Two weeks ago, I was invited to the Mona Bismarck Centre for a screening of a documentary “The Second Act of Elliott Murphy”. Because I’m a member, I could bring someone with me: two for the price of one! I invited Barbara. She was so excited and told me she had followed him for a long, long time. Really? There is a rock ‘n roller that she knew about and I didn’t? How could that be?
As we waited in the bar to go into the screening, a man stuck his head out the door. I turned to Barbara “There’s a guy back there. I’m sure I know him. But I don’t know how I know him.” I ran through a long list of acquaintances in different parts of my world and landed ……in Paris! I’d seen him a gatherings of my friends a number of times over these past four and a half years. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked Barbara. “Just wanted to surprise you.” She had a cheshire cat look on her face.
The documentary was terrific. I kept thinking that I’ve known this guy and no one ever mentioned he was a musician. The film narrated the story of Elliott and his brother who played music together from their teens. After a bad car accident, the brother never played again but became Elliott’s agent. Both Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, good friends of Elliott’s, talked about him throughout the film.
It described his move to Paris in the late 70s and he has never left. His French fan club is huge. He married a french woman and now has a grown son who is also a musician. And all through the film, we were treated to his music.
After the documentary, we stayed for a concert. Elliott was accompanied by Melissa Cox playing an electric violin. His tunes are catchy and many are uplifting. The violin lent a dreamy air to the music. He finished by playing “On Elvis Presley’s birthday” which he said is his most popular song. I liked it but liked some others better.
At the end of the concert, he announced that the following weekend was his birthday and that he would be playing at New Morning, a jazz club in the 10th. Barbara and I bought tickets. The concert was to be at 8pm so we showed up at 7:15pm hoping to get good seats. The club hadn’t yet opened and a long line was building up. We waited and waited. It rained a little and still we waited. The doors finally opened up at 8:10pm. Is that called building up the excitement? We found good seats on the right side. By the time Elliott came out with his long time guitar player, Olivier Durand, the place was packed. People were standing everywhere. There was very little English spoken. He indeed has a French fan club.
Elliott and Olivier played three or four songs together and then out came, as Elliott called them, the Murphy Family band. Gaspard, his son, was on the electric bass. Although I had only heard some of the songs once, I was humming along as if I knew them by heart. The French were ecstatic, singing with him, screaming, clapping along, jumping up and down. It was wonderful. There is a quality of total happiness about Elliott’s songs and singing and the french response make it only more so.
Want to know more about Elliott? http://www.elliottmurphy.com
If you get the chance, go hear him. You’ll find yourself grinning and dancing—just like the old days!!! You too will fall in love with the greatest rock star you’ve just now heard of!!