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Ultravox (band)
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Ultravox (band)

Ultravox were one of the primary exponents of the British electronic music movement of the early 1980s.

Originally named Tiger Lily when they formed in London in 1974, they were led by vocalist and keyboard player John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh), and comprised Chris Cross (bass guitar), Billy Currie (keyboards/violins), Steve Shears (guitar) and Warren Cann (percussion).

Despite the growing punk movement of the mid- to late 1970s, Ultravox! (the exclamation point would disappear later) were more interested in aligning themselves with the glam rock sounds of David Bowie and Roxy Music. In 1977 they attracted the attention of Island Records and Brian Eno was commissioned to produce the self-titled debut album. The album produced a minor UK hit with the single, "My Sex."

Ultravox returned later that year with Ha! Ha! Ha but sales were dismal and Steve Shears soon exited to be replaced by Robin Simon.

Their third album, 1978's Systems of Romance (the exclamation point having been duly dropped), was recorded under the watchful eye of Conny Plank at his studio in rural Germany. It also failed commercially and Island dropped the band. John Foxx left to pursue a solo career and Robin Simon left to join Magazine.

Midge Ure, an already accomplished musician, asked to join the band. He had scored minor success with semi-glam outfit Slik and Glen Matlock's more punk-inspired Rich Kids.

Midge Ure and Billy Currie had met in the Visage project, a band fronted by Steve Strange. Billy asked Midge to join Ultravox.

The band released the album Vienna on their new label Chrysalis Records and scored a hit with the title track. It topped out at number two (Joe Dolce's "Shaddap Your Face" infamously kept it from the top spot) on the UK top forty in 1981. The album reached number five.

Ultravox teamed up with legendary producer George Martin for 1982's Quartet and this became their most successful album in the USA.

Upon completion of 1984's Lament, Warren Cann left Ultravox to pursue a solo career, and the remaining members, along with Big Country's Mark Brzezicki, resurfaced with U-Vox in 1986 before going their separate ways. Billy Currie and Robin Simon reformed the band in 1993 and Marcus O'Higgins lent his voice to their final lackluster release, Ingenuity (1996).

Discography

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