Around 1965, he joined this amateur band with school companions Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore (both, later to be in Slapp Happy).
The name of this band comes from an ancient Babylonian king. In 1973, he join this band commanded by the late Alan Gowen:
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.
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:
Again, Clive Chaman, the original bassist recommended Neil to substitute him for several gigs, in September 1974, and then again, in February 1975.
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.
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.
Band assembled by ex-members of Hatfield & The North and Gilgamesh. After several lineup changes, Neil Murray joined here in June 1976.
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).
In March 1978, they change keyboardist:
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.
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'
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.
The new album is called Ready an' willing,
and it contains a fabulous ballad, 'Blind man'.
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.
Next album was called Come an' get it.
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'.
Finally, Neil leaves the band in March 1982.
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).
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.
John Sloman (vocals) John Sykes (guitar) Neil Murray (bass) Graeme Pleeth (keyboards)
John Munro (drums)
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:
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.
But for the next studio album, Sloman and Airey leave the band in March 1983, being replaced by Neil Carter.
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.
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.
After a silly accident, Galley injures his hand, and has to abandon the band. This happens in April 1984.
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.
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 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.
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'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).
The band had just released Headless cross
album (recorded with Laurence
Cottle on bass). They hoped that Geezer Butler would rejoin, but when
changed his mind, they asked Neil to audition for the band. So, around May 1989, Neil Murray joins them.
Murray and Powell together again!! They release
next album, called Tyr. This lineup remains until October
1990, when Tony Martin and Neil Murray leave.
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.
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 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...).
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:
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).
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!
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:
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.
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.
Around February 1999, Neil joins this band, comprising many of his past friends and buddies along the years.
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
Press here to read about Neil Murray other works
Press here to read about Neil Murray sessions
Coming soon (I hope so!).
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.
If you can contribute (with additions, corrections, opinions, etc.), please, send me an e-mail message at firstname.lastname@example.org
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