NEIL MURRAY


Biography

Bands/Discography:

Great bassist, he has played with (almost) every great name in music! Born Philip Neil Murray, on August 27, 1950, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He started playing drums in his first band, but later changed into his current instrument, bass.


SLAPP HAPPY AND THE DUM-DUMS  

Around 1965, he joined this amateur band with school companions Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore (both, later to be in Slapp Happy).

They stayed together until 1968.


GILGAMESH  

The name of this band comes from an ancient Babylonian king. In 1973, he join this band commanded by the late Alan Gowen:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

In November 1973, the bands Gilgamesh and Hatfield and The North performed some concerts as a joint band. This was the seed for later band National Health, as we'll see later. But Neil leaves the band that same month.


HANSON  

This band was commanded by guitarist Junior Hanson (later known as Junior Marvin, a member of Bob Marley & The Wailers). In November 1973, he changes the lineup, and Neil Murray joins him, recommended by original bassist Clive Chaman:

They released the album Magic Dragon, and toured clubs in the US in April/May 1974. But they split soon after, in summer 1974.


COZY POWELL'S HAMMER  

Again, Clive Chaman, the original bassist recommended Neil to substitute him for several gigs, in September 1974, and then again, in February 1975.

But Cozy splits the band in April 1975.


COLOSSEUM II  

Jon Hiseman resurrects in May 1975 his band Colosseum under a different perspective. No sax, but still jazz-rock oriented. He finally completed a superb lineup, although there were some different tentative initial lineups.

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

After one album, Strange new flesh, in the summer of 1976, Starrs and Murray are fired at the suggestion of Bronze Records, who then drop the band anyway.


NATIONAL HEALTH  

Band assembled by ex-members of Hatfield & The North and Gilgamesh. After several lineup changes, Neil Murray joined here in June 1976.

But Bruford goes away in December 1976, and here comes another veteran from the Canterbury scene, Pip Pyle, also from Hatfield & The North. Next problem in the band was the departure of composer Alan Gowen (and singer Amanda Parsons) around July 1977. But, when they record their first album, both Gowen and Parsons made guest appearances, plus John Mitchell (percussion) and Jimmy Hastings (flute). In 1977, they were augmented by some friends for live concerts: the great Richard Sinclair (vocals, from Caravan), Lindsay Cooper (from Henry Cow) and Jimmy Hastings.

At the end of 1977, Neil Murray leaves the band to make a change in his career. He started his hard rock solid tradition.

Complete is a later compilation comprising 22 tracks. Originally a 3LP, now it's reissued as a 2CD. Includes two unreleased tracks.

Missing pieces consists of unreleased tracks, and Murray plays on one track, 'Clocks and clouds' (although early pressings omitted his name).


WHITESNAKE  

 
After two solo albums, David Coverdale used the name of one of his albums to name his band: Whitesnake (although they were initially billed as David Coverdale's Whitesnake). This was January 1978.
(click on the photo to get a bigger image, 72 Kbs.)
(from left to right: Solley, Marsden, Coverdale, Dowle (on drums), Murray, Moody)

In March 1978, they change keyboardist:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

They released a live EP, Snakebite (later reissued as a complete CD with some studio tracks taken from Coverdale's 2nd solo album Northwinds.
Whitesnake played some songs on stage from this album in 1978). These other tracks feature guest musicians: the late Lee Brilleaux (harmonica, from Dr. Feelgood), Roger Glover (bass, also producer), Tim Hinkley (keyboards), Tony Newman (drums), Ian Paice (drums), Graham Preskett (violin), Alan Spenner (bass), plus some backing vocalists (Doreen Chanter, for example).

But again, in July 1978, the keyboardist place is empty, and in August 1978, a former Coverdale's colleague in Deep Purple, Jon Lord, joins the band.

