I betcha you didn’t know… The story behind Ultravox

Who doesn’t know that classic hit Vienna by Ultravox? We all remember that video which so prominently featured Ultravox’s front man and singer Midge Ure.

However it took quite a bit of effort to get Vienna made. Ultravox started off in 1974 but were named Tiger Lily at that stage. The band was formed by Dennis Leigh aka John Foxx. On 14 March 1975 they released their only single titled “Ain’t Misbehavin'”,which was a cover of the classic Fats Waller jazz song from 1929. Tiger Lily’s version would feature in a soft porn film.

Because of some changes in the line up the band decided to change their name, so between 1975 and 1976 they were known as The Zips, Fire of London, London Soundtrack, and The Damned, there was already a band called the Damned so they eventually settled for ‘Ultravox!’. Some time in 1978, the group also dropped the exclamation mark, becoming simply “Ultravox”

That still would not be the end of it . John Foxx left the band in 1979 and was replaced by Midge Ure , who had temporarily been playing with Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy on their American tour, replacing Gary Moore. Midge Ure had also worked with a band called Visage together with Billy Currie who was the violinist of Ultravox . For all you keen music fans you will recognize the name Visage, they had a massive hit with the single “Fade to Grey” which was released in November 1980.

Another thing which few people will know is Midge Ure’s involvement in Live Aid and Band Aid. Not only did he co write the single “Do they know it is Christmas time” he also organized most of the bands for the legendary concerts. He received very little credit for that from Bob Geldof. For those of you who watched Top of the Pops on BBC in the 1980’s will remember the theme music. It was called Yellow Pearl which came from Phil Lynott’s solo album Solo in Soho . The song was also co written by Midge Ure.

Happy Birthday Gary Moore

Robert William Gary Moore was born in Belfast on 4 April 1952,the son of Winnie, a housewife, and Robert Moore, a promoter who ran the Queen’s Hall ballroom in Holywood.He grew up near Belfast’s Stormont Estate with four siblings.

He credited his father for getting him started in music. When Moore was six years old, his father invited him onstage to sing “Sugartime” with a showband at an event he had organised, which first sparked his interest in music. His father bought him his first guitar, a second-hand Framus acoustic, when Moore was 10 years old. Though left-handed, he learned to play the instrument right-handed. Not long after, he formed his first band, The Beat Boys, who mainly performed Beatles songs. He later joined Platform Three and The Method, amongst others.[Around this time, he befriended guitarist Rory Gallagher, who often performed at the same venues as him. He left Belfast for Dublin in 1968 just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. A year later, his parents separated.

After moving to Dublin, Moore joined Irish blues rock band Skid Row. At the time, the group were fronted by vocalist Phil Lynott. He and Moore soon became friends, and they shared a bedsit in Ballsbridge.

After leaving Skid Row, Phil Lynott formed the hard rock group Thin Lizzy. After the departure of guitarist Eric Bell, Moore was recruited to help finish the band’s ongoing tour in early 1974. During his time with the group, Moore recorded three songs with them, including “Still in Love with You”

After Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore had a successful solo career. He is one of my all time guitar heroes. Unfortunately I never got to see him live, he died on 6 February 2011. I did get to see his brother Cliff Moore perform live in our local pub. In 1994.