In the history of rock, there have been many legendary bands, their names are familiar to us all. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, to name but a few. On the other side, are the unsung heroes. Those bands that remained outside the mainstream but still managed to make a great impression, leaving a legacy of unforgettable music for future generations.
One of those bands was Bauhaus. Four young men from Northampton who transformed rock music, giving it a darker edge; influencing many along the way.
Their legacy lives on in bands such as My Chemical Romance, The Horrors , She Wants Revenge and many others. They were also a great influence on the Gothic Rock movement; in spite of the fact they themselves were never a Goth band. They got tagged with that label later on, which is rather unfair as they were so much more than that.
Bauhaus were unique; their musical style/influences varied greatly. From the dark haunting atmospheric Bela Lugosi’s Dead, to the raw punkish energy of Dark Entries. The reggae tinges of She’s in Parties, to the danceable beat of Kick in the Eye. Songs like Terror Couple Kill Colonel, recorded 30 years ago, still sound current now. They were ahead of their time.
The music critics dismissed them, calling them Bowie clones, but Bauhaus took it all in stride. Bowie clones? They went ahead and released a great version of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and made it their own. It only made the critics foam at the mouth even more.
In spite of that, they managed to create a buzz and developed a loyal following. In the short period they were together (1979*-1983) they left a great legacy of music. To any fans that read this, yes, I am aware the band reunited more than once since 1983 and released another album but I am only discussing their initial years here.
It is common for musicians to list their influences. Writers tend to name other writers when speaking of their influences, but not me. Bauhaus have been my biggest artistic influence. I suppose that is rather fitting. I’ve never been your average girl sailing placidly along the mainstream and I’m hoping to make my novel as atmospheric and dark as the music that’s influenced me.
Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins, all great talented musicians and Peter Murphy whose striking presence and powerful voice turned Bauhaus into something special. Peter always performed with passion. He was raw, powerful, energetic and charismatic. At times, exuding an air of otherworldliness. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest singers in the history of rock.
There was always more to Peter than just Bauhaus. Since the band’s demise, he’s released many great solo albums. One of my all time favourite is Love Hysteria from 1988, which includes the darkly beautiful All Night Long.
If Bauhaus was the dark in Peter. He sang about the light in songs like the beautiful Strange Kind of Love and the uplifting Shy, both from his album Deep, released in 1990. That release included the song Cuts You Up, which finally made Peter known to a larger audience in America, though the UK music industry remained indifferent being the miserable bastards they’ve always been.
Peter has continued to experiment and evolve musically. In 2002 he released Dust, an album with Turkish influences; his voice was perfectly suited for it.
I’ve had the good fortune of seeing him live many times in the past two years and he always rocks the house with the energy of a man half his age. I only wish more people knew of him. I suppose this is my own way of singing his praises. He has influenced my writing and is my musical muse.
A few of my favourite performances below:
The Passion of Lovers – Filmed in 1982 at the Old Vic Theatre. Peter is a whirlwind on-stage and delivers an amazing performance of one of my favourite Bauhaus songs. This is Bauhaus perfection…
Bela Lugosi’s Dead from The Hunger 1983 – Based on Whitley Strieber’s novel with the same name. The film begins in a different manner; with the characters of Miriam and John Blaylock in a club, searching for their next victims as a band performs a dark song which happens to be Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Peter’s haunting presence and powerful performance is one of those iconic moments in film. I will never forget the first time I saw it in 1983. Later that same year; I became a musician.
Peter’s solo work is too numerous to list here – from 1986 to now but here’s one of my favourite songs of his. All Night Long – Love Hysteria – Released in 1988.
His latest album, Ninth, is due out soon according to his Official Facebook page