Elliott Murphy’s Amazing European Journey Enlightens Us with Prose and Song

Elliott Murphy is my latest surprise discovery and I am a wealthier man for meeting him and engaging in conversation. His vast career has taken him from Garden City, Long Island to Paris. A Rock-n-Roll, singer/songwriter, poet, performer, author and journalist for Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine, Elliott Murphy has a career worth investigating. I was most fortunate to have him on The Long Island Sound podcast.

Elliott Murphy

Looking at the experiences of this past year, I’m amazed at the various brushes with celebrity, while I lurked in the shadow of creative greatness. Unbeknownst to your humble correspondent, I stood briefly in the shadow of Elliott Murphy. Not shy to request interviews for NYS Music, I had yet to appreciate the unbelievable career of the man, who alongside Bruce Springsteen, was once touted as the next Bob Dylan. 

After a brief “How do you like the Grand Opening?” back and forth, I propositioned Elliot for a full interview on The Long Island Sound podcast, which you can find right here.

Elliott Murphy was raised in Garden City and after a sojourn through Europe, returned to New York in 1973, and was promptly signed by Polydor Records and produced his acclaimed debut album, Aquashow. Paul Nelson from Rolling Stone acclaimed:

He’s the Best Dylan since1968

Paul Nelson (Rolling Stone)

Discovering Elliott Murphy

The road to discovery is littered with potholes, twists, turns, gumption and glory. Nevertheless the search for the next great artist or song which we long to cling to and make our own, may very well be around the corner. That’s why we search, because it can appear in the most unlikely places.


My recent job was to experience the Grand Opening of the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, as luck would have it among the many notable celebrities in the music industry, I came across a humble man, open to my small talk to pass the time with me as the circus of celebrity bandied about.

Paris My New Home

Traveling through Europe on a whim and a prayer seemed to be the right of passage for many twenty something’s over the decades. In 1977, Murphy took his guitar, harmonica and talent on a trip to Italy. Elliott put out a hat for tips and sang his heart out on various street corners throughout Europe, and brought home some new honed songs to New York.

Elliott Murphy performs at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Grand Opening

Upon his return to America, he played around Manhattan and scored a record deal with Polydor Records. The birth of his acclaimed album “Aqua Show” took the critics by storm as he was touted as the next Bob Dylan alongside Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, and Louden Wainwright III, but maybe America was just not ready for this soon to be prolific Parisian ex-patriot. You’ll have to tune into The Long Island Sound podcast to get, as I say, “The rest of the story.”

Prolific Singer/Songwriter & Author

Elliott Murphy’s musical journey seems to have been born out of a dream. He must be a dreamer having authored several books, and produced over thirty-five albums. In fact if you follow Elliott Murphy on Facebook, you’ll experience his awesome ability to detail dreams from the evenings slumber with the Rock Dream posts.

My latest project is called Elliot Murphy’s rock dreams. And this is a very bizarre one. I have dreamt about rock stars ever since I can remember. But I never wrote it down. Okay.about a year or so I decided I would start writing down these dreams and putting them up on my Facebook page. And I’m up to number 86 shit.

Elliott Murphy

In October 2012, he was the recipient of the Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville De Paris.  On November 4, 2015 he was decorated with the Chevalier Ordre des Ares et des Lettres (Order of Arts & Letters), and in 2018 he was inducted to the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame by Billy Joel. He keeps going strong, touring throughout Europe, appearing at over one hundred events per year. 

During our interview, I found Elliott to be open, honest and transparent about his career and journey.

It was my privilege to spend over an hour with him as we conducted a virtual interview between New York and Paris. There is much more to unpack about Murphy’s career, and  I’m hopeful he will grant me additional interviews in the near future. (No pressure, Elliott, just say’n)

Sometimes we have to appreciate the past, and look at the historical journeys great artists have taken to appreciate their art and their careers.

The Joel/Springsteen Connection

Elliot Murphy counts Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen not only as friends and peers, but as collaborators. Here’s an interesting trailer from the documentary “The Second Act of Elliott Murphy” featuring Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

Billy Joel MSG
Billy Joel at MSG

In fact the list of collaborations is quite long, as he has worked with  Mick Taylor,  Phil Collins, Sonny Landreth, David Johansen, The Violent Femmes, Cindy Bullens and Shawn Colvin.* (Wikipedia reference) In 1995  his “Selling the Gold” a duet on the song “Everything I do- Leads Me Back to You” features Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen

When talking about “The Boss” Elliott said this:

I’ve had so many marvelous moments with him (Bruce Springsteen) he invited my son and myself to sing Born to Run with him in a venue called the Stade de Frances. The French stadium, minutes. 80,000 people Oh my god. Wow. Imagine what a thrill that was.

Elliott Murphy

The Last of the Rock Stars

The connections, the collaborations and the journey of Elliott Murphy is quite fantastic. There’s a documentary from 2015 called “The Second Act of Elliott Murphy” which explores his storied career. When Elliott Murphy first went to Europe, so many Rock Stars were passing away, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Brian Jones. This is what he had to say about his most requested song:

The last of the rock stars was written on my first trip to Europe. And it is probably the song that I played at literally every concert. I think I’ve done about 2600 concerts in my life and I think I’ve played it literally at every show

Sometimes one has to explore the road less traveled to discover new music as well as time-tested classics. I believe this new year, will be a year of hope which enriches us with great new music, as the discovery of the wellspring of talent continues. A chance brief encounter, led me to Elliott Murphy, and I am richer for it. I look forward to hearing and reading more from him, as his creative desire remains strong along with his connection to Long Island, NY. I leave you with his beautiful song, “Touch of Kindness“.

May this New Year help us build the necessary bridges through kindness and cooperation with the gift of music. Peace!

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