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

Their real first album was Trouble. I like this album a lot, although it's not as hard as later albums. Trouble was the first album where I heard Neil. A fantastic album, my favourite songs are the instrumental "Belgian Tom's Hat Trick" and "Trouble", but everybody's immense in all the tracks. That's the reason why most of them are in my Olympus too. :) Also included a fine rendition of The Beatles' "Day tripper".
 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

They recorded a second album, Love hunter, with a fantastic song in it, 'Walking in the shadow of the blues'. But Dowle left them in July 1979, after this release. The third Deep Purple knight arrives, the mighty Ian Paice.

To me, their finest lineup. You'll find lots of Whitesnake musicians in my Olympus, but the music these guys made is the best Whitesnake ever released (just my 'umble opinion).
 
(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

The new album is called Ready an' willing, and it contains a fabulous ballad, 'Blind man'.
 
 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

 

In 1979 there was a Japanese-only album, Live At Hammersmith, recorded in 1978 with the Dave Dowle / Jon Lord lineup. It was re-released with Live In The Heart Of The City as a double album in 1980. But, unfortunately, the only release I've seen on CD is missing several tracks.

 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

Next album was called Come an' get it.
 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

The last album that Neil recorded with Whitesnake was called Saints & Sinners. A superb album, it contains my favourite Whitesnake song, 'Here I go again'.

(click on the photo to get a bigger image, 108 Kbs.)
(from left to right: Marsden, Coverdale, Murray, Moody, Lord. Out of the photo: Ian Paice)

Finally, Neil leaves the band in March 1982.


BADLANDS  

A very promising band. In March 1982, three great musicians join: Neil, along with John Sykes (who was leaving Tygers of Pan Tang) and John Sloman (who had left Uriah Heep in 1981).

John Sloman (vocals)
John Sykes (guitar)
Neil Murray (bass)
Graeme Pleeth (keyboards)

John Munro (drums)
They recorded some demos, as well as played two gigs (Marquee Club, London, and Zero 6 Club, Southend). But three months later, in May 82, the band was over. It mostly didn't work because EMI took a long time to decide if they wanted to sign the band, John Sykes left to join Thin Lizzy and Neil started working with Gary Moore, as we're going to read. There were more demo tapes made for EMI which Neil played on, some with a guitarist called John Lockton (from Wild Horses), and some with John Sloman playing guitar.


GARY MOORE BAND  

Murray rejoins Paice in May 1982, in Gary Moore's band. They play in Corridors of power. A fantastic album, from start to finish. With a superb lineup: Gary Moore (vocals, guitar), Neil Murray (bass), Tommy Eyre (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums), plus help from Jack Bruce (vocals in 1 song), the late Bobby Chouinard (drums, 1 song), Mo Foster (bass, 1 song). It's hard to me choosing some favourites here; maybe 'End of the world', 'I can't wait until tomorrow' and the rendition of Free's 'Wishing well'. Love it!!

This was the live band lineup:


 
But soon after, in September 1982, the band changes:

They release the great live album Rockin' every night - live in Japan. Initially to be released only in that country, fortunately it was later released all over the world. I love this album, and the dedication of the song 'Sunset' from Don Airey to the great, late Randy Rhoads is very emotive.
 
 

(clockwise, from top left: Neil Murray, John Sloman, Don Airey & Ian Paice)

But for the next studio album, Sloman and Airey leave the band in March 1983, being replaced by Neil Carter.

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

By the time of recording next album, Victims of the future, Neil was to leave the band, thus playing only in the song 'Shapes of things' (the other tracks are played by Mo Foster and Bob Daisley). The album was recorded in October-November 1983. The band assembled for next tour only kept Neil Carter, as Ian Paice left to rejoin Deep Purple.


WHITESNAKE (again!)  

In September 1983, Micky Moody and Colin Hodgkinson leave Whitesnake, being replaced in December 1983 by Neil Murray again, and guitar axe John Sykes (coming from Thin Lizzy). With new members, David Coverdale re-records their latest album, Slide it in. So there are two versions of the same album. In Europe, it was released the one with Moody and Hodgkinson, while in the USA, it was released the album with Sykes and Neil.

