C.W. [Charles William] Murphy (1875–1913)

Music Hall historian Peter Gammond notes: “Like many writers of the music-hall period, the life of Murphy is shrouded in silence.”1 This London-born songwriter had many big hits. One of the earliest was Morny Cash’s I Live In Trafalgar Square (1902). Another was Little Yellow Bird (with William Hargreaves, 1903); For Charles R. Whittle, he and Harry Castling wrote Let’s All Go Down The Strand (1909) and They All Go The Same Way Home (1911). Murphy wrote several songs for Billy Williams, “The Man in the Velvet Suit,” including Jean From Aberdeen (with Dan Lipton, 1907); Put Me Amongst The Girls (with Dan Lipton, 1907); I’ll Meet You One Dark Night (with Dan Lipton, 1908); and Mrs. B. (with Harry Castling, 1911). He also wrote a string of hits for Florrie Forde, including Oh! Oh Antonio (with Dan Lipton, 1908); Kelly From the Isle Of Man (also known as Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly?) (with Will Letters, 1909); Flanagan (with Will Letters, 1910); They’re All Single By The Seaside (with Worton David, 1911); and Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy (with Worton David, 1913). George Robey sang Murphy’s A Thing He Had Never Done Before. Murphy died in Blackpool in June 1913, age just 38, from “an affection of the heart.”2

Two of Murphy’s biggest hits were songs that Fred Godfrey claimed to have written: Florrie Forde’s immortal She’s A Lassie From Lancashire (credited to Murphy, Dan Lipton, and John Neat, 1907) and My Girl’s A Yorkshire Girl (Ee, By Gum, She’s A Champion) (credited to Murphy and Lipton, 1908). One, probably erroneous, source credits Godfrey, together with Worton David and Murphy, for George Formby Sr.’s I Parted My Hair In The Middle (1914), although Murphy was already dead by that time (the publication could have been posthumous) and Godfrey is not known to have contributed any songs to Formby père. No other Godfrey-Murphy collaborations are known.



1  Peter Gammond, The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 402.
2  “Obituary,” Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 20 June 1913, p. 7.