World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Peter John Murphy

Article Id: WHEBN0006399896
Reproduction Date:

Title: Peter John Murphy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Strange Little Girls, Wellingborough, Mick Karn, Unshattered, Hitachi Maxell, Hugh Marsh, Dust (disambiguation), Peach (pop band), Manray, Peter DiStefano
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Peter John Murphy

Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy in Chicago, 2011
Background information
Born (1957-07-11) 11 July 1957 (age 56)
Northampton, England
Genres Post-punk, gothic rock, alternative rock, experimental
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, melodica
Years active 1978–present
Labels Beggars Banquet, Nettwerk
Associated acts Bauhaus, Dali's Car, Trent Reznor

Peter John Murphy (born 11 July 1957) is an English rock vocalist. He was the vocalist of the rock group Bauhaus, and later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Deep and Love Hysteria. Thin, with prominent cheekbones, a baritone voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, Murphy is often called the "Godfather of Goth."[1][2]

Early life and Bauhaus

Murphy was born near Northampton, England, and raised in Wellingborough, England. Bauhaus were one of the establishing acts of the goth movement. Their use of spacey recording effects and theatrical aesthetics was evocative of glam rock; they became an influential group in the early days of gothic rock.

In 1983, Bauhaus appeared during the opening sequences of the horror film The Hunger, performing one of their most popular songs, "Bela Lugosi's Dead". The camera focused almost exclusively on Murphy during most of the scene, panning only briefly to the stars David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.

Bauhaus reformed in 1998 for a tour.

Solo career


By 1983, Bauhaus had broken up and Murphy went on to new projects not involving Bauhaus members Kevin Haskins, David J, or Daniel Ash. After some brief dabbling with acting and dance – including a slightly odd televised performance to Bauhaus's "Hollow Hills" – he formed Dalis Car with Mick Karn, the bass player from Japan. The group recorded only one album.

Murphy's solo career over time became more varied than Bauhaus, ranging from pseudo-pop to haunting ballads that showcased his deep and complex vocals, with lyrical themes that are often metaphysical or religious. His knack for such lyricism and the occasional pop-reinvention caused some initial trepidation in the record-buying public. After Dalis Car's lack of commercial success, Murphy's first solo album was similarly overlooked. Should the World Fail to Fall Apart did spawn several singles, including a cover of Pere Ubu's "Final Solution" that made a minor splash on the club scene.

The followup, Love Hysteria, sank without trace in his native UK, along with his career there. However, in the US it performed better than his previous solo releases. The albums also marked the beginning of a long-term collaboration with songwriter Paul Statham, who co-wrote songs with Murphy until 1995. The resulting singles "All Night Long" and "Indigo Eyes" helped garner a wider following, and the black-and-white video for "All Night Long" entered rotation on MTV.

The pinnacle of Murphy's solo popularity in the US came with the release of Deep. For this album Murphy sported hair dyed platinum blonde and returned to the more aggressive alt-rock sound that was a trademark of early Bauhaus. The single "Cuts You Up" from Deep held on to the top spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for longer than any previously released single, displacing "So Alive" by his former Bauhaus-bandmates Love and Rockets. The record was unbroken until the release of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion".


Although he had grown up in an Irish Catholic family, Murphy gravitated to Sufism in the 1990s. There were reports he had converted to Islam but he clarified in USA Today, "There was no conversion, just a recognition that it was the same message, only clearer. You don't convert, you discover an aspect of surrender, which is what Islam allegedly means."[3] He eventually moved to Turkey with his wife, and a Middle Eastern influence can be heard in his later albums.[4] In particular, Murphy has been inspired by the mysticism of Sufism and G.I. Gurdjieff. 1992's Holy Smoke mixed some traditional Turkish influences into the music while continuing the sound pioneered on Deep. The album was unable to recapture the momentum of Deep, and in the post-grunge alternative landscape, the more pop-flavored album seemed anachronistic.[according to whom?][POV? ]

