Chris Murphy, the manager who is credited from taking legendary rock band INXS from the Australian pub scene to international superstardom has passed away. He was 66 years old.
Murphy passed away with an aggressive form of cancer he was diagnosed with. just days before Christmas. The cancer, mantle cell lymphoma is one that affects white blood cells.
Born Christopher Mark Murphy and known also as “CM”, he was hired as INXS’ manager in late 1979. At the time the band was still playing the Australian pub circuit and still had yet to release its first album. Murphy was considered an astute business manager and contract negotiator. At the time he was working as a booking agent. Late in 1979, he met with Gary Morris who was managing Midnight Oil and INXS. Morris wanted to focus on Midnight Oil and asked Murphy to take over INXS.
By early 1980 the band had signed a five-album record deal. He worked to bring in Mark Optiz, who would be the producer responsible for INXS’ early success. By 1991, the band was reached its peak in popularity playing in front of 71,000 at Wembley Stadium.
In 1995, with the band’s popularity in decline, Murphy and INXS would part ways. In 1997, INXS would go on to release another album called Elegantly Wasted without Murphy. While in the middle of that Tour for that album, lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room. From that point INXS continued to go on with lead singers Jon Stevens and J.D. Fortune.
Late in 2008, Murphy returned to manage INXS. He signed them to his company Petro Electric. Shortly after, the band and lead singer J.D.Fortune parted ways. He would produce an album called Original Sin in 2010 which featured guest vocalists covering earlier material by the band. After a brief reunion with Fortune, the band would part ways with him again, and Murphy worked to bring in Northern Irish vocalist Ciaran Gribbin. By 2012, the band announced they would stop touring – essentially putting INXS on indefinite hold.
The band issued a statement on the passing of Murphy:
“It is with great sadness that the remaining members of INXS mourn the passing of our brother, Chris Murphy. Without Chris’s vision, passion and hard work, the INXS story would be totally different.
“Chris’s star burned very bright and we celebrate a life well lived and send all our love to his family.”
Murphy is survived by his wife Caroline; five children, six grandchildren his mother Janice; and sisters Charne and Tanya.
Photo Credit: Murphy Media Academy, except where noted.