Many musicians dream of hitting the heights, but few see those dreams come true. Asa Murphy is an exception; in fact, he’s exceptional in so many ways.
Inheriting his father’s love of music, particularly for the classic-era swing-jazz of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby Darin, Asa set about making his way to the top in the traditional way – playing pubs and clubs in his native Liverpool, across the north of England, and then throughout the UK.
And it paid off. Asa has topped the bill at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, drawn a standing ovation at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s club in London, and played to packed houses the length and breadth of Britain. He’s even shared a glass of wine, back-stage at the London Palladium, with none other than Tony Bennett. When you move in those circles, you really know you’ve arrived.
When he plays his beloved swing music, he fronts both a quartet and a full sixteen-piece orchestra.
But he also steps into the spotlight in another role, as 1950s rock’n’roll sensation Buddy Holly. Asa is the star and driving force behind the hit stage show, ‘Buddy Holly Lives: The Music Never Died’ which is rocking audiences across the UK.
“Buddy was just 22 when he died in a plane crash. He’d written hit after hit; songs that audiences still love to this day. It was the sheer quality of his music that really grabbed me – I look at him as being on the same level as songwriters of the ilk of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin or Johnny Mercer.
I mean, ‘Oh Boy’, ‘True Love Ways’, ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and ‘Peggy Sue’ – whether people know those songs or not, you hear them once and that’s all it takes – you get them! That’s evident when we play our show – the audience is straight up out of their seats and right into it. The response is incredible.”
Asa is a long-term friend and professional colleague of Bob Dunne, a gentleman well-known to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – he’s been a fundraiser, ambassador and all-round fairy-godfather to the charity for many years. When Bob took an interest in helping to promote Asa’s Buddy Holly show, well, the result was inevitable.
Asa grinned, “Yes, Bob mentioned that the Foundation would love to hear from us. There’s a strong connection. You see, a few years ago, my wife’s mother, Linda Jones, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
The diagnosis came too late. She was diagnosed on Christmas Eve and passed away on February 3rd. so quickly. Lin and her husband Ed had moved to Malaga, to open a bar and begin a new phase of their lives. Then this happened. They had eight children, including my wife Kelly, and the whole family were devastated.Asa lost his mother-in-law to lung cancer.
So Asa and Kelly have brought Ed to live with them – and now all three are delighted that Asa has become involved with the charity.
He has asked that all proceeds from sales of the show programmes should come to us, to support our work, as well as a proportion of ticket sales. This is a stunning gesture and we are thrilled to have such a talented and popular entertainer offering us such generous support. It’s a reminder, in a way, of how Roy Castle himself gave us so much 25 years ago.
Asa added, “The continued association with this charity can only be good. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s had barriers to overcome, namely the stigma that still surrounds lung cancer because of the assumptions about smoking. Lin was a cracking woman, and she didn’t smoke yet she got the disease.
There’s no Premier League of cancers, where one is more deserving of attention than another. That’s just not right. So, I was pleased to be able do something with the show and even more pleased that it was a great success.”