Peter Murphy (musician)

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Peter Murphy
Murphy performing in April 2011
Background information
Birth namePeter John Joseph Murphy
Born (1957-07-11) 11 July 1957 (age 62)
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
Genres Gothic rock, post-punk, alternative rock [1]
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active1978–present
Associated acts

Peter John Joseph Murphy (born 11 July 1957) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. [2] He was the vocalist of the goth rock band Bauhaus and later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Love Hysteria , Deep , and Holy Smoke . Thin with prominent cheekbones, a baritone voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, he is often called the "Godfather of Goth". [3] [4]

Gothic rock is a style of rock music that emerged from post-punk in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted towards dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and the Cure.

Bauhaus (band) English gothic rock band

Bauhaus were an English rock band, formed in Northampton, England, in 1978. The group consisted of Daniel Ash, Peter Murphy, Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass). The band was originally named Bauhaus 1919 in reference to the first operating year of the German art school Bauhaus, although they shortened the name within a year of formation. One of the pioneers of gothic rock, Bauhaus were known for their dark image and gloomy sound, although they mixed many genres, including dub, glam rock, psychedelia and funk.

<i>Love Hysteria</i> 1988 studio album by Peter Murphy

Love Hysteria is the second solo album by the British solo artist Peter Murphy, formerly of the gothic rock band Bauhaus. It was released in 1988.


Early life

Murphy was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire on 11 July 1957. [5] He is of Irish descent. [6] He was raised in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, where he was a school friend of Daniel Ash.

Northampton county town of Northamptonshire, England

Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 60 miles (97 km) north-west of London and 45 miles (72 km) south-east of Birmingham. It is one of the largest towns in the UK. Northampton had a population of 212,100 in the 2011 census.

Wellingborough market town in Northamptonshire, England

Wellingborough is a large market town in the Wellingborough district of Northamptonshire, England, 11 miles (18 km) from Northampton on the north side of the River Nene.

Daniel Ash British musician

Daniel Gaston Ash is an English musician, songwriter and singer. He became prominent in the late 1970s as the guitarist for the iconic goth rock band Bauhaus, which spawned two related bands led by Ash: Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets. Recently, he reunited with bandmate Kevin Haskins to form Poptone, a retrospective of their respective careers, featuring Kevin's daughter Diva Dompe on bass. He has also recorded several solo albums. Several guitarists have listed Ash as an influence, including Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.



Daniel Ash convinced Murphy to join Bauhaus, 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". [7] 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.

<i>The Hunger</i> (1983 film) 1983 erotic horror film by Tony Scott

The Hunger is a 1983 erotic horror film directed by Tony Scott and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. It is the story of a love triangle between a doctor who specialises in sleep and aging research and a vampire couple. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1981 novel of the same name by Whitley Strieber, with a screenplay by Ivan Davis and Michael Thomas, and is Scott's feature directorial debut.

Bela Lugosis Dead single

"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a song by English post-punk band Bauhaus. This song was the band's first single, released on 6 August 1979 by record label Small Wonder. It is often considered the first gothic rock record.

David Bowie British musician, actor, record producer and arranger

David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

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 television performance to Bauhaus's "Hollow Hills" – he formed Dalis Car with Mick Karn, the bass player from Japan. The group recorded only one album.

Kevin Michael Dompe, better known as Kevin Haskins, is a drummer, best known from the British rock group Bauhaus. He was also a member of Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets.

David J British musician

David John Haskins, better known as David J, is a British alternative rock musician, producer, and writer. He was the bassist for the gothic rock band Bauhaus and Love and Rockets.

Dalis Car was a musical group formed in 1984 by Peter Murphy (vocalist), Mick Karn and Paul Vincent Lawford.

Peter Murphy in San Francisco, 1987 Peter-murphy-kyoto-sf-np.jpg
Peter Murphy in San Francisco, 1987

After Dalis Car's lack of commercial success, Murphy's first solo album, Should the World Fail to Fall Apart , 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.

<i>Should the World Fail to Fall Apart</i> 1986 studio album by Peter Murphy

Should the World Fail to Fall Apart is the debut album by the British solo artist Peter Murphy, formerly of the gothic rock band Bauhaus. The album contains Murphy's covers of Magazine's "The Light Pours Out of Me" and Pere Ubu's "Final Solution." It was released in 1986.

The followup, Love Hysteria , was not successful in the UK although in the US it performed better than his previous solo releases. The album also marked the beginning of a long-term collaboration with songwriter Paul Statham from B-Movie, 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.

B-Movie (band) band

B-Movie are a new wave band from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, active in the first half of the 1980s.

MTV American pay television channel

MTV is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of owner Viacom Media Networks and is headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, and originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students.

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.[ citation needed ] The single "Cuts You Up" from Deep held on to the top spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for seven weeks.


