Alan Murphy-Guitarist

Level 42

Alan was invited to play guitar on the ‘Staring at the Sun’ album at Miraval studios in France. He came in and finished all his parts in one day, joining Level 42 in April 1988. A valuable insight to Alan’s time with Level 42 can be seen in their video‘Fait Accompli’ which features interviews, live, back stage and recording scenes of Alan.

Unfortunately Alan only recorded one studio album with Level 42 –‘Staring at the Sun’. However a live recording was made on January 12th and was later released as ‘Level 42 – Live at Wembley’. This CD contains some stunning playing from both Alan and Level 42.

Throughout Alan’s career, he often appeared at Music Fairs, hired by Fender to demonstrate their amplifiers and guitars. During 1989 Alan played at the British Music Fair, but it was apparent from his appearance that he was not well.

On the afternoon of 19th October 1989, weakened by AIDS virus, Alan sadly died of pneumonia in the old Westminster Hospital in Horseferry Road - near to his old school.

His old friend Bill Barret recalls: ” I moved to the states in 1979. The last time I saw Alan, was I believe in 1981 or 1982. I was living in Phoenix, Arizona and he was doing some recording in LA, he spent a few days with me out in the desert”

Level 42 continued for a while and whilst they searched for a guitarist, Allan Holdsworth – one of Alan’s of big guitar influences, stood in. Alan would have been chuffed!

In 1990, Kate Bush released a single called ‘Rocket Man’, recorded in 1989 and featuring Alan on acoustic guitar (possibly one of the last things he recorded?) Significantly, the video for this single featured an empty chair with a guitar on it.


“Man” Live in Copenhagen

Alan Murphy | Level 42 Guitarist