Miami (CelebrityAccess) Matt “Guitar” Murphy, 88, best known as the guitarist for the Blues Brothers, has died in Miami.
The announcement came via a post by his nephew, Floyd Murphy, Jr., on Facebook, who did not provide place, date nor cause of death. Murphy was a a well-known bluesman when he joined the Blues Brothers on their bestselling live album Briefcase Full of Blues, which led to his role in the movie “The Blues Brothers” (as Aretha Franklin’s beleaguered husband who rejoins the band against her protests). He also made an appearance in the 1998 followup “Blues Brothers 2000” and 1980 album Made In America. He was also, of course, present for the Blues Brothers’ SNL appearance in 1978 for the song “Soul Man.”
However, Murphy, born in Sunflower, Miss., became a fixture in Memphis alongside his brother, Floyd, while still in their teens. Matt became a sideman for acts like Memphis Slim, Chuck Berry, Otis Rush and Ike Turner. He was once considered to have had a rivalry with Buddy Guy when he was living in Chicago.
“Everybody was considered a rival then, whaddya talkin’ about?,” Murphy once told TomGuerra.com, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. “We all played guitar, but it wasn’t like, ‘Who’s the toughest, who’s this, who’s that,’ ya know? But it never came from me, and I don’t think it came from Buddy. I was too busy trying to learn than care about who was the best. I’m still trying to learn how to play the guitar. I’m still learning, man. But there ain’t nothin’ you can do when you’re dead, you know? All that means is, you keep living and you’re gonna get older, and one day, you’re gonna be old. So, hang on and you will learn.”
Murphy fronted his own band starting in 1982 and toured until recently. He played at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Gutiar Festival at Madison Square Garden in 2013.
The announcement of Murphy’s passing received immediate tributes online from Bootsy Collins, Living Colour, Joe Bonamassa and others.