One of the greatest guitar men of all time, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, passed away on Friday in Miami. The Miami Herald obituary explains some of Murphy’s amazing career.
Murphy was born Dec. 29, 1929, in Sunflower, Mississippi. He moved to Memphis with his family as a toddler, Deadline Hollywood reported. Alongside his brother Floyd Murphy, he became a fixture on the Memphis blues scene when they were teenagers.
Murphy played as a sideman with legendary blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Memphis Slim. He also played with Ike Turner, Etta James and Sonny Boy Williamson. In the 1970s, before scoring the gig with the Blues Brothers, Murphy was earning notices as sideman to harpist James Cotton.
As one half of Sam & Dave, it was Moore’s 1967 hit with the duo, “Soul Man,” that really put Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s name on the pop culture radar thanks to a Top 20 hit cover rendition by the Blues Brothers in late 1978.
After years of session work, Murphy joined the Blues Brothers band, which was based on a Belushi-Aykroyd sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” There, Murphy played alongside noted session musicians Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass, Steve Jordan on drums, Steve Cropper on guitar and Paul Shaffer on keyboards.
The Blues Brothers’ album “Briefcase Full of Blues,” released at the height of the disco era on Atlantic Records, was a surprise No. 1 Billboard hit upon its release in November 1978, with its live, revisionist blues material. Murphy was an essential element of the album’s two Top 40 singles, “Soul Man” and “Rubber Biscuit.”
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