Murray grew up in Reading, Berkshire, where he attended Reading School and learnt to play the harmonica and guitar. His first experience in journalism came aged 18 in 1970 when he was asked to contribute to the satirical magazine Oz. In particular, he contributed to the notorious Schoolkids OZ issue, and was involved in the consequent obscenity trial.
He then wrote for IT (International Times), before decamping to the New Musical Express in 1972 for which he wrote until around 1986. Subsequently he worked for a number of publications including Q magazine, Mojo, MacUser, New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, Vogue, and The Independent. He currently writes a monthly column about his lifelong love affair with guitars in Guitarist.
In addition to his magazine work, Murray has written a number of books:
His broadcasting credits include:
He has also sung and played guitar and harmonica as "Blast Furnace" with the band Blast Furnace and the Heatwaves and currently performs with London blues band Crosstown Lightnin'.