Midge Ure? If you’re a pub quiz aficionado or never read the sleeve notes of records or cds then he will probably only pop into your head if I asked you ‘What chart position did Vienna get to in the charts?’ Number 2. Held off the top spot by Joe Dolce. I’m not even going to award any points for that answer. ‘Vienna’ by Ultravox: what a voice, what a video – need I say more? Midge Ure was front and centre of that 1980s classic but his influence, song writing skills and high class musicianship can be seen in so many places if you care to look. ‘Fade to Grey’ by Visage – another seminal piece of 1980s New Romantic music. That was our good friend Midge again.
So, you’re not into all that New Romantic stuff? Like your music a bit harder. Thin Lizzy perhaps? Who stepped into fill the vacant slot on their US tour when lead guitarist Gary Moore (yes him) left the band mid tour. None other than Midge again. You got to be pretty good to fill Gary Moore’s boots.
What about if synths and heavy guitars are not your thing? You like your music a bit more folky? Get your hands on U-Vox. It’s got the Chieftains on it. What? Ultravox and the Chieftains. Have I just blown your mind with that? Okay that’s all too much to take in.
Relax. Sit down, put your feet up, watch some TV, maybe watch an old episode of ‘Top of the Pops’. Midge Ure pops up again on the theme tune. Yellow Pearl 1981 to 1986.
Then there’s his solo career. ‘No regrets’ and ‘If I was’ were both big hits.
I have mentioned a lot of his older music, the thing is, it still stands up to close scrutiny today. ‘All Stood Still’ could be played in any German Techno club and it would go down a storm.
I suppose you want me to talk about Band Aid? – ‘Do they know its Christmas’ is a great song (which he co-wrote). Imagine how far they would have got if the song wasn’t up to standard? We’ve all heard charity songs that are rubbish.
Midge Ure is playing at Gala Theatre, Durham on November 5th. He’ll be playing songs from his entire back catalogue. It will be fantastic. I’m not a betting man but I’d put money on him performing Vienna.
Words by Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley
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