During the late 1970’s, Michael Martin Murphey recorded four albums….Swans Against the Sun in 1976….Flowing Free Forever in 1976….Lone Wolf in 1978….and Peaks, Valleys, Honky Tonks & Alleys in 1979…..as the album Swans Against the Sun produced his first country hits “A Mansion on the Hill” and “Cherokee Fiddle”….which also became a top ten hit for Johnny Lee…..when Murphey’s friends, John Denver, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels and Steve Weisberg appeared on the album. In 1981, Murphey made his first film appearance in Hard Country….which he co-wrote…..then to distinguish himself from actor Michael Murphy….he began using his middle name for film and music credits….and to this day, he is known as Michael Martin Murphey.
In 1982, Murphey signed with Liberty Records and produced two original albums….Michael Martin Murphey….and The Heart Never Lies….as well as a compilation of re-recorded versions of his A&M, Epic, and Liberty hits called The Best of Michael Martin Murphey.
In the early 1980s, Murphey had significant commercial success with hits like “Still Taking Chances”, “Disenchanted”, “Don’t Count the Rainy Days”, “Will It Be Love by Morning”, “Radio Land”, “Maybe This Time” and the # 1 hit “What’s Forever For”….which was written by Rafe Van Hoy….as a song that also crossed over to # 3 at AC Radio….and # 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart….when in 1983, Murphey was voted Best New Male Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. In 1985, his re-recorded version of “Carolina in the Pines” reached the Top 10.
As seen in this video herewith….Michael Martin Murphey + The Great American Honky Tonk Band perform a rousing fiddle dance jig instrumental at the close of the 1981 Austin City Limits live concert.