Brian Murphy, West Coast president of AEG Presents and Goldenvoice, co-founder of Avalon Attractions and a formidable figure in the concert industry for decades, died March 6 after a battle with respiratory disease, AEG confirmed to Variety. He was 70.
Over a career that stretches back to the early 1970s, Murphy worked with Creative Management Associates, (now ICM), Pacific Presentations and Avalon, which he co-founded with two fellow Pacific veterans Gary Perkins and Robert Bogdanovich in 1977. That company was later acquired by SFX (which gradually became Live Nation) in 2008. He joined AEG in 2011. Over the years he worked with U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Katy Perry, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, the Warped Tour and countless others. He was also responsible for the development of Southern California venues like Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater and Palladium, as well as Irvine Meadows.
“Brian Murphy was a promoter’s promoter and one of Southern California’s most influential music titans,” AEG Presents chairman/CEO Jay Marciano tells Variety. “He also happened to be one of the good guys, which is a rare combination. Brian cared passionately about his team as much as the artists he promoted. Even when fighting for his life, Brian continued to maintain daily contact and never missed a trick to sell additional tickets.
“Our industry has lost a giant and a friend. We will deeply miss him.”
The many highlights of Murphy’s career include his work with Pacific on the California Jam in 1974, which drew a then-record crowd of more than 300,000 fans, was broadcast nationally by ABC and included Deep Purple (whose Ritchie Blackmore astonished the crowd by blowing up his amplifiers and smashing two guitars), Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Earth Wind & Fire, the Eagles; and Avalon’s promotion of multi-night stands by Bruce Springsteen at L.A.’s Sports Arena and Coliseum in the 1980s, and a Rolling Stones-Guns N’ Roses-Living Colour triple bill at the Coliseum in 1989 (where Axl Rose called out guitarist Slash onstage for his heroin use).
Murphy is survived by his wife Judy and their daughter Shannon. Information about a memorial service will be released in the coming days.