Peter Murphy moved to Turkey with his wife, and a Middle Eastern influence can be heard in his later albums. [8] 1992's Holy Smoke mixed some traditional Turkish influences into the music while continuing the sound pioneered on Deep .[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]


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 30 November 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 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.

Peter Murphy performing on the 2002 Dust tour Peter Murphy performing on the 2002 Dust tour.png
Peter Murphy performing on the 2002 Dust tour

Shortly thereafter, Murphy collaborated with the Turkish artist Mercan Dede on the album Dust . [5] 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 unusual work to date and is most proud of the song "Your Face" from the album. [9]

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 Europe and the US to promote Unshattered in 2005, with a live band featuring guitarist Mark Thwaite, (The Mission , Tricky) on guitar, Jeff Schartoff 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.

In 2009, Murphy appeared at shows across the United States with Reznor, and the band members Reznor had for the 'Lights in 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. [10]


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 a negative reaction from Perry.[ citation needed ]

In 2010, Murphy made a cameo appearance in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as "The Cold One". [11] 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 Dalis 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 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 4 January 2011. According to the biography on Karn's website, the four songs the duo recorded will be released as an EP later in 2011. [12]

In February 2011, Murphy announced a 29-date tour across North America to support his upcoming album Ninth, released in June 2011. [13] 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. [14] [15]

Starting in April 2013, Murphy toured Europe and the US on the Mr Moonlight Tour, celebrating 35 years of Bauhaus, with longtime guitarist Mark Thwaite, drummer Nick Lucero and bassist Emilio DiZefalo-China. [16] He later replaced guitarist Mark Thwaite (who left the band in September 2013) with Andee Blacksugar in October, who finished out the remaining tour dates in China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.

In June 2014, Murphy released his 10th studio album Lion .

In June 2015, Murphy released Remixes From Lion– a companion piece to last year's tenth solo album Lion that was produced by Killing Joke bassist Martin Glover who is listed as "Youth" on the Lion album. This release includes "Youth" remixes of songs from Lion as well as 4 bonus songs from the Lion recording sessions. Murphy describes the Lion material as "a mixture of stuff, almost like operas for the dispossessed. It's very romantic and very deep and emotional, quite symphonic in places, but then becomes, like, a rabble-rousing pirate sea shanty."[ citation needed ]

On December 12, 2018, Murphy was ejected from a Bauhaus concert in Stockholm. According to online sources, [17] [18] Murphy was upset at sound issues and people talking loudly. He then proceeded to throw glasses and bottles, injuring at least one member of the audience before destroying the mixer table. There is also video evidence of Murphy hitting a security guard in the face. Videos show an unfazed Murphy performing in Athens the next night, as if nothing had happened.

Personal life

In 1992, Murphy moved to Istanbul with his Turkish wife, Beyhan, who is the head choreographer of the Turkish National Modern Dance group. [6] He is a Sufi Muslim. [6]


Studio albums

Live albums

  • aLive Just for Love (2001)
  • Mr. Moonlight Tour – 35 Years of Bauhaus (2014)
  • Wild Birds Live Tour (2015)
  • Bare-Boned and Sacred (2017)
  • Live in London (2019)


Singles and EPs

YearTitleChart positionsAlbum
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"55110
"A Strange Kind of Love"21
1992"The Sweetest Drop"2 Holy Smoke
"You're So Close"18
"Hit Song"
1995"The Scarlet Thing in You" Cascade
"I'll Fall with Your Knife" (promo only)
1997Recall EPNon-album EP
2009"Instant Karma!" iTunes Secret Covers
"Space Oddity"
"Transmission (Live And Cracklin)"
2011"I Spit Roses" Ninth
"Seesaw Sway"
The Secret Bees of Ninth EPNon-album EP
2014"Hang Up" Lion
"I Am My Own Name"