In 1995, Murphy embraced a lower-key, ambient pop sound for Cascade, featuring producer Pascal Gabriel, guest work from "infinite guitarist" Michael Brook, and overall a much stronger incorporation of electronics. This album was also to be his last major collaboration with Paul Statham, who departed to form Peach with Pascal Gabriel and eventually write songs for Dido and Kylie Minogue. Cascade was also Murphy's last original release for Beggar's Banquet records, which had been his label since Bauhaus. Shortly after this departure, Murphy recorded the Recall EP for the newly formed Red Ant records, featuring a few new songs and some new, heavily electronic versions of older material, reworked in conjunction with Sascha Konietzko, Bill Rieflin and Tim Skold of the band KMFDM. Once again, he became label-mates with former Bauhaus alums Love and Rockets, who had also signed to Red Ant. This generated a significant number of rumours regarding a possible reformation of Bauhaus. While Red Ant quickly folded, Bauhaus did reform in 1998 for the Resurrection tour, one performance of which (at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City) was recorded and released on DVD by Metropolis Records as Gotham. The tour was a success, although Murphy refused to perform certain songs, because of his adherence to Islam, such as "Stigmata Martyr" and "St. Vitus' Dance". He cited their religious overtones as objectionable. The lyrics of the former include the Trinitarian formula in Latin and English, thus affirming the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.


In 2000, Murphy performed his international Just for Love tour, which resulted in the album aLive Just for Love. It is a live recording of the fully uninterrupted set from the El Rey show in Los Angeles on November 30, 2000. During the tour, Murphy chose to perform with only two back-up musicians, Canadian electric violinist Hugh Marsh and Peter DiStefano from Porno for Pyros on guitar, although former Bauhaus bassist David J sometimes joined the trio for an encore. At this point he also contributed to works by noted film composer Harry Gregson-Williams.

Also in 2000, Murphy gave a nod to the North American goth scene, where his solo works and his works with Bauhaus are still popular, by making a surprise guest appearance at the sixth annual Convergence festival in Seattle, to perform a low-key, acoustic solo set.

Shortly thereafter, Murphy collaborated with the Turkish artist Mercan Dede on the album Dust. Heavily steeped in traditional Turkish instrumentation and songwriting, coupled with Dede's trademark atmospheric electronics, the album showed Murphy all but abandoning his previous pop and rock incarnations. Dust, released on goth/industrial stalwart label Metropolis Records, alienated many fans who had expected a more uptempo Murphy album (especially post-Recall), but it garnered some critical praise. Peter Murphy considers it his most unique work to date and is most proud of the song "Your Face" from the album.[5]

In 2004, Murphy signed to yet another new label, Viastar, which was home to several other 1980s pop artists who had moved into more eclectic areas. Despite numerous problems with the label, the album Unshattered was released, showcasing Murphy returning to a more pop sound.

Murphy undertook extensive tours of the US and Europe to promote 'Unshattered' in 2005, with a live band featuring guitarist Mark Thwaite of The Mission and Tricky on guitar, Jeff Schwartoff of Human Waste Project and Professional Murder Music on bass and Justin Bennett of Skinny Puppy on drums. Murphy and the band reconvened in November 2007 for shows in Portugal and Spain, with Nick Lucero replacing Bennett on drums. In May 2008 Murphy recorded a cover of the song "Warm Leatherette" with Trent Reznor and Jeordie White from Nine Inch Nails. This was played live at an intimate studio performance, and the video recording was released on both the official Nine Inch Nails website and on YouTube.

On a blog posted on MySpace, Murphy announced he is at work on a new studio album to be released in 2009. The album may feature production from Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and feature Murphy's version of the track "Warm Leatherette," which they have been performing live together. Murphy has also expressed interest in taking his tour down to Australia once the new album is released.

In 2009 Murphy appeared at shows across the United States with Reznor, and the band members Reznor had for the 'Lights Over the Sky Over North America 2008' tour. He also appeared with Nine Inch Nails on in August 2009 at Terminal 5 as special guest musician. Additionally, he appeared with Nine Inch Nails on 28 and 29 August at the Aragon Ballroom.

