Ralph Murphy, hit songwriter, producer, publisher and longtime ASCAP membership executive, passed away Tuesday, May 28th at the age of 75.
Born in England and raised in Canada, Ralph Murphy wore many hats and worked extensively on both sides of the Atlantic throughout his long music career. His first #1 song in Europe was “Call My Name” by James Royal in 1966. After several years as an artist and producer, Ralph moved to New York in 1969 to produce the band April Wine, garnering two gold albums and one platinum. In 1971, Ralph had his first Country hit in Nashville with “Good Enough to Be Your Wife,” which went to #2 for Jeannie C. Riley.
By 1976, Ralph and business partner Roger Cook opened Picalic Music in Nashville. During the decade of its existence, the company prospered, while more of Ralph’s songs became hits, including “He Got You” for Ronnie Milsap and “Half The Way” for Crystal Gayle.
Ralph authored a book, Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting, and was in worldwide demand as a lecturer on songwriting. He spoke at universities, colleges, and professional songwriter organizations around the globe, and his panel on songwriting at the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO was one of the most popular sessions at the conference year after year.
Throughout his career, Ralph served as a President of The Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy and was a NARAS National Trustee, as well as a President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. He joined the ASCAP staff in 1994 and served as Vice President for International and Domestic membership, and also served on the ASCAP Southern Regional Writers Advisory Board, the Songwriters Guild of America Regional Advisory Board and was a member of NSAI, NARAS, CMA, CCMA, SAC, and SGA. He would have celebrated his 40th year as an ASCAP songwriter in September.
Ralph was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He also received the Jo Walker-Meador International Award, presented in Nashville by the Country Music Association, for supporting “Country Music’s marketing development” internationally. Earlier in 2019, Ralph was presented with SOCAN’s Special Achievement Award, an honor that is given to a person who has greatly contributed to Canada’s music industry and/or musical heritage over the course of their career.
“Ralph always fought for what was best for all songwriters and I will miss his unique perspective and incredibly valuable insights,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. She continued: “He was a loyal ambassador for songwriters whose heart was always in the right place. All of us at ASCAP have lost a great friend and one of our best advocates. We will miss his story telling, his humor and the warmth and love he shared with so many.”
ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said: “Ralph Murphy was a giant in music. For more than five decades and across several continents, his bountiful gifts as a songwriter, performer, musician, producer, author, educator and music advocate touched millions of people around the world. As a longtime member of the ASCAP family, he was a relentless champion of ASCAP’s mission to nurture each new generation of music creators to master their craft and fulfill their potential. He would often ask songwriters: “Have you told the whole story?” We’ll never know what stories Ralph had left to tell. But we do know that his legacy will enrich the lives of music creators for years to come. To some of us, he was simply ‘Da Murph,’ a title that seems to best describe a true gentleman, world traveler and remarkable friend.”
He is survived by his wife Louise Murphy, his children Shawn Murphy and Kerry Murphy, and two grandchildren.