Murphy co-founded the band Bauhaus, which was extant from 1978-1983. His bandmates formed Love and Rockets, which he launched a successful solo career, often performing Bauhaus songs at his concerts. Bauhaus got back together for a tour in 1998, then split again until 2005, when they regrouped for more tours, playing their last shows in 2006. They made an album in 2008 called Go Away White, which was their last collaboration. In 2013, Murphy played all Bauhaus songs on a tour he called Mr. Moonlight, named after their song "Who Killed Mister Moonlight?" No other members of Bauhaus were involved.
His lyrics can be rather inscrutable; he once described them as "journeys into impossiblities and the discovery of ideas to do with a human and his dealings with himself." Speaking with Songfacts
, he said: "Many are often prescient accounts and subconscious expressions of a desire."
He starred in the original British print and TV commercials for Maxell cassette tapes as part of their "Break The Sound Barrier" campaign, where he clings to a chair as the sound creates a windstorm. In America, the ads were re-created with someone else.
Murphy was raised Catholic, but converted to Sufi Islam in the early '90s. He told the Sydney Morning Herald: "I was brought up in an esoteric environment with the sacred ritual of the high mass. I just have a very inherent, strong belief in God, but that has to be met with intelligence and understanding."
He married a Turkish woman, the choreographer/artistic director Beyhan Faulkes, in 1982. They're daughter Hurihan was born in 1988, and son Adem in 1991. The family moved to Turkey in 1992.
On March 16, 2013, he crashed his manager's Subaru Forester into another car while driving in Los Angeles. He drove off, but was stopped six miles away by a driver in a pickup truck who followed him. In addition to the hit and run, he was charged with driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine. In October, he pleaded no contest to the hit and run and guilty of methamphetamine possession. His sentence was light: three years of probation, 10 days of community service and 45 days of Narcotics Anonymous meetings.