Iconic Australian music entrepreneur Chris 'CM
Iconic Australian music entrepreneur Chris 'CM" Murphy (top left) with his family during Christmas 2020 at home in South Ballina, in an image provided by the family. In the image from top left: Chris Murphy, Jeri Wambeek, Caroline Paidasch Muprhy, Violet Paidash, Nick Arena, Axel Arena. Bottom from left: Janice Thomsen (CM’s mother), Charlie Murphy, Asher, Samantah and Bella Wambeek, Stevey Arena

'Force of nature': Tributes flow for former INXS manager

Tributes have flowed for former INXS manager and legendary music entrepreneur Chris 'CM' Murphy, who passed away on Saturday at his home in South Ballina after batlling Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

Mr Murphy was the manager of INXS and was credited for taking the band to global stardom.

He was also passionate about agriculture, horse breeding, racing pigeons, polo, surfing and rugby.

He rebranded Sydney radio station 2SM to KICK FM, sold RooArt to multinational label BMG, and set up Petrol Records in 2001, which curated world music compilations through the early 2000s and more recently signed local sibling country act The Buckleys.

 

Owner of Petrol Records, Chris Murphy, at his home in South Ballina. Photo: The Northern Star / Sophie Moeller
Owner of Petrol Records, Chris Murphy, at his home in South Ballina. Photo: The Northern Star / Sophie Moeller

 

Sarah Buckley spoke about the long-lasting legacy Mr Murphy left not just to her band but to Australian music.

"We met him at the beginning of 2018, and we had a six-hour meeting at his place," she said.

"The relationship he had with his artists was so special, he encouraged us to be better musicians and performers, but also better people.

"He was always happy to share his knowledge and creativity, for the good of others.

"One of my favourite quotes of his was 'it's a fine line between Einstein and Frankenstein', and it suited his incredibly strategic mind.

"He left a strategy for us, he is still guiding us, he will remain as our angel."

The Buckleys will be appearing at this weekend's Country Music Awards where they are nominated for two Golden Guitars.

 

Chris Murphy. Picture: Attila Szilvasi.
Chris Murphy. Picture: Attila Szilvasi.

 

Ballina Mayor David Wright said he was still shell-shocked by the news of his passing.

"He was a visionary," he said.

"I offer my condolences on behalf of the people of the shire to the family.

"He had the vision right through his life to do things a bit differently, and he had the skills to make a band into an international number one act," he said.

Mr Wright said CM Murphy really loved living here.

"He just wanted the best for Ballina, he had so many ideas and was so passionate," he said.

"He was going to supply jobs in the music industry for local people out of his project, the INXS museum, our of the airport area.

"He wanted people to see a big red X-shaped building when flying into and out of Ballina, and for that place to be a hub of development and a place for multinationals to connect to this area.

"I wish we had the chance to say goodbye."

 

INXS' manager Chris Murphy (C) celebrated his 40th birthday with a surprise ‘Arabian ice’ party, actor James Reyne (L) & singer Jenny Morris. 9 November 1994
INXS' manager Chris Murphy (C) celebrated his 40th birthday with a surprise ‘Arabian ice’ party, actor James Reyne (L) & singer Jenny Morris. 9 November 1994

 

Local MLC Ben Franklin shared his words about Mr Murphy's passing on social media.

"Deeply saddened at the loss of Chris Murphy. The former manager of INXS - and Ballina local - was a great Australian. Brilliant. Charismatic. Visionary. He was a force of nature. It was a privilege to have known him and call him a friend. Vale Chris. You left us far too soon."

Mr Murphy is survived by his family, his wife Caroline, children Stevey, Jeri, Jack, Louis and Charlie and grandchildren Asher, Samantha, Bella, Axel, Harley and Reuben, his mother Janice and sisters Charne and Tanya.

"The family have asked that in lieu of flowers that trees are gifted to create an everlasting and ever growing memorial at Chris' beloved Ballina property," the family said in their statement.

Those who wish to donate a tree to plant can contact info@murphypetrolgroup.com.

 



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