Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sunday night rock 'n' roll

Ultravox were a British New Wave band that rose to prominence in the early 1980s. They were one of the primary exponents of the British electronic pop music movement of the early 1980s. The band was particularly associated with the New Romantic movement, although it both pre- and post-dated New Romanticism by several years.

...With the band seemingly over, Ultravox was then revitalised by the addition of Midge Ure to the line-up. An accomplished musician, he had already achieved minor success with semi-glam outfit Slik and Glen Matlock's more punk-inspired The Rich Kids, although in 1979 he was temporarily playing with hard rock band Thin Lizzy. Ure and Billy Currie had met whilst collaborating on the Visage project, a studio-based band fronted by New Romantic and nightclub impresario Steve Strange. Ure then replaced John Foxx for Ultravox's next album, Vienna, which would become their most successful to date, far surpassing any of the previous Ultravox (or Foxx's) albums. As with Systems of Romance, it was produced in Germany by Conny Plank. Ure knew of Ultravox's past, being a fan of Systems to the point where the new four-piece outfit (Ultravox mark three, often called "the classic line-up") played songs from the album on tours with Ure singing Foxx's lyrics. Released on Chrysalis Records in mid 1980, the Vienna album produced the band's first UK top 40 hit with Sleepwalk, whilst the album itself peaked at #14. Some months later, however, the band achieved a substantial hit with the title track (inspired by Carol Reed's The Third Man). Accompanied by a highly distinctive video, the single peaked at #2 in early 1981 (infamously kept off the top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty hit "Shaddap You Face"). On the strength of the single, the album then re-entered the chart and reached #3 in early 1981.

People will remember the major hit, Vienna, and may wonder what other decent songs did Ultravox produce? There's a heap of them, some of which are below. The live versions demonstrate what a great voice Midge Ure had.


The Voice (live)

All Stood Still (live)

Thin Wall

(Nothing Follows)

1 comment:

Darren said...

Reap The Wild Wind is the only song of theirs I'd heard of.