Many viewers may not have recognized the name of the musician, hit songwriter, and platinum-selling music producer. I knew him in his role as the vice president of ASCAP, the professional songwriters organization.
I first met Ralph in 2003 during my first trip to Nashville. I visited the ASCAP building and was able to get a critique session with Ralph and two other music pros who listened to my song “No One Can Ever Hold Her.” I gained some invaluable advice about writing for the commercial market and in subsequent visits was able to meet with Ralph one-on-one from time to time.
For a top executive in Nashville to take time to listen to my music and give feedback was something I always appreciated. To me Ralph always seemed like a kind, generous, and down to earth guy.
One thing I’ve learned in the music business is that networking is a valuable tool and with Ralph I always felt I had a valuable contact and friend in Music City. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t signed to a publishing deal or had a song on the radio. He was there to help.
And I wasn’t the only one who valued his advice. So many songwriters picked his brain so often that he ended up writing a book: “Murphy’s Law of Songwriting.” He once commented that he was “bullied” into writing it because of the demands from writers.
I’ll cover some of the specifics of that sage advice in future blog. Right now I just wanted to note this loss to the music industry and expand on the all too brief mention he got from the Grammys.
Ralph Murphy, 75, was born in England in 1944 and raised in Canada. He died May 28, 2019 of pneumonia at the age of 75.
“Call My Name” was his first number one song in Europe, according to the ASCAP website. In Nashville, his first country hit was “Good Enough to Be Your Wife,” a tune that Jeannie C. Riley took to number 2 on the charts. Other famous artists who had hits with Ralph’s work included Ronnie Milsap and Crystal Gayle.
Ralph also earned a slew of industry awards. In my experience and opinion he was deserving of one of the rarest and highest honors in what can often be a callous business: a really good guy.