Trust me when I tell you I am at best a casual fan of Ultravox. Don’t get me wrong, I love new wave and a lot of the keyboard based music from the eighties. We simply weren’t exposed to this band in the States in the same manner as some of their contemporaries such as Depeche Mode.
Ultravox formed in London in 1974 as Tiger Lily before changing its name two years later. Although not an original member the “classic” line-up” of Ultravox is considered by many to be the period when vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Midge Ure joined in 1979. Before he joined Ultravox was considered to be more an experimental band, an electronic art rock outfit. The band added a bit more pop to the mix with Ure at the helm and the result was particularly big in the U.K. Ultravox had a five album Top 10 streak from 1980-1986 in the U.K. before Midge Ure and Chris Cross left the band.
I first heard the band when U.S. radio was playing the 1982 single “Reap the Wild Wind”, the only song from Ultravox to chart in the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #71. That track was from the band’s sixth album Quartet which peaked at #6 in the U.K. and #61 in the U.S. I like that song and a few other singles from the band.
For those of you still not familiar with Ultravox I am willing to bet many people in the U.S. would recognize Midge Ure for his contribution to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” from Band Aid in 1984. Take a listen to “Reap the Wild Wind”.
Album Inspiration: The Collection