Christopher Cross (born Christopher Charles Geppert; May 3, 1951) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer from San Antonio, Texas. Cross won five Grammy Awards for his eponymous debut album released in 1979. The singles "Sailing" (1980), and "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (from the 1981 film Arthur) peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. "Sailing" earned three Grammys in 1981, while "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
Cross first played with a San Antonio-based cover band named Flash (not to be confused with the early 1970s English band) before signing a solo contract with Warner Bros. in 1978. Although best known for his vocals, Cross's guitar-playing is such that it once led to an unfulfilled invitation to play with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan. He also played guitar during a Deep Purple concert in 1970 when Ritchie Blackmore fell ill shortly before the show.
The first album, and immediate success
Cross released his self-titled debut album, Christopher Cross, 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). "Ride Like the Wind" hit No. 2 on the U.S. Hot 100, while "Sailing" topped the chart. "Never Be The Same" went No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Owing to the almost immediate success and popularity gained by the album, Cross was nominated for several Grammy Awards, garnering five. Cross was the first artist in Grammy history to win all four general field awards in a single ceremony, bringing home Record of the Year ("Sailing"), Album of the Year (Christopher Cross), Song of the Year ("Sailing"), and Best New Artist at the 23rd Annual Grammy Awards in 1981; this was not replicated until Billie Eilish won all four awards at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2020.
The second album
Cross's second album, Another Page (1983), produced "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" is used as a reference to characters on the soap opera General Hospital. Cross allowed ABC to use his song in this context; however, he has stated that he wrote "Think of Laura" not in reference to the television characters, but to celebrate the life of Denison University college student Laura Carter who was killed when she was struck by a stray bullet. 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.
The curse of the MTV generation
After 1984, Cross's star quickly dimmed. As music television station MTV grew to dominate the mainstream music scene in the United States, Cross's style of music proved to be a bad fit for the network, and Cross's brand of adult contemporary music declined in popularity.
He did, however, place the song "Swept Away" in the TV show Growing Pains. It was used during a video montage while Kirk Cameron's character Mike fell in love with a local girl while vacationing with the family in Hawaii.
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.
The year 2002 saw the release of Very Best of... album, and in 2007 he completed a Christmas album titled A Christopher Cross Christmas. In 2008, Cross 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 Secret Ladder, followed in November 2017 by Take Me as I Am.
In 2017, he played a concert in his hometown, at the Tobin Center, San Antonio, Texas. In 2018, he joined with other musicians in Austin to form the band Freedonia.
In late 2019, Cross toured with Todd Rundgren, Jason Scheff, Micky Dolenz and Joey Molland of Badfinger in celebration of the Beatles' White Album on the "It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – A Tribute to the Beatles' White Album". Cross performed "Sailing" and "Ride Like the Wind".
One common feature of Cross's album covers is the appearance of a flamingo. According to Cross, there is no meaning behind this, other than that the painting chosen for the first album cover featured the bird, which has been used as a motif ever since.
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 attended Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio and graduated in 1969. He was involved in football and track and field. Cross was married to Roseanne Harrison from 1973 until the couple divorced in 1982. His 1988 marriage to Jan Bunch ended in a 2007 divorce.
Cross has a son from his first marriage and two children from his second marriage, a son and daughter.
On April 3, 2020, Cross confirmed through his Facebook page that he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and was ill, but is recovering. Cross later reported on Twitter that he has lost the use of his legs, but his doctors have told him he should fully recover. Physicians told him his COVID-19 disease triggered an episode of Guillain–Barré syndrome that caused the nerves in his legs to stop functioning properly. On October 18, 2020, during an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Cross described what COVID-19 is like for him, in his first public appearance since contracting the virus. The effects of COVID 19 still linger as Cross considers himself a "Long Haul" survivor. Cross advocated the wearing of masks and is eager to tour again.
- 1991: The Best of Christopher Cross (WEA)
- 1999: Greatest Hits Live (CMC)
- 2001: Definitive Christopher Cross (Warner Bros./Asia)
- 2002: The Very Best of Christopher Cross (Warner Bros.)
