Chris “CM” Murphy, the longtime manager of Australian band INXS (from 1979 until 1995 and again in the 2000s), has died in Sydney following a battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. He was 66.
A representative for Murphy Petrol Group shared the news in the early morning hours of Saturday (Jan. 16): “It is with great sadness that Caroline Murphy and family confirm that Christopher (CM) Mark Murphy, chairman of Murphy Petrol Group has today passed away peacefully at his beloved Ballina property ‘Sugar Beach Ranch’ surrounded by his family.
Chris “CM” Murphy celebrated an illustrious career over 40 years and made an incredible impact on the global music and entertainment industry. Best known for taking his ‘band of brothers’ INXS to worldwide stardom, CM Murphy influenced the lives of many around the globe with his endless passion and drive. He will be greatly missed.”
Said the members of INXS: “It is with great sadness that the remaining members of INXS mourn the passing of our brother, Chris Murphy. Without Chris’s vision, passion and hard work, the INXS story would be totally different. Chris’s star burned very bright and we celebrate a life well lived and send all our love to his family.”
INXS was among the most successful groups to emerge from Australia, selling tens of millions of albums worldwide. The band experienced severals commercial peaks in the U.S., chief among them: the 1987 album “Kick,” which has sold more than 7 million copies. Its predecessor, 1985’s “Listen Like Thieves,” and follow-up, 1990’s “X,” were also multi-platinum smashes in the U.S. INXS’ magnetic frontman Michael Hutchence died in 1997 at the age of 37.
In the documentary “Mystify: Michael Hutchence,” Murphy tells of his decision to manage the group. “I’ll only do it on the basis that we do it internationally,” he said to the band (founding members included Garry Gary Beers, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly and Hutchence).
Chris “CM” Murphy had experience in the global music market having worked at his father’s theatrical booking agency, Mark Murphy & Associates, since he was a teenager. Later pivoting to management under the tutelage of Gary Morris, whose clients included Midnight Oil and INXS, he launched MMA Management.
Chris “CM” Murphy wisely negotiated a deal for INXS directly with an American label, Atco and later Atlantic, a move that is widely regarded as having played a major role in their breakout success. Even still, Atlantic was initially reticent to release “Kick.”
Murphy is survived by his wife Caroline; children Stevey, Jeri, Jack, Louis and Charlie; and grandchildren Asher, Samantha, Bella, Axel, Harley and Reuben; his Mother Janice; and sisters Charne & Tanya.