Ultravox - Foxx/Ure song by song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Eleventh Earl of Mar, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
    I had this on my mind for months, but finally want to commit to the idea after learning from my last thread. Taking some inspiration from The Smiths and Talk Talk threads, track ratings are welcome. @negative1 made some fantastic statistics for the latter which I hope ends up here as well.

    Before I start - the Q and A

    Q: Why not just Ultravox?
    A: I don't plan on covering the two Currie only albums from 92 and 94 - unless somebody else wants to take over at that portion of the thread

    Q: Visage?
    A: Out of the scope of this thread

    Q: John Foxx/Midge Ure solo
    A: I considered this, but I feel Foxx would probably be better off as it's own thread. I personally don't know much about Ure's solo output, so I apologize - with that said, when relevant there's room to discuss stuff close to the band (the live tracks that ended up on Metamatic just as an example)

    All the above is subject to change if the people have other ideas, but the rough plan

    Tiger Lily era
    ha ha ha
    Systems of Romance
    1979 gap
    Rage in Eden
    Any b-sides or material released from those albums later
  2. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
    Tiger Lily

    Tiger Lily was a short-lived glam rock band and the seed of Ultravox! (later changed back to Ultravox). It was founded in London in 1973 by Royal College of Art student Dennis Leigh (vocals), who left his northern industrial environment in Lancashire, Chris St. John (bass) (born Christopher Allen), another college student who previously played with Stoned Rose, and Stevie Shears (guitar), a Dagenham based musician. In 1974 British-Canadian drummer Warren Cann (drums), who recently was rejected as a band member by Sparks and proceeded as a 4 piece

    In 1974, still as a four-piece band, without Currie, Tiger Lily made their first gig in Chorley, Lancashire, hometown of Leigh. The band wore clothes like New York Dolls, who influenced them. However, their true first show was in the Marquee Club, London, supporting Heavy Metal Kids. Later, Billy Currie joined originally as violist (later on keyboards)

    The band had a glam style influenced by Rolling Stones, Beatles late era, and the current glam artists (like David Bowie, Roxy Music, New York Dolls and Steve Harley). Gull Records released on 14 March 1975 their only 7" single named "Ain't Misbehavin'", which was a cover of the Fats Waller song, while the B-side was "Monkey Jive". After a number of live concerts, the band changed names many times: The Damned, The Zips, Fire Of London, etc. until 1976, when they decided on Ultravox!. During the pre-Ultravox! era (including Tiger Lily years), they composed many songs later to appear on their first album in 1977, Ultravox!. By that time Leigh adopted the stage name John Foxx, and Chris St. John became Chris Cross.

  3. Uther

    Uther Forum Resident

    Billy Currie once said that the band started out by trying to be the next Roxy Music, and ended up being the first Ultravox. You can certainly hear that influence in this, and some of the tunes coming down the road.

    Fun fact: The band took the few hundred pounds they made for this song (it was a commission for a film soundtrack) and bought "Billy an electric piano so he wouldn’t have to stand around during the majority of our repertoire when he wasn’t playing violin".
  4. koshrecords

    koshrecords NZ-based Xennial, Manics expert

    Hell yes. Hyped for this thread!
    Quiet American and Bluepicasso like this.
  5. jcarr73729

    jcarr73729 Forum Resident

    Thank you for the thread, and initial info on pre-Ultravox! music.
    I only saw Ultravox! once, at Preston Poly during the 'Systems of Romance' tour.
    I have seen John Foxx numerous times since then.
    I followed them from the release of the first album, because of Eno's involvement, and was hooked.
    I found the transition to Midge Ure as front-man no problem, but grew tired of 'Vienna' quite quickly, and turned my attention elsewhere ever since.
    The commercial intent and production polish that post-Foxx Ultravox applied was too pop-orientated for my tastes.
    However, I find these threads can be informative and a spur to re-listen and re-hear stuff not heard for decades, sometimes with new ears.
    Who knows?
    Melele, ubiknik, Marc Perman and 3 others like this.
  6. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    This is a great idea for a thread... I'll jump in at Vienna. :wave:
  7. SteveRes

    SteveRes Forum Resident

    Yes I'm up for this. Foxx's solo career could be daunting though, considering the amount of collaborations he's been involved with over the years o_O
  8. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    How about just a teensy-weensy inclusion of the brilliant first Visage album? Midge and Billy Currie were on top form.
  9. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    Ukraine in Spirit
    "This means nothing to me
    This means nothing to me
    Oh, Vienna!" :p
    Classic Car Guy and willy like this.
  10. jcarr73729

    jcarr73729 Forum Resident

    Ain't Misbehavin'
    This sounds more like a sub-par Bryan Ferry solo recording at the wrong pitch.
    One play is more than enough thank you.

