Saturday, February 22, 2020

Wallaceburg’s Ralph Murphy honoured at the Grammy Awards

The late Ralph Murphy was honoured on Sunday night, January 26, at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles, California.

The former Wallaceburg resident died last spring after a brief illness.

He was 75.

Murphy was shown on the screen during the “In Memoriam” segment of the show.

“It was so nice to see his lovely face,” representatives of Murphy posted on his Twitter account.

“We miss him so much. We all raise a glass of wine or a pint of (Guinness) in his honor.”

Watch the video below, Murphy’s image appears at the 1:06 mark:

Murphy died only a couple of weeks after visiting Wallaceburg, when a celebration event was held in his honour on May 12, 2019 at the Jeanne Gordon Theatre.

“I knew he was special when I first saw him perform a few of his tunes at the high school reunion here in 2000,” said Wallaceburg’s John Gardiner on social media.

“I brought him back to town for his first show here in 40 years and I brought him in a couple of other times with some tremendous Nashville songwriters he brought along. I interviewed him a few times for my newspapers and I used to have breakfast with him sometimes at the Oak’s when he was back home to visit his ‘Mum’ and maybe help dig her garden.”

Gardiner added: “The big thing that really struck me about him, though, was that even though he was buddies with Randy Bachman, and knew Sir George Martin and Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, he somehow remained a ‘good ol’ boy’ from Wallaceburg. I’ll miss him a lot… he was most of all a great guy.”

Local singer and song writer Jay Allan said he was glad to have seen Murphy at the celebration last year.

“I’m forever grateful that just a few weeks ago you were able to come back home so we could celebrate you and your career in music,” Allan said on social media.

“What a privilege to share hugs, laughs and those special moments in your hometown where we performed together many years ago. I’m gonna miss you Ralph. You were truly one of a kind, your friendship, guidance and wit meant so much to so many.”

People in the music industry also shared memories about Murphy.

“I want to add a personal note on the passing of Ralph Murphy,” stated Bart Herbison, the Executive Director for the Nashville Songwriters Association International, on social media.

“He was one of the best human beings I’ve ever known. Ralph’s passion was working to help aspiring professional songwriters, and I’m confident he was responsible for getting more writers publishing deals than any individual in history. Just saw him a few days ago, he’d recently beat cancer and was doing very well, making the loss even more shocking and tragic. He was a past-President of NSAI, a mentor, and someone who I treasured and loved. We miss you ‘Uncle’ Ralph.”

Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts officials said Murphy had an extraordinary career in the music business since leaving the community in 1965 to follow his dreams.

“Murphy, who started his music career as a folksinger in and around Wallaceburg in the early 1960’s, has been awarded Special Achievement Awards by the Canadian Music Association and SOCAN over the last two years for the enormous contribution he has made to Canadian music over five decades,” Arts Council officials said in a press release.

He was also been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

“He produced April Wine’s platinum selling albums in the early 1970’s while working in New York, has written or co-written a number of country music hits that have earned him Gold Records since taking up residence in Nashville in 1976,” Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts officials said.

“He has helped countless Canadian musicians, mostly country, to realize their dreams and served a vice president of ASCAP (American Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers). He has also taught songwriting around the world.”

Murphy did not perform that evening, but he was in attendance.

Jamie Warren, the Laws (Michele and John) and Thomas Wade all performed a selection of songs from Murphy’s musical catalog at the event.

“He has made regular visits to Wallaceburg to stay in touch since leaving the community back in the 1960’s,” Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts officials said.

Murphy is survived by his wife Louise, his children Shawn and Kerry, and two grandchildren.

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