Elliott Murphy

Elliott Murphy

Infobox musical artist
Name = Elliott Murphy

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Birth_name = Elliott James Murphy
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Born = Birth date and age|1949|3|16|mf=y
flagicon|USA New York, United States
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Genre = Rock
Occupation = Singer, songwriter, novelist, journalist
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URL = http://www.elliottmurphy.com/
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Elliott James Murphy (born March 16 1949 on Long Island, New York) is an American rock singer-songwriter, novelist, producer and journalist living in Paris.


Elliott James Murphy Jr. was born in Mercy Hospital, Rockville Centre, New York in 1949 to a show business family. His mother Josephine was a former actress while his father, Elliott Sr., was the well-known impresario whose multi-faceted Aquashow ran all through the 1950s on the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair. The show was staged in an Art Deco outdoor theatre and featured diving clowns, ballet swimmers, jugglers, comedians and The Duke Ellington Orchestra. Later, Elliott Sr. opened the Sky Club in Roosevelt Field, Long Island not far from where Charles Lindbergh took off for his historic flight to Europe. The Sky Club was a politically connected restaurant/private club hosting such famous politicians of the time as Bobby Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller. But more impressive to the young Elliott were the Sky Club's dance soirees, which featured The Ronettes, Jay and the Americans and The Seeds.

Elliott grew up in nearby Garden City, started playing the guitar at 12 years old and with his band The Rapscallions he won the 1966 New York State Battle of the Bands. He began writing songs while singing on the streets of Europe in 1971 and returned to New York after a brief stay in San Francisco to secure a record contract with Polydor Records. His debut album "Aquashow" (1973) was a critical success landing on many "best of" lists for the year and feature stories on Murphy appeared in "Rolling Stone", Newsweek and "The New Yorker". Follow up albums "Lost Generation" (1975), "Night Lights" (1976) and "Just A Story From America" (1977) received equal acclaim. Special guests included Mick Taylor, Billy Joel, Phil Collins. His music was post-Bob Dylan poetic rock heavily influenced by New York's Velvet Underground and propelled by Murphy's driving electric guitar and harmonica. After four albums on major labels Murphy was one of the first American artists to go independent (by both choice and necessity) with the release of the EP "Affairs" (1980) that sold well in Europe and set the stage for the successful "Murph The Surf" (1982). In 1985 the Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) produced "Milwaukee" began his long relationship with New Rose Records in France. By this time Murphy was touring Europe constantly and finally moved to Paris in 1989 where he continues to live with his wife and son. "Selling The Gold" (1995) featured a duet with Bruce Springsteen, long-time friend, who often has invited him on stage during his European shows.

In addition to his music Murphy has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, Mucchio Selvaggio and various European magazines and has published "Cold & Electric", a semi-autobiographical novel, in French, German and Spanish editions as well as two short story collections ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Where the Women Are Naked And The Men Are Rich") and in 2003 Café Notes (Hachette, France). In a recent Spanish TV appearance he said, "Literature is my religion and Rock and Roll is my addiction." In 2005 he published his neo-western novel "Poetic Justice" (Hachette, France) with an Italian version expected in 2007. The novel has attracted interest from film producers as well.

His recent albums "Beauregard", "Rainy Season", "Soul Surfing" and "La Terre Commune" (a duo with Iain Matthews) have marked a renaissance in his recording career with many critics calling his double album "Strings Of The Storm" his finest to date. With French guitar wizard Olivier Durand he tours constantly, playing well over 100 shows a year all over Europe and to sum up their 10 years together is "Never Say Never...The Best of 1995-2005", a CD + bonus DVD package of performances, videos and a discography showing all 26 album covers was released in 2005. That year also saw the publication in France of "Poetic Justice", Elliott's neo-western novel that will soon be translated into Italian and English. The year ended with Murphy Gets Muddy an album of 10 classic blues covers and 5 Murphy blues originals. In early 2007 his new album Coming Home Again was released in Europe and on iTunes. Elliott Murphy's 30th album Notes From The Underground has been released in 2008.

