Prodigal Son

Album: Prodigal Son (2017)
  • In the Biblical parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), the younger of two brothers squanders their inheritance. Expecting to be scorned by his father, the boy is shocked to find himself welcomed home with open arms. It's considered an important Biblical passage by many Christians. The Eastern Orthodox Church reads it annually, near the beginning of Great Lent. During his 1984 apostolic exhortation, Pope John Paul II in 1984 chose this specific passage to explain the process of Christian conversion and reconciliation.

    The term "the prodigal son returns" has since become a relatively common phrase used to describe spendthrifts who return home in poverty. Elliot Murphy saw shades of his own life in the trope.

    Murphy was born in Long Island, New York, and started his musical journey in that scene in the 1970s. The press mostly lauded Murphy after the release of his debut album, Aquashow, which is today frequently counted on "best of" lists from that year. Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were also early supporters of Murphy, but for whatever reason, Murphy's sales never met up with those other expectations.

    After a long, though stretch through the early '80s, Murphy discovered that he'd developed a sizable following in France. He chased the opportunities opening up throughout Europe and ended up moving there full time.
  • In talking to Songfacts, Murphy explained that "Prodigal Son" was written about his own career arc... sort of.

    "Not my story, exactly," Murphy explained, "although in retrospect perhaps my career in the '70s was more decadent than it should have been."
  • Murphy had a premonition that this song and the album would lead him back to his home in the US. This proved accurate, as the song, along with the simultaneously released documentary The Second Act of Elliott Murphy, received strong welcome at the Stony Brook Film Festival at Murphy's home town of Long Island.
  • Murphy's son Gaspard produced the whole album, adding another layer of significance to the "prodigal son" theme.

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