Showing posts with label Ultravox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ultravox. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

New Europeans - Ultravox

I don't think I am unique when I list Ultravox's album 'Vienna' among my favourites of all time, but it is, and it has been so since its release. I thought I owned all the singles taken from that album until I saw this one.

In Japan, they relegated the classic track 'Vienna' to the B-side and released 'New Europeans' as the A-side instead. This is interesting as the segue from the album has gone and the track starts 'clean'. These are the kind of details I love. That, and the unique artwork made this single an essential purchase for me.

My collection: 7" single no. 6213
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'New Europeans' / 'Vienna'

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Vienna 92 (The classic mix) - Ultravox

Sometimes you find a single and you wonder: what the hell went wrong here? I was already familiar with the fact that Ultravox had released a version of 'Vienna' in the Nineties, and I even heard it once, years ago, but to find the single was a different challenge.

So now that I have it, here are the facts. Ultravox split up in 1988 after the lack of success of their album 'U-vox'. Having not toured after the album, Ure concentrated on his solo career and Chris Cross retired from music altogether and returned to his former career as a psychotherapist. And then, Billy Currie decided to reform Ultravox in 1992, without any of the other original members. This single was their first product. One has to wonder what went on in Billy Currie's mind: 'Oh, let's re-record the biggest hit Ultravox ever had, but with weaker vocals and cheaper instruments'. Or something like that. Its only redeeming quality in the drum beat, which is slightly original when compared to the original (and better) version. Predictably, the single failed to chart.

Undeterred, this version of Ultravox with vocalist Tony Fenelle recorded the album 'Revelation' (which it wasn't) and in 1994 the album 'Ingenuity' (well... no). The band dissolved again in 1996. When the "classic" line-up of Midge Ure, Billy Currie, Warren Cann and Chris Cross reformed in 2012 for the album 'Brilliant', the results were lots better.

My collection: 7" single no. 6172
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Vienna 92 (the classic mix)' / 'Systems of love'

Saturday, 12 November 2011

All stood still - Ultravox

After 'Vienna' became a hit in 1981, I became a big fan of the band. This was helped along a bit by the fact that my parents took me on holiday to Vienna for five years between 1980 and 1984. I was impressed with the city, but even more impressed by the views of Ultravox's music video I saw in real life. And then there was the majestic album of the same name, which my sister bought. This is how I knew that the next single, 'All stood still' was almost just as good. Unfortunately, that one was never a hit.

I finally bought the single in 1995. I don't know why I waited so long, I do know I wanted to have it years earlier. But as always, back in 1981 I didn't have the money and in later years I never saw the single. So it was good to finally get hold of it in a second hand shop in London.

My collection: 7" single no. 2348
Found: Record Exchange, London, June 26, 1995
Cost: 30p
Tracks: 'All stood still' / 'Alles klar'

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Vienna / The voice - Ultravox

Ultravox became famous in 1980 when their single 'Vienna' became a Europe-wide hit. The Conny Plank-produced album of the same name became a classic album as well, and the band continued to churn out wonderful hits all through the Eighties.

This 'Old gold' single brings together two of their biggest hits: 'Vienna' and 'The voice'. The band has reformed two years ago, did two very successful tours in 2009 and 2010 and this year they are planning to release a whole new album. There is a God.

My collection: 7" single no. 5012
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, January 29, 2011
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Vienna' / 'The voice'

Friday, 28 August 2009

Passing stranges - Ultravox

'Passing strangers' was released in October 1980 as the second single from Ultravox's milestone album 'Vienna'. The song is a fast-paced affair, with all the signature sounds of the band around that time. The single wasn't a big hit, stalling at number 57 in the UK singles chart.

The B-side 'Face to face' was recorded live in St. Albans on August 16, 1980 and was never recorded in studio by the band.

My collection: 7" single no. 2542
Found: Record Exchange, November 1, 1995
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Passing strangers' / 'Face to face (recorded live)'

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Same old story - Ultravox

Released in September 1986, 'Same old story' was the first single from Ultravox's final album in the classic line-up with Midge Ure, 'U-vox'. The band moved away from their previous synth-based pop songs and showcased a more rock-oriented sound on this single.

The single wasn't a big hit for the band, peaking at number 31 in the UK singles chart. This limited edition version of the single is a nice item: the outer pvc sleeve has stripes on it, with which you can make the inner sleeve 'invisible', i.e. just a green square and no letters.

My collection: 7" single no. 2457
Found: Record fair, September 9, 1995
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Same old story' / '3'

Friday, 10 July 2009

Love's great adventure - Ultravox

'Love's great adventure' was recorded as a new track for Ultravox's 1984 compilation album 'The Collection' and released as a single to promote the album. Released in October 1984 it peaked at number 12 in the UK singles chart and number 30 in the Dutch Top 40.

The style of this single is different from any of their preceding singles from the album 'Lament', aiming for a more lightweight, pop-oriented approach. The music video features the band members in a humorous parody of Indiana Jones, with Midge Ure being chased across deserts and forests by a ruthless treasure hunter. Midge Ure stated in his autobiography 'If I was' that the aim of the single and its video was to promote Ultravox as having a sense of humour, away from the seriousness of their previous releases.

Once again, I bought this single in a clear vinyl edition. The gatefold sleeve also contained a booklet with a beautifully illustrated song lyric in the style of the front sleeve. Unfortunately, I found this edition some years after buying the original single and the booklet sleeved one with the disc pressed on black vinyl. So now I've got three copies of this single...

