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Cowboy Singer - Michael Martin Murphy

Updated on June 30, 2013

My Dream Come True - Michael Martin Murphy


A Dream Comes True - Michael Martin Murphy

The other night one of my dreams came true. I remember when I was in junior high school in art class. First of all, I absolutely loved art class. It was wonderful, with a wonderful teacher, Mr. Michaels. He was an amazing artist and his love for art came through in his teaching. So did his love for music. Once he was finished with his instructions he would turn on the radio. He would switch channels often and we would listen to a variety of music. One day he left it on the country western station and the song “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphy came on. I was hooked. The song was amazing and just hooked me. I fell in love with Michael Martin Murphy that day.

I have been waiting to see Murphy in person since that day. Somehow, in over thirty years it never happened. Over the years I followed his career. I enjoyed every song he sang, but “Wildfire” stayed my favorite. Last week, at our annual Wichita River Festival, my dream finally came true. I got to see Michael Martin Murphy in concert – live and up close! I was in Heaven! It was great. Too make things even better, the first song he sang was “Wildfire!” He told a story about the last time he had been in Wichita. He said as he was winding down his show and getting ready to sing my favorite song, the weather had started turning bad – which isn’t unusual for Kansas. He says there were tornado warning and the event coordinators wanted him to get to shelter. They wouldn’t let him finish his concert – wouldn’t even let him sing “Wildfire.” He promised the crowd then that the next time he was in Wichita he would sing that song first. And I was in the crowd when he fulfilled that promise!!

Michael Martin Murphy - 1960's

Michael Martin Murphy was born in 1945 in Dallas, Texas. His love of music came from listening to stories and songs from his grandfather when he was just a little boy. Other early influences on Michael were Hank Williams, Sr., Bob Wills and Woody Guthrie.

He began performing while in junior high school at a summer camp where he was a counselor. His first professional job was he was seventeen when he sang for cowboys at a campfire. Soon he began playing a variety of music in the nightclubs all around the Dallas, Texas area.

During college Murphy studied Greek, creative writing, medieval history and literature. By the early 1960’s he had signed a publishing contract with Sparrow Music Company. He formed a couple of bands during the early 1960’s. In 1964 he teamed up with his friend Michael Nesmith, as well as John London and John Raines to form Trinity River Boys. Later in the ‘60’s he was in the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Boomer Castleman.

After Nesmith joined the television series, The Monkees, Murphy was asked to write songs for the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd. The album went on to sell over 5 million copies.

He wrote songs for other people you may know. Kenny Rogers had a complete album of songs written by Murphy, entitled The Ballad of Calico. Flatts and Scruggs, Bobbie Gentry, Willie Nelson, and John Denver are among those who have sung songs written by Murphy.

Michael Martin Murphy at the Wichita River Festival



Is Wildfire Your Favorite Michael Martin Murphy Song?

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Michael Martin Murphy - 1970's

In the 1970’s Murphy became a part of the “Outlaw Country” movement. He sang with the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to name a few. It was in the early ‘70’s that he wrote the song “Geronimo’s Cadillac”, a song that told of the arrest and imprisonment of Geronimo and became the anthem for the American Indian movement of the ‘70’s.

It was in the ‘70’s that Murphy wrote the iconic “Wildfire,” a song that tells the love of a girl and her horse – a love that not even death can separate. This song went on to sell over a million copies and was number one on Radio and Record’s charts and American Adult Contemporary Charts, as well as number three on Billboard’s Pop Chart.

Although Murphy wrote and sang many other songs, including “What’s Forever For”, “Carolina in the Pines” and “Talkin’ to the Wrong Man,” no other song became as iconic as “Wildfire.” He was even asked to write the state song for Arizona, “Land of Enchantment.” But most still know him for Wildfire.

Wildfire - Live and In Person!


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    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Angela - thanks for reading! That's cool that your brother was friends with MMM! I bet he is interesting to know in person! I hope I did a good job of introducing him!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Kathy - thanks for reading! I love this song that you mentioned! It is a perfect wedding song!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      MMM and my brother have been friends since college days -- think they were in a "jug band" together as youngsters. Brother says their friendship goes back to the time when MMM only had two names! Interesting Hub! Best/Sis

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Michael Martin Murphey is one of my favorites, too! In fact, we used one of his songs in my son's wedding, it was called "A Long Line Of Love"... I thought the lyrics were perfect for his wedding! :) Here's what I mean:

      Years went by and we had a son now he thinks he found someone for him

      And they're planning a wedding

      He called me up on the phone today just to see what I had to say to him

      Did I think he was ready?

      I said what his grandfather used to say to me

      Its been handed down for ages it runs in our family

      You come from a long line of love

      When the times get hard we don't give up

      Forever is in your heart and in your blood

      Son you come from a long line of love

      We come from a long line of love

      It was a wonderful song and perfect for that day! :) Thanks for sharing a great hub, some of these things I didn't know about Michael Martin Murphey!