Throughout 2009, Murphy released a series of cover songs exclusively through iTunes. The released songs are "Instant Karma!" (originally by John Lennon), "Space Oddity" (originally by David Bowie), "Transmission" (originally by Joy Division), and "Hurt" (originally by Nine Inch Nails). In support of these releases, Murphy underwent an international tour entitled "The Secret Covers Tour". During this time, an additional cover song, Soul of the World, was released through his official website.[6]


The spring of 2010 saw the cancellation of what would have been a 100-date world tour with Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance. Murphy cancelled due to unexplained health issues, which yielded negative reactions from Perry.[7]

In 2010, Murphy made a cameo appearance in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as "The Cold One".[8] He also collaborated with Sarah Fimm and Leigh Nash on a song called "Crumbs and Broken Shells".[9] In the summer of 2010, Murphy began his "Dirty Dirt Tour" in promotion of his studio album Ninth.

In August 2010, on a video blog on his MySpace page Murphy announced that he was once again going to be working with Mick Karn on a second Dali's Car album, adding this would be the first time they had seen each other since 1983. Several months prior to this announcement, Karn had been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. The recording session that took place in September, 2010; however, because of Karn's increasingly severe illness, they only managed to record four songs during the session. Karn succumbed to his illness January 4, 2011. According to the biography on Karn's website, the four songs the duo recorded will be released as an EP later in 2011.[10]

In February 2011 Murphy announced a 29-date tour across North America to support his upcoming album Ninth, released in June 2011.[11] Murphy released the song "I Spit Roses" as a digital single through online retailers in March 2011, as well as single "Seesaw Sway" that May.[12][13]

Starting in April 2013 Murphy is touring the US and Europe on the Mr. Moonlight Tour, celebrating 35 years of Bauhaus.

Personal life

Murphy has lived in Turkey for the last 20 years.[14] He has two children, Hurihan and Adem, with his wife, Beyhan Murphy.

On March 16, 2013, Murphy was charged with misdemeanor DUI, hit-and-run driving, and methamphetamine possession, in Los Angeles, CA. His attorney pled not guilty on his behalf. He was due back in court on May 17, 2013.[15] On Monday 14th October 2013, it was reported Peter Murphy has been sentenced to 3 years of probation plus 10 days of community service for a hit and run incident in March 2013.[16]

Popular culture

  • In Neil Gaiman's series The Sandman, Dream's face and appearance is based on Murphy.[17][18] In fact, Gaiman explained that Murphy was the original model for Morpheus.[19] Gaiman also stated that Sandman artist, Dave McKean, based Dream's face in the cover of Sandman #1 on Murphy.[20][21]
  • In the advertisements for Maxell audio cassettes, the "Blown Away Guy" model for the UK (not US) ad campaign was musician Peter Murphy.



Live albums

  • A Live Just for Love (live) (2001)



Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK Singles Chart
1985 "Final Solution" - - - 92 Should the World Fail to Fall Apart
1986 "Blue Heart" - - - -
"Tale of the Tongue" - - - -
1988 "All Night Long" - - - 100 Love Hysteria
"Blind Sublime" - - - -
"Indigo Eyes" - - - 95
1989 "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth (And That Which Cannot Be Repeat)" - 18 - - Deep
1990 "Cuts You Up" 55 1 10 -
"A Strange Kind of Love [Version 1]" - 21 - -
1992 "You're So Close" - 18 - - Holy Smoke
"The Sweetest Drop" - 2 - -
"Hit Song" - - - -
1995 "The Scarlet Thing in You" - - - - Cascade
"I'll Fall with Your Knife" - - - -
1997 "Recall EP" - - - - Non-Album EP
2011 "I Spit Roses" - - - - Ninth
"Seesaw Sway" - - - -


We were anti-rock 'n' roll and that might be pretentious but there's pretence in every aspect of art. It's all an act.[24]


External links

  • The Sweetest Drop - Peter Murphy Internet Resources (no longer updated archival website)
  • (Italian) Interview with Peter Murphy
  • may 2013 Interview with Pete Murphy
  • 8 July 2008 interview
  • Peter Murphy in Lebanon Event Review

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.