May 18, 2024

Unveiling Cillian Murphy’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Side: The Band That Stole His Heart

Cillian Murphy is an Irish actor best known for his acclaimed roles in films such as 28 Days Later, Inception, and Peaky Blinders. While he is primarily known as a film actor, Murphy has also shown his appreciation for rock music over the years. In interviews, he has opened up about some of his favorite bands that have inspired him. Here is a look at Cillian Murphy’s top 3 favorite rock bands based on his comments in various profiles and articles.

Joy Division

Coming in at number one on Cillian Murphy’s list of favorite rock bands is undoubtedly Joy Division. The iconic English post-punk band formed in 1976 in Salford and was led by vocalist Ian Curtis. While Joy Division only released two studio albums, Unknown Pleasures in 1979 and Closer in 1980, during Curtis’ short lifetime with the band, they had a profound influence on alternative rock and left behind an enduring legacy.

Cillian Murphy’s appreciation for Joy Division goes back to his teenage years. In one interview, he recalled first hearing Joy Division’s 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures when he was just 15 years old. He said the album “blew his mind” and that he was instantly hooked on their dark, atmospheric sound. Murphy has cited Joy Division as one of the primary musical influences that shaped his taste in rock music.

Over the years, Cillian Murphy’s admiration for Joy Division has only deepened. He sees them not only as one of the greatest bands of all time but views Ian Curtis as “one of the great poets of the 20th century.” Murphy believes Curtis was able to capture the human condition and inner turmoil in his lyrics in a truly unique way. The actor considers Joy Division’s music to be “deeply moving” and says listening to it can be a “profound experience.”

Cillian Murphy’s appreciation for Joy Division led him to take on one of his most iconic acting roles. In 2002, he starred as Ian Curtis in the biopic Control, which focused on Curtis’ life and the rise and fall of Joy Division. To prepare for the role, Murphy extensively researched Curtis and immersed himself in Joy Division’s music and culture. His emotionally raw and captivating portrayal of Curtis earned him wide acclaim, with many considering it to be his breakout performance.

Over a decade later, Cillian Murphy’s passion for Joy Division remains as strong as ever. He continues to cite them as a lifelong influence. In 2018, he even had the opportunity to pay tribute to the band by performing several Joy Division songs during a concert in Manchester. It’s clear Joy Division will always hold a very special place for Murphy as one of the most important rock bands of all time based on their groundbreaking music and the profound effect they had on him in his formative years.

The Doors

Coming in at number two on Cillian Murphy’s list of favorite rock bands is the legendary American psychedelic rock group The Doors. Formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, The Doors were led by the charismatic and poetic vocalist Jim Morrison. Over their relatively short career that lasted until Morrison’s death in 1971, The Doors produced a series of influential psychedelic rock albums and became one of the most iconic bands to emerge from the 1960s counterculture era in the United States.

Like with Joy Division, Cillian Murphy first discovered The Doors as a teenager and was immediately drawn to their sound. In interviews, he has recalled listening to The Doors’ 1967 self-titled debut album and being enthralled by Jim Morrison’s lyrical style and vocals. Murphy was particularly taken with Morrison’s ability to tap into themes of sexuality, death, and the subconscious mind in his lyrics. He sees Morrison as “one of the great poets” and considers him to be on par with icons like William Blake and Arthur Rimbaud.

Over the years, Cillian Murphy has delved deeper into The Doors extensive catalog, citing albums like Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun, and Morrison Hotel as personal favorites. He admires their psychedelic experimentation and how no two Doors songs seem to sound the same. Murphy also holds Jim Morrison in the highest regard, viewing him as “one of the great frontmen of all time” due to his charismatic stage presence and ability to mesmerize audiences.

The actor has said The Doors music continues to inspire him to this day. He believes their songs are “timeless” and will sound fresh for generations to come. Murphy even sees parallels between The Doors rebellious spirit in the 1960s and his own work on projects like Peaky Blinders that push creative boundaries. It’s clear The Doors mystique, experimentalism, and Jim Morrison’s poetic lyrics left a profound mark on Cillian Murphy during his formative years that has endured throughout his life and career.

The Rolling Stones

Rounding out Cillian Murphy’s top 3 favorite rock bands of all time are the legendary British rockers The Rolling Stones. Formed in London in 1962, The Stones emerged from the same scene as The Beatles to become one of the most popular and influential rock bands in history with a career that has spanned over five decades.

While The Rolling Stones may not have been Cillian Murphy’s earliest musical discovery like Joy Division and The Doors, he has grown to deeply admire and appreciate their vast catalog over the years. In interviews, Murphy has cited The Stones enduring appeal and cited albums like Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. as masterworks that showcase the band’s evolution.

What Murphy finds most impressive about The Rolling Stones is their longevity in the industry. Despite over 50 years in the music business, The Stones continue to record and tour with the same rebellious spirit that defined their early years. Cillian Murphy admires their dedication to their craft and ability to stay relevant over multiple generations of rock fans. He also holds the highest respect for frontman Mick Jagger, viewing him as “one of the great frontmen and showmen of all time.”

Perhaps what Cillian Murphy most connects with in The Rolling Stones is their reputation as rock rebels. Like Murphy’s own work on projects like Peaky Blinders that push boundaries, The Stones were never afraid to court controversy or tackle taboo topics in their music and public personas. Murphy sees this rebellious spirit as integral to why The Stones music still resonates so strongly with audiences after all these years.

It’s clear that while The Rolling Stones may not have been Cillian Murphy’s earliest rock influence, over time they have come to represent the pinnacle of his appreciation for rock music due to their unparalleled longevity, rebellious image, and vast catalog of genre-defining songs. Their multi-decade career is a testament to their status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time in Murphy’s estimation.


Through his comments over the years, Cillian Murphy has proven himself to be a lifelong rock music enthusiast with deep knowledge and appreciation for some of the most pioneering and influential bands of the past half century. While his tastes may have evolved over time, the common threads between his favorite rock bands of Joy Division, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones are their rebellious and boundary-pushing spirits, iconic frontmen, and ability to produce music that is as moving and resonant today as when it was first released.

It’s clear these three bands in particular left an indelible mark on Murphy during his formative years that has shaped him as both an artist and a person. Their music inspired and empowered him in ways few other cultural works have. While he is best known for his film career, Cillian Murphy’s musical passions show that behind every great actor is often a lifelong music fan as well. His top three rock bands serve as a testament to the profound influence music has had on his life and career over the decades.


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