A Closer Look at Midge Ure
Midge Ure is a Scottish songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist who is perhaps most well-known for his work with the new wave group Ultravox. Although a lot of his career tends to be overshadowed by his time in Ultravox, the rest of it’s actually really interesting. He did time in a plethora of different groups of different genres ranging from bubblegum pop to punk, and eventually set himself up with a nice singer-songwriter solo career. He’ll be performing and taking questions at City Winery Chicago on January 29th- so maybe consider checking it out and breaking yourself off a piece of that insight.
News Article On “Rich Kids“
Ure began his career in 1969 playing guitar in the Scottish band Stumble, who broke up in 1971. Ure joined another project in 1972 as a guitarist in the glam-rock band Salvation (which would later be called Slik), and left the band in 1977 when it was going in a direction he no longer wanted to be a part of. In 1975, Ure was asked to be the lead singer of the Sex Pistols– a proposoal he would turn down due to disagreements he had with the band’s promoter, Malcolm McLaren. He went on to join Rich Kids, a power-pop group founded by former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock (who had left the band after being replaced by Sid Vicious), but the band only ever released one studio album before breaking up in 1978. That year, Ure and Rusty Egan formed the band Visage, and the band’s second single “Fade to Grey” made the UK’s top ten singles chart in 1980. Matlock later joined a short-lived punk band called Vicious White Kids with Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, Steve New, and Rat Scabies (drummer from The Damned). After the fall of Sid Vicious, Ure did a brief stint in The Misfits (not The Misfits you’re probably thinking of), before filling in for Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy, after he left in the middle of a tour. In 1980, Midge Ure joined Ultravox in place of their original vocalist, John Foxx, while at the same time working as a producer and releasing solo material.
Ultravox/ Photo Via NostalgiaCentral
Ultravox released their fourth studio album Vienna (their first album with Midge Ure) in 1980, and when its title track was released as a single the next year, it climbed the UK singles charts to number two, and stayed there for four weeks. The full album began climbing the UK charts as well and got up to number three. The promotional music video for Vienna (directed by Russell Mulcahy) became seriously influential, and Ure is quoted saying in his two-part BBC radio documentary Rocking Scots that “music video changed after that. All these things that became video clichés – cropping the top and bottom of the screen, shooting on film as opposed to videotape, making it look like a movie…we were quite a groundbreaking act for a while.” In order for Ure to pursue his solo career full-time, Ultravox went into a hiatus in 1985 and released their final album in 1979, U-Vox.
Midge Ure Performing at Live Aid 1985/ Photo Via Live Aid
Ure released his first solo-album, The Gift, in 1985 and this album included his number one single “If I Was.” He’s released several albums on his own since then including Answers to Nothing, Pure, Breathe, and more. As a participant in several charity events and co-founder of Live Aid, he was awarded an OBE (the most excellent order of the British Empire), by Queen Elizabeth in 2005 (woah). If you’re fascinated by the history of music, or just interesting people, I highly suggest you look deeper into this man’s work. His influence and constant involvement in the scene are both really inspiring and he really, without a doubt, reflects a true and great artist.