Peter John Joseph Murphy (b. July 11, 1957), was the vocalist of the Goth rock group Bauhaus. Murphy became an icon when he was the model for Maxell's UK "Break the Sound Barrier" ad campaign which ran in the 1980s, with its tagline of "Sentence your cassette to life.”
The ads depict a man sitting low in a Le Corbusier Grand Confort LC2 chair in front of, and facing, a JBL L100 speaker. His hair and necktie, along with the lampshade are being blown back by the tremendous sound from speakers in front of him.
The initial name for the campaign was “500 plays,” meaning that “even after 500 plays, (UDXL) still delivers high fidelity." The campaign communicated more than just high fidelity-- it catapulted Maxell to dominance in the blank audio tape industry and created a company image that has carried forward to this very day.
As the audio cassette market grew rapidly in the 70s with the advent of car stereos, boomboxes, and the 1979 introduction of the Sony Walkman, the tape buying demographic changed and Maxell needed to broaden its appeal to take in a younger, less affluent audience that was still interested in high fidelity audio. Though their intention with the ad to sell hi-fidelity as high-class to young consumers, the Maxell tapes became integral to home production and distribution with punk tapes and live gig bootleggers.
After the success of the ad, Bauhaus was invited to work with David Bowie in Tony Scott’s 1983 horror classic ‘The Hunger’ where they open the film with a mesmerizing performance of "Bela Lugosi’s Dead." The cult vampire movie starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve from 1983 was directed by Tony Scott and became integral to what the Goth subculture has evolved into today.
The film begins inside a fog-filled dark nightclub in New York City with flashing, harsh strobe lights in shades of cold blue to set the tone. Miriam and John are sleek, stylish predators in black, stalking the club goers with sunglasses on as they wind through the crowd to find their prey.