The pale, delicately boned wraith known as Peter Murphy gained his seat as an anointed dark king in the 1970s and '80s as frontman of the legendary Bauhaus. Channeling the glam theatrics of David Bowie by way of the morgue, Murphy was drama incarnate, a Count Vlad lookalike who sometimes drove a hearse and fixed the macabre goth aesthetic before it became cliché. But beyond the peacocking, there was his voice, almost creepy but totally lovely, barely containing a histrionic quaver. Few other living, breathing bodies could intone "I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead" so believably. After Bauhaus split in 1983, Murphy soldiered on with a solo career that explored much broader stylistic territory. The voice remained, but the lyrics became even more dense at times, with songs ranging from acoustic-strummed ditties to expansive ballads. The common thread remained a searching, melancholy quality that persisted even as Murphy reinvented himself in the early '90s as a harder-edged, platinum-headed rock god. It was around this time that he scored his biggest hit, "Cuts You Up," which remains to this day an anthem on dance floors where black lace is the mode of choice. In the meantime, he has continued to write and record albums, the latest, Unshattered, released in 2004. Murphy's spate of appearances this summer is billed as a "retrospective" tour, and set lists so far reveal latter-day solo nuggets like "I'll Fall With Your Knife" alongside Bauhaus classics like "She's in Parties." Release the bats!
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