IN MEMORIAM: Ralph Murphy, Country Musician/Songwriter // Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths
Ralph Murphy (1943 or 1944 – 28 May 2019) was a British-born Canadian musician, record producer, and songwriter. Murphy was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
Murphy was born in Saffron Walden, England during World War II [at the height of the war]. At the age of six, Murphy emigrated to Canada with his mother. An avid lover of music, Murphy taught himself to play guitar and began playing gigs in Wallaceburg, Ontario at the age of 14. At 17 he moved between Los Angeles and New York City making his way in the music business.
At 19, Murphy moved to London, signed a record deal with Pye Records and released two singles with Jack Klaysen as The Guardsmen. The Guardsmen then changed their name to the Slade Brothers and released an additional two singles. The Slade Brothers opened for famous headlining acts, such as The Kinks, The Troggs, Martha and the Vandellas, The Byrds, and The Walker Brothers.
Murphy signed his first publishing deal with Mills Music in 1965. He had his first big hit with James Royal’s “Call My Name” in 1966. Murphy started producing records in 1966 for CBS, Fontana, Carnaby, Decca, Other hits included Billy Fury’s “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt” and the Casuals “Touched”. In 1967, Murphy joined the group Harper and Rowe. The following year, he became Raffi Murphy in the group The High Windows.
In 1969, Murphy moved to New York City and produced albums for several groups, including, but not limited to, April Wine, Mashmakhan, Shooter, Brutus, Sea Dog, Chris Bartley, and the Rock Garden.
In 1971, Murphy had a number two country hit with Jeannie C. Riley titled “Good Enough to be Your Wife” which gave Murphy his first introduction to Nashville. In 1978, Murphy moved to Nashville and began a joint venture publishing/production company with Roger Cook called PICALIC. The company achieved its first number one hit within a year with a song by Crystal Gayle called “Talking in Your Sleep”, written by Bobby Wood and Roger Cook. In 1978, Murphy cowrote “Half the Way” with Bobby Wood, which was recorded by Crystal Gayle and became a number one hit. In 1980 Murphy co-wrote “He Got You” with Bobby Wood, which was recorded by Ronnie Milsap and also became a number one hit. Murphys’ most recent success as “21st Century Christmas”, co-written with Paul Brady and recorded by Cliff Richard which made it to number 2 on the UK charts. Other artists that have recorded Murphy’s songs include Randy Travis, Ray Price, Don Williams, Kathy Mattea, Little Texas, Shania Twain, Brotherhood of Man, Vanity Fair, and many more.
Murphy has worked with ASCAP for the past 14 years to facilitate workshops for songwriters, and help protect songwriters rights. He is the author of the noted Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting, which he has posted to his website to help aspiring writers obtain success in their own careers, and has recently released an album of his previously recorded hits and also several of his own favorite previously unrecorded songs.
Murphy is a member of the Country Music Association, currently serves on the board of the Canadian Country Music Association. Currently a member of the Songwriters Association of Canada and the Songwriter’s Guild of America. He is a former president of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association, and a former President of the Nashville Chapter of the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences and former Trustee of NARAS.
2011 Jo Walker-Meador International Achievement Award
2012 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2019 SOCAN Special Achievement Award
2019 Ralph Murphy Songwriters Inspiration Award
On 28 May 2019, Murphy died of pneumonia while recovering from radiation therapy associated with cancer treatment. He was 75.
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
28: Willie Ford, 68, American soul singer (The Dramatics); Ralph Murphy, 75, British-born Canadian country musician, pneumonia; John Gary Williams, 73, American R&B singer (The Mad Lads).
27: Gabriel Diniz, 28, Brazilian singer and composer, plane crash.
26: Rémi Gazel, 41, French video game composer (Rayman), cancer.
24: Jaroslav Erik Fric, 69, Czech poet, musician and publisher, cancer.
23: Anna Udvardy, 69, Hungarian film producer (Sing), Oscar winner (2017).
22: Khalid Hossain, 83, Bangladeshi Nazrul Geeti singer; François-René Tranchefort, 86, French musicologist.