Friday, April 20, 2012

Elliott Murphy “On Elvis Presley’s Birthday” (Bonus Video Friday)

Okay, quite simply stated: Elliott Murphy is the best singer-songwriter ever on the planet.  Yes, the best.  Yes, I am aware of Bob Dylan.  (In fact I witnessed Dylan’s first electric tour November 19th, 1965, at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum when I was in the eighth grade, but that’s a different blog for another time.)  Yes, I am aware of Leonard Cohen.  I am certainly well aware of Bruce Springsteen, a contemporary of Murphy’s back in the days of the "New Dylan" sweepstakes, and probably my second favorite singer-songwriter of all time.  (Or is Bruce just a flat-out rocker?)  Yes, I am aware of Neil Young, Lou Reed, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, and a host of others, hundreds of others, since rock & roll became my way of life in 1964.  For my money Elliott Murphy is better than all of them.  (He would almost certainly disagree.  In my admittedly limited personal dealings with him I have found him a humble, gracious man.)

The song presented here is "On Elvis Presley’s Birthday," Elliott’s elegy/memoir/tribute to his late father, whom he lost to a heart attack in his teens.  I also lost my father to a heart attack when I was 17 years old in 1970.  I would say it was one of the things that first attracted me to Elliott’s music, but I wasn’t aware of the fact until much later, certainly after I bought Murphy’s first LP, Aquashow, the day it was released in 1973, on the recommendation of Creem magazine, my rock & roll bible.  (I was hitchhiking to my after-college job at a hospital parking lot and intentionally scratched up the door of a Corvette when the driver who was nice enough to pick me up on that rainy day badmouthed Elliott, but that too is another blog for different day.)

It might have been the deep-down vein of sadness shot through with an almost unhealthy dose of romanticism that first hooked me into the music of Elliott Murphy back in those long-lost days of the 1970’s.  I remain hooked to this day in 2012.  It just now occurs to me that next year I will have spent 40 years with the music of Elliott Murphy as a constant in my life.

That music has been a gift for all of these 40 years.  Tonight as I type this in Ohio, somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean Elliott Murphy is likely headed from his home in Paris to a gig in Aurillac, France, according to his website,, which you should definitely check out, if only for the brilliant, insightful, gorgeous prose musings Elliott regularly posts (but don’t you dare call it a blog).  Elliott is still on the road after all these years, still bringing people just a story from America.

Elliott Murphy & Olivier Durand, in Andoain, France, 2011.
(please note, Elliott is still fully capable of rocking a pair of black leather pants in his 60's.
I'm not sure even Jim Morrison would have been able to pull that off had he lived this long.)
reproduced below is a piece I wrote for the old Elliott Murphy Newsletter (LMN) in 1992
about an only partially disastrous bus trip to New York City

© 2012 Ricki C.

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