The pale, delicately boned wraith known as Peter Murphy gained his seat as an anointed dark king in the Seventies and Eighties as frontman of the legendary Bauhaus. Channeling the glam theatrics of David Bowie by way of the morgue, he was drama incarnate, a Count Vlad look-alike who sometimes drove a hearse and fixed the macabre goth aesthetic before it became cliché. But beyond the peacocking, there was his voice, almost creepy but totally lovely, barely containing a histrionic quaver. Few other living, breathing bodies could repeatedly intone "I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead" so believably.
After Bauhaus split up in 1983, Murphy soldiered on with a solo career that explored much broader stylistic territory. The voice remained, but the lyrics became even denser at times, the songs traversing almost acoustic-strummed ditties to expansive ballads. The common thread remained a searching, melancholy quality that persisted as Murphy reinvented himself in the early Nineties, as a harder-edged, platinum-headed rock god. It was around this time when he scored his biggest hit, "Cuts You Up," which remains an anthem on dance floors where black lace is the mode of choice.
In the meantime, he has continued to write and record albums; the latest, Unshattered, was released in 2004. Murphy's spate of appearances this summer is billed as a "retrospective" tour, and set lists so far reveal latter-day solo nuggets such as "I'll Fall with Your Knife" alongside Bauhaus classics such as "She's in Parties." Release the bats!
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