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The godfather of goth

By SUZY TURNER [email protected]

BORN IN England in 1957, Peter Murphy went on to become the vocalist of rock group Bauhaus.

The group that spearheaded the goth movement, Bauhaus members were known for appearing on stage dressed as vampires, would rise from coffins onto the stage and drove a hearse called the Bauhearse.

Murphy, with his thin frame, prominent cheekbones and a penchant for gloomy lyrics would become known as the ‘godfather of goth’. The group’s use of unusual recording effects and theatrical aesthetics was reminiscent of early horror films and glam rock, leading the group to become one of the most influential in the early days of goth rock.

The group split in 1983 and Murphy continued as a solo artist, as well as briefly dabbling in acting and dance.  As a solo artist, Murphy’s music was more varied than it had ever been with Bauhaus – featuring everything from pseudo-pop to haunting ballads, in which he would showcase his deep and complex vocals. After a couple of albums that went unknown, Murphy finally released, Love Hysteria, which marked the beginning of long term collaboration with songwriter Paul Statham. Singles from which included Indigo Eyes and All Night Long, the black and white video for which entered rotation on MTV.

Murphy’s popularity reached its peak when he released Deep, an album for which he completely reinvented himself as something of a rock god, dying his hair platinum blonde and giving a much more aggressive rock sound. His single, Cuts You Up, held on to the top Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for longer than any other single before. The record continued until REM’s Losing My Religion.

In the 1990s, Murphy converted to Islam and moved to Turkey with his wife. His music altered to feature more Middle Eastern influences. In the mid 1990s, his sound altered yet again, featuring a more low key laidback, ambient pop sound.

Bauhaus reformed in 1998 for the Resurrection tour, which was a great success although Murphy refused to sing certain songs due to his converting to Islam, saying their religious overtones were ‘objectionable’.

Two years later, he performed his own international tour, Just For Love, resulting in the release of a live album. He has since collaborated with Turkish artist Mercan Dede on the Dust album – work that he considers to be his most unique to date.

In 2004, Unshattered was released, followed by numerous tours throughout the US and Europe to promote it. In May 2008 Murphy recorded a cover of the song Warm Leatherette with Trent Reznor and Jeordie White from Nine Inch Nails.

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