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

After a silly accident, Galley injures his hand, and has to abandon the band. This happens in April 1984.

But in May 1984, it happens an important change. Jon Lord leaves the band, to re-form Deep Purple Mk II. They played in Rock in Rio Festival in January 1985, and same month, Cozy leaves the band. After six months of searching for a new drummer, the 'new' guy is the great Aynsley Dunbar. This is September 1985. But in 1986 David Coverdale has to take a rest, and in August 1986, he resumes his activities, now without Murray or Sykes. At the end of 1986, Dunbar is out of the band too.

Soon later, it's released the 1987 album, with help from Adrian Vandenberg (guitar, later Sykes' replacement in the band), Don Airey (keyboards) and Bill Cuomo (keyboards). With a smashing song, 'Still of the night'. Sorry, many people think it's a Led Zep clone, but I love this song! Sykes' playing is IMMENSE, AMAZING, as well as the other performers! Rock'n'roll!!! Ah, the album was called Whitesnake in the States.

There's also a compilation, and Neil plays in most of the songs. It's called Whitesnake greatest hits. This album doesn't cover the whole Whitesnake career, as the songs are taken only from 3 albums (Slide it in, Whitesnake, and Slip of the Tongue). Other musicians featured in the album: Cozy Powell, John Sykes, Aynsley Dunbar, Don Airey, Dann Huff, Denny Carmassi, Mel Galley, Micky Moody, Steve Vai, Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, Jon Lord, Alan Pasqua, Glenn Hughes.


GOGMAGOG  

This was a strange project, assembled by Jonathan King around 1985. He tried to make the definitive heavy metal band, and contacted with several great musicians. His first choice for drums was Clive Burr (from Iron Maiden), but as he wasn't available, they contacted Cozy Powell, who had just left Whitesnake. But even before they worked together, Cozy got the offer to form the new Emerson Lake & Powell band, so he denied the offer to be included here (being replaced by former candidate, Clive Burr). Finally, Gogmagog went to release an EP (3 songs), I will be there, with this lineup:


MGM  

MGM got together in Autumn 1986. Neil reunites with two former Whitesnake members, Marsden and Galley. Marsden had just dissolved his own band Alaska (but retained the drummer, John Marter), and Galley saw how his project how putting Trapeze again to life was failed because of Glenn Hughes' arrival to Gary Moore band. So they approached Neil Murray in order to complete the band. It seems that the original idea included Don Airey, but finally he didn't joined.

Their first concerts included some old songs from Whitesnake, like 'Gambler', as well as some Alaska songs, like 'Show some emotion'.

Before the summer, they did some demo recordings with Bobby Kimball (vocals, now back in Toto), but nothing happened with them.

When they play at Reading Festival 25th Anniversary, on August, 29 1987, the singer is John Saxon, who had been discovered by MGM's manager, Dave Chapman.

They even made some Freddie King cover in that concert.

And in a exercise of multiplication, Neil Murray agrees to lend a hand to japanese band Vow Wow, because they lost their bassist, without leaving MGM.


VOW WOW  

Vow Wow's bassist, Kenji Sano, has left, and Neil records the album V on the Spanish island of Ibiza in May 1987, and writes the lyrics for the songs on this and the next album, Helter Skelter. V was produced by Kit Woolven (Thin Lizzy engineer).

They released another album, called Helter skelter (of course, because it contained a cover of that Beatles song), but later reissued as the name of Vibe. It was recorded in 1988, but released in 1989.

They release a live video called Live in the UK (1989), recorded on March 1989. And very soon later, around May 1989, Murray abandons the band to make another great move (he was later replaced in Vow Wow by another non-Japanese musician, Mark Gould).


BLACK SABBATH  

The band had just released Headless cross album (recorded with Laurence Cottle on bass). They hoped that Geezer Butler would rejoin, but when he
changed his mind, they asked Neil to audition for the band. So, around May 1989, Neil Murray joins them.

