updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
Christopher Cross was at the crest of the wave of success when he first appeared in PEOPLE on Sept. 22, 1980. With two singles from his eponymous debut album—"Ride Like the Wind" and "Sailing"—in the Top 10, Cross, then 29, marveled, "Everything has fallen into place." But after collecting five Grammys and sharing a 1981 Oscar for the Arthur theme song, Cross was distressed when his second album sold half as well as his first. "With any overnight success, you feel no matter what you do next, it's not going to be good enough," says Cross, 42, who dumped his awards in a closet and sold the pedestal on which he had displayed them at a garage sale. He didn't need the money—he remains reasonably prosperous—but says, "Suddenly it all looked pretty ridiculous to me." Cross turned to pro race car driving as an escape, but after suffering a broken leg and a smashed hand, he returned to music in 1986. His next two albums bombed, but he's polishing tracks on a new release and gearing up for a tour of Japan, where he's still popular. "This time," he says, "my expectations aren't that high."