My collection: 7" single no. 247-1, 247-2, 3068
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1984 / Disco Market, Den Haag, 1984 / House of Rhythm, London, 1999
Cost: 6 guilders / 3,5 guilders / 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Dancing with tears in my eyes' / 'White China (live)'

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Lament - Ultravox

Ultravox's 1984 album 'Lament' saw the band continuing to move away from the synth pop style associated with their previous albums, heading into a more mainstream pop/rock direction, alike their comtemporaries Echo and the Bunnymen, Simple Minds and U2. The album featured greater use of guitar and 'stadium' reverb.

However, the title track was a melancholy ballad, accompanied by a music video featuring the band on a remote Scottish island. The single peaked at number 22 in the UK singles chart. This single was released, like many previous singles, on clear vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve.

My collection: 7" single no. 1005
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 17, 1989
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Lament' / 'Heart of the country (instrumental)'

Monday, 1 June 2009

One small day - Ultravox

The first single from Ultravox's 1984 album 'Lament' was an unusual track in their catalogue, because for the first time in a long time, the band omitted the use of synthesizers in favour of a more guitar-driven rock song. As such, I always considered it to be one of the band's worst singles.

The single still made number 27 in the UK singles chart and number 16 in Ireland. But in Europe, the single did not chart. I finally bought the single in 1999, simply because of the fact that I have most of the band's singles - and this one was pressed on clear vinyl. The instrumental B-side is an intriguing piece, anyway.

My collection: 7" single no. 3062
Found: House of Rhythm, London, May 9, 1999
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'One small day' / 'Easterly'

Friday, 22 May 2009

Dancing with tears in my eyes - Ultravox

More than anything else, I've always considered 'Dancing with tears in my eyes' a soundtrack to the music video Ultravox made in 1984. I can't imagine the music without that video anymore. I thought bringing down the enormous theme of a nuclear holocaust to the story of one man and woman was incredibly moving.

'Dancing with tears in my eyes' was the second single from 'Lament', Ultravox's seventh studio album, released in 1984. The single effectively put Ultravox back on the map, peaking at number 3 in the UK single charts, and reaching the top 10 in many European countries. In the Netherlands, it peaked at number 6.

I bought the single as soon as it came out. It was the German pressing with tour dates on the front cover (pictured above). A few years later I found a UK limited edition of the single with a booklet sleeve, pressed on clear vinyl (pictured below).

My collection: 7" single no. 235
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1984
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Dancing with tears in my eyes' / 'Building'

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The thin wall - Ultravox

'The thin wall' was released as the first single from Ultravox's 1981 album 'Rage in Eden'. Like the album, the single was produced by Conny Plank. Its stark synthesizer-based music was similar to Ultravox's previous singles from the album 'Vienna'. The band was rewarded with a reasonably good chart placing, peaking at number 14 in the UK singles chart.

I bought the single twice: the regular version on black vinyl in 1995, and a few years later the limited edition pressing on clear vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 2485 / no. 3228
Found: Record exchange, London, October 30, 1995 / London, 2004
Cost: 1 pound / 1 pound
Tracks: 'The thin wall' / 'I never wanted to begin'

Thursday, 29 January 2009

We came to dance - Ultravox

'We came to dance' was the last single taken from Ultravox's sixth album Quartet. It was produced by George Martin and released on April 18, 1983. The song reached number 18 in the UK singles chart, while it didn't chart in the Netherlands.

With its demented synthesizer melody and its emotionally charged vocals, it's a bit weird that the lyrics are slightly naff. Still, I loved the track as a child and seized the opportunity a decade later to buy this single, pressed, like many more Ultravox singles, on clear vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 2187
Found: London, September 28, 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'We came to dance' / 'Overlook'
Download: Album 'Quartet', including both tracks

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Sleepwalk - Ultravox

'Sleepwalk' was the first single drawn from Ultravox's classic album 'Vienna' (1980). The song was primarily used to achieve a record contract with Chrysalis in 1980 after the band were sacked from their previous label, Island records. Compared to previous singles with John Foxx as their frontman, it was moderately successful in the UK singles chart, peaking at number 29.

The single's B-side, 'Waiting' is an intriguing instrumental track. It was recently released on cd as part of a special disc celebrating the classic album that is 'Vienna'.

My collection: 7" single no. 2540
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, November 1, 1995
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Sleepwalk' / 'Waiting'
Download: here (password: UVXx8+Mu )

Monday, 1 December 2008

Vienna - Ultravox

In 1981, I thought Ultravox was the best band in the world. In some ways, I still think that. But back then, I was totally enchanted by the song 'Vienna' and its interesting video. I'd been to Vienna on holiday with my parents the year before and I was always trying to figure out where they had filmed the scenes. One part of it was easy: the cemetary in Vienna is famous for its buildings and beautiful graves - one of which is featured on the sleeve of the single. I would come to visit that grave, too, because we went back to Vienna that summer. But the other scenes I couldn't identify. I have recently found out that Ultravox filmed those scenes in England. A great disappointment... Vienna is the title track of the equally great album, a landmark in pop history.

I bought the single twice: once in 1981 and once in 1998. The latter was a clear vinyl version, released in the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 82 / no. 3061
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1981 / Record Exchange, London, 1999
Cost: 2 guilders / 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Vienna' / 'Passionate reply'
Download: Compilation album 'Dancing with tears in my eyes', including both tracks (Part One / Part Two)
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