Murray Head

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Murray Head
Photo - Festival de Cornouaille 2013 - Murray Head en concert le 28 juillet - 026.jpg
Murray Head in concert at Quimper, France, (2013).
Background information
Birth name Murray Seafield St George Head
Born (1946-03-05) 5 March 1946 (age 71)
London, England
Genres Rock, new wave
Occupation(s) Actor, singer
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1966–present
Labels Island, A&M, Virgin, Mercury, Voiceprint

Murray Seafield St George Head (born 5 March 1946)[1] is an English actor and singer,[2] most recognised for his international hit songs "Superstar" (from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar) and "One Night in Bangkok" (the 1984 single from the musical Chess, which topped the charts in various countries), and for his 1975 album Say It Ain't So. He has been involved in several projects since the 1960s and continues to record music, perform concerts, and make appearances on television either as himself or as a character actor.

Early life and education[edit]

Murray Head was born in London[2] to Seafield Laurence Stewart Murray Head (1919 – 22 March 2009) and Helen Shingler.[3][2] Head's father was a documentary filmmaker and a founder of Verity Films. Head's mother played Mme Maigret alongside Rupert Davies in the BBC 1960s television adaptation of the Maigret novels written by Georges Simenon). Head's younger brother Anthony Head is also an actor;[2] he starred in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Murray Head was educated at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington, London and Hampton School in Hampton, London. He attended Chiswick Polytechnic (A level college) in the early 1960s.


Head began writing songs as a child, and by the mid-1960s he had a London-based recording contract. He had limited success, until asked by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber to play Judas Iscariot on the original concept album version of Jesus Christ Superstar; at the time, he had been appearing in the West End production of the musical 'Hair'. With the Trinidad Singers, the song "Superstar" peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971.

He made his film debut in The Family Way (1966), which featured Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett and John Mills in the leading roles.[1] Head won a leading role in the Oscar-nominated film Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), alongside Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson.[1] Despite these successes, he received little public attention in the next ten years (except for his single release, "Say It Ain't So, Joe" in 1975, which has been covered by The Who's lead vocalist, Roger Daltrey, among others, including The Hollies).[1]

In 1973, he appeared in a radio drama, The Fourth Tower of Inverness. In 1979, Head appeared in the miniseries Prince Regent and the final episode of the ITV program Return of the Saint.

Head reappeared in the spotlight in 1984 as the American on the concept album for the musical Chess. The song "One Night in Bangkok" featured Head[2] on lead vocals, affecting a New York accent. It became the last significant Broadway/West End number to be a hit on American and German radio up until "No Matter What" by Boyzone in 1996. "One Night in Bangkok" was a success in both Europe and North America.[1] Head performed the role of world chess champion Frederick "Freddie" Trumper in the London West End stage production of Chess that premiered on 14 May 1986. The show ran in London until 8 April 1989; during its run, Head departed with vocal strain.

After that, Head had little recording success in the UK or the United States. This fact would later be underscored in a radio segment featured on The Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, in which the hosts would phone Head in the morning to find out "What's Up with Murray Head?" Fluent in French, he has released a number of albums in that language. A duet with Marie Carmen, "Une femme un homme", was released in 1993 and was a hit in French-speaking Canada.

In 1999, Head co-wrote the screenplay to Les Enfants du Siècle.[3]

He has appeared on television in the UK on The Bill, Casualty, North Square and Judge John Deed. He also played an artist, and love interest of Gina Ward, called Jack Hollins on ITV's Heartbeat from 2005–06. On 15 March 2010 he appeared in the BBC drama Doctors playing a pop singer, Pete Perry, trying to make a comeback, in which Head sang Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain". In Canada, he was part of the cast of the 2002 television mini-series Music-Hall, which played on the Radio-Canada network. In 2011 he appeared in the first episode of the series Vera (episode "Hidden Depths") as Peter Calvert.

Head appeared on the album cover of The Smiths' compilation album Stop Me, taken from a still of the film The Family Way.

Personal life[edit]

Murray Head married Susan Ellis Jones in 1972; they divorced in 1992. He has two daughters: Katherine and Sophie. Sophie sometimes sings with her father, for example on songs such as "Seras-tu là?" on the album Tête à tête and "Make It Easy" from the Emotions album.[3][2]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • 1981 – Find the Crowd
  • 2009 - Live Collection Vol 1
  • 2010 - Live Collection Vol 2



  • 1980 : Cocktail Molotov - Song Dearest Anne.
  • 1982 : Pour cent briques t'as plus rien - Song No Mystery.
  • 1985 : The Flying Devils Original Soundtrack : Music by Kasper Winding & Murray Head.
  • 1988 : A Gauche En Sortant De L'Ascenseur - Music by Murray Head.
  • 1989 : Un été d'orages - Music by Murray Head.
  • 1992 : Patrick Dewaere - Documentary from Marc Esposito directing, on the french actor and friend Patrick Dewaere, with music by Murray Head & Patrick Dewaere.


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1967 "She was Perfection" Singles only
1969 "Superstar" 47 5 6 9 14
1975 "Say It Ain't So, Joe" Say It Ain't So
1976 "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat"
1977 "Never Even Thought"
1978 "Mademoiselle" Between Us
1979 "Los Angeles"
"Sorry, I Love You"
1980 "Cocktail Molotov" Cocktail Molotov (soundtrack)
1982 "Corporation Corridors" Shade
1984 "One Night in Bangkok" 12 1 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 3 1 3 Chess
"When You're in Love" Restless
1985 "Picking Up the Pieces" Sooner or Later
1986 "Some People"
2013 "Say It Ain't So, Joe" (re-release) 18
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other appearances[edit]

  • 1970 : Jesus Christ Superstar - Murray plays the role of Judas Iscariot and Ian Gillan plays the part of Jesus Christ.
  • 1986 : Time (The Album) by Dave Clark. Murray sings on We're the U.F.O..
  • 1986 : Chess by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with lyrics by Tim Rice. Murray sings on One night in Bangkok.

Selected filmography[edit]

  • The Family Way (1966) - Original score by Paul McCartney, Murray plays Geoffrey Fitton.
  • Two Weeks in September or À cœur joie (1967) in french with Brigitte Bardot. Murray is Dickinson's assistant. The soundtrack features two songs, in English, with music by Michel Magne and vocals sung by David Gilmour, working as a session musician, before he joined Pink Floyd. Songs were I must tell you why & Do you want to marry me.
  • Aphrousa (1971) Murray plays Nicholas.
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) - With Glenda Jackson & Peter Finch. Murray is Bob Elkin.
  • La Mandarine (fr) (1972) - With Annie Girardot & Philippe Noiret. Murray plays Tony.
  • Gawain and the Green Knight (1973) - Sir Gawain
  • El poder del deseo (1975) - Javier.
  • The French Woman or Madame Claude in french. (1977) - David Evans.
  • White Mischief or Sur la route de Nairobi in french. (1987) - Lizzie.
  • Beaumarchais (1996) - Lord Rochford.
  • I, Cesar or Moi César, 10 ans 1/2, 1m39 in french. (2003) - Mr. Fitzpatrick.
  • Horsehead (2014) - Jim.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]