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  1. Goodman, Wİlliam (27 August 2009). "Watch: NIN Joined by Bauhaus' Peter Murphy!". Spin . Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. Dom Gourlay (25 September 2011). "DiS meets Peter Murphy". Drowned in Sound. Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Having emerged from the tail end of punk rock's ethers in 1978 as lead vocalist with iconic four-piece Bauhaus, Peter Murphy has forged a reputation as one of the most unique, and challenging songwriters of his and every subsequent generation since.
  3. Gill, Andy (16 August 2002). "Album: Peter Murphy". The Independent. London: Independent News & Media. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  4. Theiner, Manny (19 June 2008). "Music Preview: Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy tours with solo retrospective". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  5. 1 2 "Peter Murphy | Portrait of a Sufi Artist from West". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 DAVID BRINN  (15 July 2010). "A role to sink his teeth into Jerusalem Post 15 July 2010". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  7. "Bauhaus Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  8. "Peter Murphy Interview". 16 June 2002. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  9. "Interview with Peter Murphy about Bauhaus, "Go Away White" and his solo career, February 2008". 25 February 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  10. "Peter Murphy – Secret Cover Tour". Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  11. "The Official Site of Peter Murphy". Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  12. Archived 6 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "Peter Murphy Official Site". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  14. "I Spit Roses – Single by Peter Murphy". iTunes Store. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  15. "Seesaw Sway – Single by Peter Murphy". iTunes Store. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. Aftonbladet. or empty |title= (help)
  18. Brooklyn Vegan. or empty |title= (help)
  19. Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman (1997). The collected Sandman covers, 1989–1997. Watson-Guptill. p. 1. ISBN   9780823046324. The Sandman image was inspired hy Peter Murphy, the ex-Bauhaus singer and Maxell tape model, because when artist Mike Dringenberg saw the original sketches for the character, he said: "He looks like Peter Murphy from Bauhaus."
  20. Kelly Jones (2004). Joseph McCabe (ed.). Hanging out with the dream king: conversations with Neil Gaiman and his collaborators. Fantagraphics. p. 92. ISBN   9781560976172. ['Sandman' artist Kelly Jones talks about the inspiration behind Dream's appearance] I know Neil always said [the Sandman] was based on Robert Smith of the Cure, but I just hated the Cure. I didn't want to hear that. I was really into Peter Murphy at that time, the guy from Bauhaus. I didn't like Bauhaus, but I liked him on his own, and he had a song called "Cut You Up" or something; it was on the radio at the time. I bought the CD, and I said, 'You know, with that big poufy hair, he looks like that guy.' At that time, Murphy was very gestural. I don't think the guy ever had a picture taken of him that wasn't angled and in deep lighting. So I took that, too. I said, 'Whenever I do him, I'm gonna do that kind of thing. And get into his face, don't just keep him in deep shadow all the time. He will be in deep shadow all the time, but I want to put across a guy who's clueless. Not stupid, but he's not understanding things.' Because he's an immortal guy who...
  21. Neil Gaiman (16 February 2013). "The official Neil Gaiman Tumblr". Tumblr. Retrieved 10 July 2013. The original idea-model for Morpheus was Peter Murphy from Bauhaus.
  22. Neil Gaiman. "Neil Gaiman – FAQ – Comics" . Retrieved 22 September 2012. If I remember correctly Dave based the face on the cover of Sandman No. 1 on an image of Peter Murphy.
  23. Gavin Baddeley, Paul A. Woods (2006). Paul A. Woods (ed.). Goth chic: a connoisseur's guide to dark culture (2 ed.). Plexus. p. 1941. ISBN   9780859653824. Sandman inker Mike Dringenberg observed, '"Hey, [he] looks like Peter Murphy from Bauhaus.'" Cover artist Dave McKean and Gaiman 'got some Bauhaus videos and immediately saw that Mike was right; and Dave ended up making the central image on the cover of Sandman [number one] a Peter Murphy-like face.
  24. Evans Smith, Nathan Brown (2008). "22: Comparative Mythology in Pop Culture". The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Mythology. Penguin. p. 287. ISBN   9781436268103. The physical appearance of Eric Draven was based heavily on the face of Peter Murphy of the band Bauhaus, who O'Barr also saw while in Germany, and the body of rock icon Iggy Pop.
  25. Mark Voger (2006). "As the Crow Flies". The Dark Age. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 51. ISBN   9781893905535. Q: How did the Crow character of Eric come to you? O'Barr: Basically, I was just playing around with the makeup on the face. I was in England. On the side of a building was painted the three faces of the English theater, which were Pain, Irony and Despair. The smiling face was Irony. So that's basically where the makeup came from. Physically, Eric is kind of a mixture of Iggy Pop and Peter Murphy.
  26. Durham, RB (10 February 2015). Twilight: An Unofficial Companion. p. 246. ISBN   978-1312907089.
  27. Erica K. Landau (30 October 2009). "Grrrly Talk: Q&A with Jewel, Playing at the Fillmore Tuesday, November 3". Miami New Times. NT: You once opened for Peter Murphy. That's really funny. Are you a fan of Bauhaus? J: I didn't really know who they were until I opened for Peter Murphy and then I realized how influential they were, which is really fascinating. Goth sort of before goth happened. But it was a difficult show to open for.
  28. Jewel (15 September 2015). Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 180. ISBN   9780399174339. I was nowhere near famous, opening for Peter Murphy of Bauhaus in small clubs. Goth fans in makeup, fangs and scars, and black clothes.
  29. Nielsen Business Media, Inc (September 1995). "Newsmakers". Billboard . 107 (37): 89. ISSN   0006-2510.
  30. Pierre Perrone (11 March 2004). "John McGeoch" (Obituary). The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 2 July 2018.