile to place it as the tune featured in Growing Pains. Of course after that, we played it over and over and were in our bliss that we found another nugget for our collection. There was never a video made for the song, and the tune never charted. But it’s a Top 100 song on my list, and I would recommend it to anybody who is struggling to come up with a wedding first dance song. This song was even one that I was thinking of using for my wedding. Simply listen to the beautiful masterpiece and you’ll understand why I included it for this column!
Christopher Cross still is out there touring and is popular on the easy listening circuit. Even if he hasn’t been selling albums since 1985, he still gets a good turnout. I caught him in Albany a few years ago, and he sounded great even though he’s aged quite a bit. Enjoy Swept Away above and I hope images of Kirk Cameron immediately pop up in your head!