Born Jan. 7, 1959, in Herrin, Ill., David Lee Murphy worked for more than 10 years to secure a major label recording contract. Finally signing with MCA Records, he quickly regained ground with the success of his debut album, Out With a Bang, in 1995. He had first been spotted by MCA Nashville president Tony Brown while leading his country band, Blue Tick Hounds, in 1985. However, a full decade passed before Brown offered him a contract, though the artist conceded that his former band was "too edgy for country radio at the time or, at least, too edgy to get a deal."
In the intervening period, he worked as a songwriter, penning "Red Roses Won't Work Now" for Reba McEntire and "High Weeds and Rust" for Doug Stone. A version of that song was also included on Out With a Bang, alongside other original material such as the singles "Fish Ain't Bitin'" and "Just Once," featured on the soundtrack to the film, 8 Seconds, starring Luke Perry.
Out With a Bang featured Murphy's first Top 10 single ("Party Crowd") and his first No. 1 ("Dust on the Bottle"). The follow-up album, Getting' Out the Good Stuff, contained two more Top 10 singles -- "Every Time I Get Around You" and "The Road You Leave Behind." Sales declined on the second album and, unfortunately, continued with his last project for MCA, We Can't All Be Angels.
As in the past, Murphy again concentrated on songwriting to net several hits, notably Aaron Tippin's "People Like Us" and Trick Pony's "On a Mission." Other songs from his catalog were recorded by Hank Williams Jr., Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Chris LeDoux and others.
Murphy moved to Audium/Koch Records for 2004's Tryin' to Get There. He co-wrote the title track with Waylon Jennings.