In 2004, VH-1 and Blender voted Murphy's recording of "Party All the Time" number seven among the "50 Worst Songs of All-Time."
Murphy performed stand-up at the same Bay Area Comedy Club as Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. His early comedy was characterized by frequent swearing and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people (including WASPs, African Americans, Italian Americans, overweight people, and gays). Murphy has credited Richard Pryor as his inspiration to enter comedy; however, in his autobiography, Pryor Convictions, Pryor wrote that he found Murphy's comedy at times excessively insensitive. Murphy later apologized for insensitive jokes about gays and HIV.
|Eddie with Stevie Wonder|
Murphy actually started singing earlier in his career, with the songs "Boogie In Your Butt" and "Enough Is Enough," the latter being a parody of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer's 1979 song, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)." They both appear on his 1982 self-titled comedy album.
"Party All the Time" was featured on Murphy's 1985 debut album How Could It Be, which included a minor follow-up R&B hit in the title track, a duet with vocalist Crystal Blake. This track was written by Rusty Hamilton and was produced by Stevie Wonder's cousin Aquil Fudge after a brief falling out and bet with Rick James.
Though uncredited, Murphy provided vocal work on SNL castmate Joe Piscopo's comedy single, "The Honeymooners Rap." Piscopo impersonated Jackie Gleason on the single, while Murphy provided an imitation of Art Carney.
In Coming to America, he imitated Jackie Wilson when he sang "To Be Loved," but because the character he was playing had a thick accent, he had to sing it in character.
In later films, Murphy performed several songs in the Shrek film franchise. In the first film, he performed a version of "I'm a Believer" in the film's final scene; in Shrek 2 he performed Ricky Martin's hit "Livin' La Vida Loca" along with co-star Antonio Banderas.
The box office take from Murphy's films makes him the second highest grossing actor in the United States. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, and has worked as a stand-up comedian. He was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.
He has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs, Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of soul singer James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls, and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role.
Murphy's work as a voice actor includes Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in the Shrek series and the dragon Mushu in Disney's Mulan.
In some of his films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, intended as a tribute to one of his idols Peter Sellers, who played multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove and elsewhere. Murphy has played multiple roles in Coming to America, Wes Craven's Vampire In Brooklyn, the Nutty Professor films (where he played the title role in two incarnations, plus his father, brother, mother, and grandmother), Bowfinger, and 2007's Norbit.