(from left to right: Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell, Tony Martin, Neil Murray)

Murray and Powell together again!! They release next album, called Tyr. This lineup remains until October 1990, when Tony Martin and Neil Murray leave.
 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)
(from left to right: Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Tony Iommi, Geoff Nicholls)


BRIAN MAY BAND  
(Brian May, with Neil on the right corner)

Neil Murray comes to play in first complete Brian May solo album after the Queen forced separation, called Back to the light, and after that, he joins Brian May band. The album contains appearances by: Chris Thompson (vocals), Gary Tibbs (bass, from Roxy Music, once he was in Adam and The Ants!!), John Deacon (bass, from Queen), Neil Murray (bass), Maggie Ryder (backing vocals), Miriam Stockley (backing vocals), Don Airey (keyboards), Mike Moran (keyboards), and Cozy Powell (drums). There is a cover of a Small Faces song.
 

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

So here we have that Neil Murray reunites (again!) at the end of 1991 with Cozy Powell in this new adventure. Cozy had just quit Black Sabbath, sometime later than Murray did.

They did some concerts in South America, before Chris Thompson and Mike Casswell leaving, being substituted by Jamie Moses and two female vocalists.
(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

They also released a live album, Live at the Brixton Academy.

There is a Japanese-only edition of a CD, called Resurrection. It includes the title song, plus some live tracks ("Too much love will kill you", "Back to the light"), and a surprise, the whole content of the very first Brian May mini-album, under the name Star Fleet Project (with people like Eddie Van Halen), never released on CD by itself.

Brian May Band was together until 1994, until some of the members performed side projects from time to time (for example, Cozy Powell's Hammer for a brief period, as we're going to see...).


COZY POWELL'S HAMMER  

In 1992, Cozy Powell, during a brief hiatus from his then current band Black Sabbath, put together a revamped version of his old band Hammer, with this lineup:

But after their first concert, Peter Oliver is fired, and they ask Tony Martin to join them. At that moment, Martin, Murray and Cozy were part of Black Sabbath. They played in November 1992 several dates in a German tour (it exists a bootleg from those concerts, although credited to "Tony Martin and Friends"!), and the set list consisted of songs from Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, all bands where Cozy has played.
 
(from left to right: Mario Parga, Cozy Powell, Tony Martin, Neil Murray)


BLACK SABBATH (again!)  
(from left to right: Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Tony Iommi, Geoff Nicholls)

Didn't I tell you about Black Sabbath resurrecting old lineups? OK, once again. Around October 1994, we can find the same guys together again. After new problems between Dio/Appice and Iommi/Butler, Ronnie Dio puts his own Dio band on the road again, and Tony 'The Cat' Martin comes back, along with the same musicians from 1990.

They release a new album, Forbidden, and after some kind of health problems, Cozy has to leave the band again, at the end of the Forbidden US tour, being replaced with Bobby Rondinelli (ex-Rainbow, currently in Blue Oyster Cult).

Finally, Neil leaves the band in 1996.


PETER GREEN SPLINTER GROUP  

Sometime later, the Murray-Powell team joins the great Peter Green in his comeback to music, after almost 25 years of being wondering in and out of music. Peter, thanks for your comeback!
 

(click here for a bigger image, 84 Kb.)
(from left to right: Peter Green, Cozy Powell, Nigel Watson, Neil Murray, Spike Edney)

They played here in Spain in 1997.

Their album, Peter Green Splinter Group was recorded live, except 2 acoustic tracks. It's all-blues. With good renditions of some classics, from bluesmen like Otis Rush, Robert Johnson, Elmore James. And with a rockin' rendition of 'Going down', a song covered by many people, like Jeff Beck (by the way, with Cozy on drums), Freddie King, and even G3 on tour (that is, the guitar aces Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson in his joint live album).

In their live set, they played 4 Fleetwood Mac songs: 'Black Magic Woman', 'Rattlesnake Shake', 'Albatross' and 'Green Manalishi'. But the live album doesn't contain any of these. So there's no Fleetwood Mac songs (well, only an Otis Rush song 'Homework' that Fleetwood Mac played in an album with Chicago bluesmen), and we can find a song Peter Green used to play in his John Mayall days (also, watch Aynsley Dunbar biography page for details), 'The Stumble'.

