The late Chris “CM” Murphy, the enigmatic entrepreneur who guided the career of INXS, and mapped out a raft of projects which kept their music alive, well after the band had called time on touring or creating new music, is posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Murphy, who died in January 2021 following a battle with cancer, is awarded for “service to the performing arts through music,” and is one of 1,042 Australians recognized “for distinguished and conspicuous service” on Australia Day, Jan. 26.
Murphy managed the new wave legends from 1979 until 1995, and again in the 2000s – following the death of frontman Michael Hutchence.
Formed in Western Australia in 1977, INXS summited the mountain that is popular music with six U.K. top 10 albums (including a No. 1 with Welcome To Wherever You Are from 1992) and five U.S. top 20 albums, a BRIT Award (in 1991 for best international group) and, in 2001, elevation into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
The band’s journey was tragically derailed by the 1997 death of Hutchence, at the age of just 37, though INXS continued with replacement singers. The end of the road came in 2012 with a show in Perth, where the group’s journey began all those years ago.
It was Murphy who saw a golden future — and opportunity — for INXS and its catalog, which didn’t rely on performance or new music.
Through a combination of strategic music releases, remixes, film, exhibitions, merch, media partnerships and more, INXS would become the biggest-selling act in Australia in 2014, a full two years after the band played its final gig. Indeed, the band’s best-of collection from 2011 was the best-selling album by a homegrown act in Australia last year.
The surviving members of INXS last year reunited in Sydney to launch Calling All Nations, a 400-plus “love letter” created by a global fanbase and the band, and released through a partnership of Murphy’s Petrol Records, UMe, uDiscover Music and This Day In Music Books.
“Chris was hungry,” recounted founding saxophone player and guitarist Kirk Pengilly during that rare reunion. “He just took no prisoners”.
Other music industry standouts named in the Australia Day 2024 Honours List include Milly Petriella, managing director of Milk and Honey’s operations in Australia and New Zealand, who is lauded with an OAM for “service to music and the performing arts.” That service included a 27-year stint as director, member relations and partnerships at APRA AMCOS, from 1995 to 2022, where she earned a reputation for moving mountains for the PRO’s members.
During her time at APRA AMCOS, Petriella founded the Vanda and Young Global Songwriting Competition, which has raised over A$2 million for Nordoff-Robbins since its launch in 2009; served as creative producer of the APRA Music Awards; championed the SongHubs program; administered the society’s Ambassador program; the Professional Development Awards; the Women In Music Mentorship program; the Vanda and Young Global Songwriting Competition; and grew its Los Angeles, London and Nashville as director, Global Music Export Offices.
Others music figures feted today include Dennis Burgess, chairman of the Australian Songwriters Association and patron of the Association of Artist Managers, who earns an OAM “for service to the performing arts, and to the music industry”; John Foreman OAM, the musical director, event director, pianist and composer, who now receives an AM; and Max Lambert, the composer and musical director for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and ARIA Award winner for The Boy From Oz (2000) and Playschool (1998), who receives an AM.
Read the full list here.