When Lisa Simpson
was feeling depressed in 1990's "Moaning Lisa
" episode of The Simpsons
she ran off in the middle of the night to find the source of the melodious jazz
music she heard from her bedroom. Wandering through the darkness, she eventually came to a bridge where she found a jazz musician
wailing away on a saxophone
. Lisa befriended the man, who introduced himself as Bleeding Gums Murphy (his name comes from the fact that he's never been to see a dentist
). Although her mother
tracked her down and took her home before Lisa and Murphy could do much more than sing an impromptu jazz tune, she eventually convinced her family to take her to a local music club called The Jazz Hole
for an evening of listening to Murphy's music.
Bleeding Gums Murphy was quite the successful musician on the jazz circuit. He played at many clubs, cut an album (Sax on the Beach) and even guest starred on an episode of The Cosby Show where he played "Grandpa Murphy", a great jazz musician. Murphy had one vice though: he was addicted to Fabrege eggs and he squandered his hard-earned savings on dozens of eggs a day. He does not know his family, and it's been alluded to that he has two brothers: Dr. Julius Hibbert and the man who runs the Shelbyville Orphanage (who is himself Hibbert's twin brother).
Five years later in the episode "'Round Springfield" while Lisa was visiting her brother in the hospital she came across Murphy in a hospital bed of his own. The two chatted briefly, sang a song, and the jazz man gave Lisa his alto saxophone to use at her school recital that evening. Inspired by her mentor, Lisa brought the house down at the recital. However, when she returned the next day to tell Murphy of her accomplishment, she learned that he had passed away overnight.
After his death Lisa decided to make everyone know of Murphy's greatness. Bart Simpson bought from The Android's Dungeon Comic Book & Baseball Card Shop the only copy of his album in town, gave it to Lisa, and the local jazz radio station, KJAZZ, played it. The limited range of the station was extended when lightning struck the broadcast tower, boosting the signal to all over Springfield. With his legacy firmly established, Lisa sang a song of tribute to her mentor one last time as a ghostly cloud image of Murphy joined in on sax.
g026r says "Random side note: Supposedly the fact that Murphy is playing on a bridge is supposedly a reference to legendary jazz saxophonist/eccentric Sonny Rollins, who retired from music at age 29 and spent the next couple of years playing his saxophone on the Williamsburg Bridge. This is all just hearsay, mind you, but it's interesting hearsay.