Finally, Cozy Powell and Spike Edney left the band to move on to other projects. The new lineup is:

Now there's a brand new album by Peter Green & Nigel Watson, The Robert Johnson songbook, with Paul Rodgers guesting in one track.

Finally, after two years with Peter Green, Neil Murray plays his last concert with Peter on July 5, 1998, in order to rejoin Brian May Band again.


BRIAN MAY BAND (again)  

After several years, Brian May records a new album with his former band, with the idea of promoting it live with the same musicians. Unfortunately, Cozy Powell's sad death broke that dream. The album, Another world, was released on June 1st.

It was six years since Brian didn't record a studio album. He plays almost every intrument in the album (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), with help from Jaime Moses (guitar, 1 track), Neil Murray (bass, 3 tracks), Ken Taylor (bass, 1 track), Spike Edney (keyboards, 1 track), Cozy Powell (drums, 4 tracks), Steve Ferrone (drums, 1 track), Taylor Hawkins (drums), Cathy Porter & Shelley Preston (backing vocals). With some surprise guests: Ian Hunter in 1 song (a cover of a Mott the Hoople song), and the great Jeff Beck playing in 1 song dedicated to him, "The Guv'nor", together along with Cozy Powell again after so many years.

Brian May visited Spain in June to make press conferences to promote the album, and he said he still was waiting a drummer for his band, but that will be a hard task. Finally, the chosen one is great drummer Eric Singer (you can read the Cozy Powell tribute he wrote for me in April). Eric Singer, after touring with Alice Cooper, joined Brian May for the new tour, on September 1998.

The tour started in Spain, and since then, they've played in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Russia and Japan, and finally, Australia.


COMPANY OF SNAKES 

Around February 1999, Neil joins this band, comprising many of his past friends and buddies along the years.

This is the stable (and superb!) lineup for the band, although as busy musicians, sometimes they have other commitments to fulfill, so some of their friends play the odd gig with them. But, around July 2000, Robert Hart leaves, and the new (temporary) replacement is another great singer, Gary Barden.

Other projects

Being as versatile and skilled, Neil Murray has been called to play with many artists just for spare gigs, TV specials, charity concerts, etc. He's always ready to help. I'll be writing here some projects where he played, although he can't be considered part of these bands.
 
Press here to read about Neil Murray other works
 



Sessions
 

Press here to read about Neil Murray sessions


Related links


Musicians mentioned in this page that I have projected to cover in my site someday: And short tributes to:

Family tree

Coming soon (I hope so!).


Thanks section

Very special thanks to Neil Murray, for his help and kindness, as well as for all these great albums where he plays!!

Special thanks to: Laurent Biehly, for invaluable help; Aymeric Leroy for his politeness and permission to use info from his fantastic web pages about Gilgamesh, National Health and Neil Murray himself. Check them out if you like Canterbury bands!.

Eternal thanks to: Great fan Alex Gitlin, for sending me LOTS of scans! Thanks, my friend!!!

Thanks to: Charles Emanuele, for pointing me an error I made in the Brian May live album credits; Denise Kupferschmidt for lots of info about SAS and Brian May Band; Petra Fuergut for her kindness and offer of help; Markku Reiss, for pointing me some errors, Alex Sidorov, for info on sessions by Monaliza Overdrive and Dave Sharman.



Visitors:

Old counter: 


If you can contribute (with additions, corrections, opinions, etc.), please, send me an e-mail message at mterol@myrealbox.com


If you want to check my list of musicians covered in my site, just click on...
The Musicians' Olympus Homepage

And if you want to know what has changed since your last visit, please click on...
What's new

Can I ask you a favour?
Please, please, please, go to the homepage, and sign my guestbook!!!!



Page created by Miguel Terol on: 09/January/1998. Last modified on: 03/November/2000. 1