- 2011: Crosswords: The Best of Christopher Cross (101 Distribution)
- 1981: Arthur (Motion picture soundtrack) "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"
- 1983: General Hospital (TV series soundtrack) "Think of Laura"
- 1984: Official Music of the XXIIIrd Olympiad "A Chance For Heaven" (swimming theme)
- 1986: Nothing in Common (Motion picture soundtrack) "Loving Strangers (David's Theme)"
- 2010: 30 Rock (TV series soundtrack) "Lemon's Theme"
- 1974: Electromagnets, (with Eric Johnson) - "Motion"
- 1981: Chris Christian, (Boardwalk Records) - "Don't Give Up on Us" (guitar solo)
- 1982: Long Time Friends, Alessi Brothers - "Forever" (background vocals)
- 1985: Soul Kiss, Olivia Newton-John - "You Were Great, How Was I?" (background vocals)
- 1985: Crazy from the Heat, David Lee Roth - "California Girls" (background vocals)
- 1988: Brian Wilson, Brian Wilson - "Night Time" (background vocals)
- 1989: Christmas at My House, Larry Carlton - "Ringing the Bells of Christmas"
- 1991: Love Can Do That, Elaine Paige - "Same Train"
- 1994: Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume III - "Arthur's Theme" (live version)
- 1996: Venus Isle, Eric Johnson - "Lonely in the Night" (background vocals)
- 1996: On Air, Alan Parsons - "So Far Away"
- 1998: Imagination, Brian Wilson (special edition "Words and Music" bonus disc) - "In My Room"
- 2001: A Gathering of Friends, Michael McDonald - "Ride Like the Wind"
- 2001: When It All Goes South, Alabama - "Love Remains"
- 2004: Confidential, Peter White - "She's in Love"
- 2006: Skylark, Gigi Mackenzie - "That's All"
- 2008: Soundstage: America Live in Chicago - "Lonely People", "A Horse with No Name"
- 2013: Train Keeps a Rolling, Jeff Golub - "How Long"
- 2013: Imagination of You, Eric Johnson - "Imagination of You"
- Academy Award for Best Song, 1981, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"
- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, 1981, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"
- Grammy, 1980 – Record of the Year – "Sailing"
- Grammy, 1980 – Song of the Year – "Sailing"
- Grammy, 1980 – Album of the Year – Christopher Cross
- Grammy, 1980 – Best New Artist – Christopher Cross
- Grammy, 1980 – Best Arrangement – "Sailing"
- ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, 1981, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"
- Primetime Emmy Awards, 1988 - Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics, Growing Pains (1985) episode Aloha - "Swept Away"
Performances and in popular media
- Cross filled in for guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple (who had fallen ill) by performing with the band in San Antonio, Texas, in 1970.
- Cross contributed backing vocals (along with The Beach Boys' Carl Wilson) to David Lee Roth's 1985 hit "California Girls".
- Cross performed the song "Sailing" alongside the pop band 'N Sync at the Fifth Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards in 1999.
- Cross also performed lead vocals on "So Far Away", a song from Alan Parsons' album On Air. When Parsons was touring in support of that album, Cross sometimes joined the band onstage to sing the song if he was available.
- Cross spent much of his youth living in a home on Newbury Terrace in Terrell Hills, just outside San Antonio, Texas. That home had earlier belonged to the Cummins family. Another notable San Antonian, the historian and author Light Townsend Cummins, had grown up in that same house a decade earlier. It has since been demolished.
- Cross played French horn, as well as bassoon, on the cult classic "Peanut Butter Karma" with indie rock legends Monsterland.
- Cross also contributed French horn and bassoon solos on "Two Tickets To Paradise: The Money Vegas Duets" an unreleased album of Eddie Money collaborations with Indie cult hero Greg Vegas of Monsterland, Explodee, and Hat City Intuitive fame in 1995.
- A small snippet of Cross's early hit "Sailing" (in slow-motion) was played in the DreamWorks-Aardman Animations film Flushed Away.
- "Sailing" was also featured in an episode of the Fox sitcom Family Guy. It was also revealed that the full name of Chris Griffin's character is Christopher Cross Griffin.
- Cross performed his hit song "Ride Like the Wind" on the NBC show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday, October 5, 2009, in a "Yacht Rock" themed episode. He was joined by Michael McDonald, whom he has worked with in the past. As the credits were rolling, Cross, McDonald, and The Roots, the Fallon house band, broke into "Sailing", which he also performed in an online-only performance on NBC.com.
- Toured as part of the 2002 "A Walk Down Abbey Road" tour with Alan Parsons, Mark Farner, Jack Bruce, Eric Carmen, and Todd Rundgren.
- Performed as part of the 2003 "A Walk Down Abbey Road" show, which consisted of two performances at the Atlantic City Hilton on August 8–9, with Alan Parsons, Todd Rundgren, Joey Molland, and Denny Laine.
- Christopher Cross was portrayed in the parody web series Yacht Rock by Justin Roiland.
- "Ride Like the Wind" was featured in a skit on the television series SCTV in which the song's use of Michael McDonald's distinct yet decidedly sparse backup vocal is satirized. This skit was the subject of an episode of Yacht Rock.
- Newman booked Christopher Cross for his Millennium party in Season 8 Episode 20 of Seinfeld.
- Singer Robyn Hitchcock named "Arthur's Theme" as his 'most-hated' song in a 2013 A.V. Club interview.
- "Sailing" was also featured in an episode of the Fox comedy The Last Man on Earth (TV series).