Discography and Books

Albums and EPs:

* Aquashow (1973)
* Lost Generation (1975)
* Night Lights (1976)
* Just a story from America (1977)
* Affairs (1980)
* Murph the surph (1982)
* Party girls / Broken poets (1984)
* Milwaukee (1985)
* Change will come (1987)
* Aprés le déluge (1987)
* 12 (1990) "US re-edition:" Unreal City (1993)
* If poets were kings (1992)
* Paris/New York (1993)
* Selling the gold (1995)
* Beauregard (1998)
* Rainy season (2000)
* La terre commune (with Iain Matthews (2001)
* Soul surfing (2002)
* Soul surfing - the next wave EP (2002)
* Strings of the storm (2003)
* Murphy gets muddy (2005)
* Coming Home Again (2007)
* Notes from the Underground (2008)
* Elliott Murphy Sings Dylan (2009)


* Diamonds by the yard (1991)
* Going through something - the best of 1982-1991 (1996)
* Never say never - the best of 1995-2003 + live DVD (2005)


* Live Hot Point (1991)
* April - a live album (1999)
* The last of the rockstars... and me and you (2001)

Guest appearances:

* David Johansen - "Here comes the night" (1982): guitar, harmonica (the then Elliott Murphy Band is the album personnel)
* Rocking Chairs - "Freedom Rain" (1988): voice and guitar on "Wild Horses"
* Rocking Chairs - "No sad goodbyes" (1989): producer


* Cold and Electric (1989)
* Where the Men are Rich and the Women are Naked (1992)
* The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1992)
* Café Notes (2002)
* Poetic Justice (2006)

Other related musicians

Beside his close friend Bruce Springsteen and co-author Ian Matthews, many musicians have often appeared in Elliott Murphy albums as guests. Amongst those:
* Mick Taylor
* Billy Joel
* Violent Femmes and Brian Ritchie
* David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter, former singer of the New York Dolls)
* Michael Niemayr
* Cindy Bullens
* Gene Parsons
* Garland Jeffreys
* Chris Spedding
* Kenny Margolis
* Shawn Colvin
* Sonny Landreth
* The Smithereens
* Richard Sohl from the Patti Smith group
* Ernie Brooks formerly of The Modern Lovers

* Fred Prellberg is a musician whose style pays, both in lyrics and music a strong homage to Elliott's, to the point he covered "Last of the rock stars" as title track of his debut album.

His current backing band, sometimes referred to as The Normandy All Stars, is formed by
* Olivier Durand on guitar
* Laurent Pardo on bass and cello
* Alan Fatras on drums

Taping-friendly policy

Elliott is one of many artists who have issued a "non commercial tapers-friendly" official policy. His shows may be freely recorded and spread as long as it's done in an entirely non-commercial way. Many bootlegs have always existed of his concerts, mostly of great quality. Elliott's live show are embued with energy and charm, and usually, such qualities are faithfully reflected on the recordings, to the point that a minority of fans regard them (but this is a personal opinion of theirs) as even better than the official live recordings.

ound and Instrumentation

Even if Elliott himself is not a guitar wizard, his electric albums (up to the 90's) always had a "signature sound" given by his faithful Stratocaster. Since he started working with guitarist Olivier Durand in 1996, his sound has dramatically turned much more acoustic for two reasons: the acoustic set is easier to set up allowing better results for an artist who play relatively small (100-300 places) venues and who plays a lot (100+) of gigs a year, and Olivier Durand is a true guitar virtuoso who regularly impresses audiences with the sound of his acoustic guitar who is now a trademark of Elliott's music. After a short time using Guild guitars (mostly on the Beauregard album) he started using Taylor guitars for they uniquely versatile sound.He always played harmonica, traditionally the classic Hohner and more recently Tombo's Lee Oskar.


* [http://www.elliottmurphy.com/ Official site]
* [http://graphikdesigns.free.fr/elliott-murphy-site.html Elliott Murphy Fan site]
* [http://www.therainyseasonfans.com/English/index.htm Elliott Murphy Fan site]

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