Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Haunting notes, pizzicato strings





You know you're getting old when...

...you find out that Midge Ure is sixty-five years of age!

Former member of Slik, The Rich Kids and Thin Lizzy, Mr Ure was airlifted into becoming the frontman for Ultravox in 1979 (after their founder and vocalist John Foxx left to go solo) by keyboardist Billy Currie (with whom he had worked as part of Visage with Steve Strange and Rusty Egan). Arriving just at the right time for the rise of the "New Romantics" - a style movement they themselves had partially instigated with Visage - this brand-new incarnation of the band became an instant hit, dominating the charts alongside the likes of Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and Human League.

In 1981 alone, Midge (it's a nickname, from reversing "Jim"; the shortened form of his name) and the boys had a string of reasonably successful chart hits, including Sleepwalk, Passing Strangers, All Stood Still and, of course, this one - notorious as "the nation's favourite Number 1-that-never-was", thanks to the awful novelty song Shaddup You Face by Joe Dolce - it is a classic song that (together with its video, which was largely filmed about as far from its eponymous location as possible, in Covent Garden in the heart of London) just about summed up that brave new musical world...


We walked in the cold air
Freezing breath on a window pane
Lying and waiting
A man in the dark in a picture frame
So mystic and soulful
A voice reaching out in a piercing cry
It stays with you until

The feeling has gone, only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna

The music is weaving
Haunting notes, pizzicato strings
The rhythm is calling
Alone in the night as the daylight brings
A cool, empty silence
The warmth of your hand and a cold grey sky
It fades to the distance

The image has gone, only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna

This means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna


Mystic and soulful, indeed.

Many happy returns, James "Midge" Ure OBE (born 10th October 1953)

4 comments:

  1. Sixty-five!!!! At least he is considerably older than me!!!
    I think the contrast between Vienna and Shaddup Your Face kind of sums up the eighties!
    Sx

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    1. I've probably made this observation here before, but it is true - we fondly think of the "cool" 1980s as starting with the New Romantics and closing with House and Rave (by way of Madonna), when in fact some of the biggest-selling artists in the UK included Shakin' Stevens, The Tweets, Stars on 45, Black Lace and Jive Bunny. Jx

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  2. Shakin' Stevens, The Tweets, Stars on 45, Black Lace and Jive Bunny. Just reading their names has made me feel ill.

    But -

    When you think of it they make us realize just how remarkable Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Human League and their like were at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is why we still love them all! Jx

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