Morphine was an American alternative rock group formed by Mark Sandman and Dana Colley in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1989. They disbanded in 1999 after frontman Sandman died of a heart attack while performing onstage.
Morphine combined blues and jazz elements with more traditional rock arrangements, giving the band a very unusual sound. Sandman's distinctive singing was described as a "deep, laid-back croon" and his songwriting featured a prominent beat influence. When asked by reporters to describe their music, the band created the label "low rock". One critical appraisal suggests that "Morphine immediately established a minimalist, low-end sound that could have easily become a gimmick: a 'power trio' not built around the sound of an electric guitar. Instead, with sly intelligence, Morphine expanded its offbeat vocabulary on each album."
Although Morphine was critically lauded throughout their career, it is difficult to measure their success commercially. In the United States the band was embraced and promoted by the indie rock community, including public and college radio stations and MTV's 120 Minutes (which the band once guest-hosted), but received little support from commercial rock radio and other music television programs. This limited their mainstream exposure and success in their home country, while internationally they enjoyed mainstream success and support, especially in Belgium, Portugal, France and Australia.