Blues Brothers' guitarist Matt 'Guitar' Murphy dies at 88
Murphy fronted his own band starting in 1982 and toured up until recently. The reason for his death has still not been released.
Matt "Guitar" Murphy who is best known as one of the veterans of the Chicago blues scenes of the 40s and the 50s, and was one of the stalwarts of the 'Blue Brothers' band, has died. Murphy was also known to be a renowned sideman with Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, James Cotton and many others. He has also worked with various artists including, Turner, Etta James, James Cotton, Willie Dixon, and Sonny Boy Williamson.
The 88-year-old musician's death was confirmed by his nephew, Floyd Murphy Jr., on Facebook, who stated: "Well they say when it rains it pours... I was just told that my uncle Matt Guitar Murphy passed away last night. I can't feel a freaking thing in my body now but I must stay strong cause he was a strong man that lived a long long fruitfull life that poured his heart out in every guitar solo he took... yes the master is up stairs now with my father and mother,uncle Melvin Murphy, Jimmy Biggins, Eric Udell, Alan Ruben,BB King,Etta James... the list is just way too long folks but there all together again doing what there known for across the world ....love you uncle tell dad hi for me.... May you RIP."
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of one of the blues brothers - the legendary Matt Guitar Murphy has passed away. Through his music, he will live forever. We ask that you join us while we offer condolences to the entire Murphy family," posted Blues Brothers Official on their Instagram page as a tribute to the guitarist.
The reasons behind Murphy's death are still unknown. However, reportedly, Murphy had suffered a stroke in the summer of 2002 which led him to semi-retirement, as he returned only a few years later to perform again. He was residing in Miami, Florida, until his death on June 15.
The Rolling Stone magazine noted, that Murphy is best remembered as the indispensable guitarist in the 1980 comedy classic 'The Blues Brothers', where he acted as the chef Murphy and the husband of his waitress wife Aretha Franklin. It was during a disagreement over him rejoining the Blues Brothers that resulted in the iconic performance of Franklin's 'Think'.
Murphy was discovered at a New York club in 1978 by Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi. Billboard reports that it was in the same year when he was recruited for the Blues Brothers' album, 'Briefcase Full of Blues', and also for the film's soundtrack two years later. Murphy reprised his role in the 1998's 'Blues Brothers 2000', also contributing to the film's soundtrack.
In an obituary, the Miami Herald recalls that it was Murphy's collaboration with Sam Moore in 1967, that really put him on the pop culture radar After a few years he joined the Blues Brothers band which was based on a Belushi-Aykroyd sketch on 'Saturday Night Live'.
Murphy fronted his own band starting in 1982 and toured up until recently. He played a reunion show with Cotton in 2010, and appeared at the April 2013 Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden in New York.