My harp will go on: Titanic battle looms as busker vows to keep playing hit movie theme tune

A busker criticised for repeatedly playing the theme tune from Titanic refused to be silenced today, vowing: “My harp will go on.”

Peter Murphy is a familiar sight — and sound — at South Kensington Tube station, but was singled out during a consultation by Kensington and Chelsea council over “irresponsible” busking.

Strict new rules due to come into force early next year could include bans on busking in certain areas of the borough, with transgressors facing fines.

Hundreds of residents had called for tougher action and one said: “Could you please ask the harp player in the South Kensington tunnel to introduce another song into his repertoire? The only one he can play (and he plays it incessantly) is the theme from Titanic.”

But Mr Murphy, 62, who left his accountancy job and learned the harp at 45, claimed he was “giving the people what they want”. He said: “People love film themes. I do covers because that’s what people like. I have done my own arrangement for Titanic and people love it. Sometimes there are so many stopping to listen they block the tunnel.

Stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1997 epic (Reuters )

“To be successful you have to play what is popular.” He also does weddings and commercial events and said he had played at The Ritz, Leeds Castle, the Café de Paris — and Buckingham Palace. He added: “Of course I know how to play other things. I have played at Buckingham Palace and had a four-year residency in a hotel. On the Tube it’s different, I’m giving people what they want. This is my living.” 

He plans to record his “unique arrangement” of My Heart Will Go On, from the 1997 epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Céline Dion’s version has sold 18 million copies.

Mr Murphy has a Transport for London licence to play at South Kensington. On the council’s plans to get tougher, he said: “On the Underground it works well with licences. However, there are raucous buskers in the streets sometimes and that can be a problem.” Fellow busker Terry Fox said: “Peter is great. He does play Titanic a lot but his music’s in keeping with the calm atmosphere.”

Kensington and Chelsea announced the crackdown after getting 1,200 complaints a year. It will use Public Space Protection Orders. Will Pascall, the council’s lead member for streets, said: “Our goal is not to limit artistic creativity but to enhance quality of life.”

Chester Bingley, of campaign group Keep Streets Live, called the move “an attack on freedom of expression”. Florist Linda Boyce, who works at Gilding the Lily in South Kensington, said: “We regularly ask buskers to turn their music down. One woman dressed as Pikachu and used to play club music and dance to it.”
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in july
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...