    Monkey Jive
    This is fascinating, especially as it was originally released early in 1975.
    It has all the sounds a fan of Ultra-Foxx would recognise, even if it does sound like a discarded demo or unwanted b-side.
    Having heard the original a-side above, I can see why they flipped it when it was re-released.
  11. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
  12. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York


    February, 25 1977

    Produced by Steve Lillywhite and Brian Eno

    Track listing

    1. "Saturday Night in the City of the Dead" John Foxx 2:35
    2. "Life at Rainbow's End (For All the Tax Exiles on Main Street)" (Foxx) 3:44
    3. "Slip Away" (Billy Currie, Foxx) 4:19
    4. "I Want to Be a Machine" (Currie, Foxx) 7:21
    5. "Wide Boys" (Foxx) 3:16
    6. "Dangerous Rhythm" (Warren Cann, Chris Cross, Currie, Foxx, Stevie Shears) 4:16
    7. "The Lonely Hunter" (Foxx) 3:42
    8. "The Wild, The Beautiful and the Damned" (Cross, Currie, Foxx) 5:50
    9. "My Sex" (Cross, Currie, Foxx) 3:01

    • Warren Cann – drums, backing vocals
    • Chris Cross – bass, backing vocals
    • Billy Currie – keyboards, violin
    • John Foxx – lead vocals, acoustic guitar on "I Want to Be a Machine", harmonica on "Sat'day Night in the City of the Dead"
    • Stevie Shears – guitars
    Technical personnel
    • Terry Barham – assistant engineer
    • Phil Collins - sampled drum track from Sky Saw (Brian Eno) for My Sex

    The band starts off with an album that somehow manages to be completely unique while wearing a ton of influences everywhere. Most of the songs here are at least good, and a few are some of their best ever, but my main takeaway is being one of the first ever post punk albums, and historically significant in that genres development but overlooked by many. One of my personal favorites, the only thing I don't love about it is the uninspired glam styling on The Lonely Hunter and Dangerous Rhythm, but in fairness you can do much worse for your first LP.
  13. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    What a terrific debut album. I love it! I saw them performing just about all of it at Reading festival in 1977 (Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, Graham Parker,...). Not the best context in which to see them, in the afteroon and open air but they were great.
  14. Mother

    Mother Forum Resident

    Great album Ultravox! Still listen to it from time to time. nice thread idea.
    wowliksom likes this.
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I am completely unfamiliar with the Foxx albums, so it will be interesting hearing about those

    The Ultravox albums from Vienna up to Lament are really fantastic, and some of my favourite synth music.
    The dvd of the reunion concert was excellent and pumped my enthusiasm for the band back up.

    Looking forward to the discussion.
  16. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Ultravox! - great Roxy Music smelling debut.
    wowliksom and NorthNY Mark like this.
  17. jcarr73729

    jcarr73729 Forum Resident

    My thoughts on the first album, to get the ball rolling and entice those 'Vienna-and-after' fans:

    1. Satday Night in the City of the Dead
    Nice punky feel to this, however the harmonica suggest some R&B pub-rock roots.

    2. Life at Rainbow's End (For All the Tax Exiles on Main Street)
    This does sound like early Roxy Music.
    I presume the subtitle is a dig at Mick and the lads?

    3. Slip Away
    Marvellous pop song, with one of Foxx's best-ever vocals.
    It's pity it loses it's way after 2:30.

    4. I Want to Be a Machine
    Classic Ultra-Foxx, almost two songs bolted together, with the 5:44 change of tempo and frantic violin

    5. Wide Boys
    Now we know where Duran Duran got their inspiration

    6. Dangerous Rhythm
    Ah, the white reggae track, which they put down to being around the other artists on Island Records, and the bass player's influences.

    7. The Lonely Hunter
    I'll confess I'd forgotten about this track and it has not improved.
    This must have been the album filler

    8. The Wild, The Beautiful and the Damned
    Foxx and Currie at their most productive, with a good, rocking chorus

    9. My Sex
    If there was any doubt that Eno was in the neighbourhood, this would have easily found a place on 'Another Green World' or 'Before And After Science'.

    Tracks 3, 4, 8 and 9 are essential Ultra-Foxx, and would be on any fan's compilation.
  18. Harry Hood

    Harry Hood Forum Resident

    Tracks 1, 4, 8 and 9 are on this fan's compilation. Satday Night, de doo doo doo, Satday Night.

    I'll play along until Vienna. I had all the Foxx era stuff, incl the Young Savage single (absolute f***ing stormer!) and the live EP.

    I've got a few tracks stored on my car's hard-drive and enjoyed allowing my commuting companion 20 questions when The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned came on recently. He didn't get it.
  19. shadow blaster

    shadow blaster Forum Resident

    Nice thread idea, timely with the upcoming Vienna 40th box set. Will try to follow and possibly chime in. I like both eras, btw.
    NorthNY Mark likes this.
  20. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
  21. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
  22. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far. Thread Starter

    New York
    Sat'day Night In the City Of The Dead

    Fantastic rave up to start the album, I can't tell you what it means but I love the lyrics anyway. Foxx really makes that harmonica sound convincing.

  23. Harry Hood

    Harry Hood Forum Resident

    Dr Feelgood with Julian Clary on vocals. Love it!
  24. georgespigott

    georgespigott You fill me with inertia.

    United States
    Sat'day Night In the City Of The Dead - love the punk energy of this! What a great opening statement. 4/5

    I remember staring at the album cover, fascinated with their plastic clothes and the drummer tipped back as if he were a mannequin or robot. This used to get played at parties a lot in my day.
    Wordnat2 and wowliksom like this.
  25. Uther

    Uther Forum Resident

    A couple fun facts from drummer Warren Cann:

    This is one for the ages, about the recording of this album:


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