Midge is one of the most creative singer/songwriters of modern times. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage, and most notably as frontman of Ultravox.
Midge Ure (James “Midge” Ure, OBE) started playing music in a Glasgow band called Stumble (c. 1969 – c. 1971), that included a girl-singing duet.
Ure joined Salvation as a guitarist in 1972. The band had been formed in Glasgow in June 1970 by the brothers Kevin (vocals) and Jim McGinlay (bass guitar). In November 1974 the band changed their name to Slik, with Bay City Rollers writers Bill Martin and Phil Coulter providing songs.
By October 1977 Ure had left PVC2 to join former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock in The Rich Kids. The band were renowned for their high-octane energetic live shows, including a show at the London College of Printing. In January 2010, The Rich Kids reformed for one night only, for a benefit concert for Steve New who was fighting terminal cancer.
Ure already knew Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott. In early 1979, Ure received co-writing credit for “Get Out Of Here” on the album Black Rose. In July 1979, Ure stepped in to help Thin Lizzy complete a US tour following guitarist Gary Moore’s abrupt departure.
1979 had seen Ure and Billy Currie form a close bond playing together in Visage. The pair decided to resurrect Currie’s former group, the synthpop band Ultravox.
In 1984, Ure co-wrote the Band Aid hit, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Bob Geldof. Geldof provided the initial lyrics, with Ure working the musical theme on a small keyboard in his kitchen. The second half was composed by Ure, with the bridging chorus only assembled in the studio when the artists had gathered.
Ure and Geldof jointly set up the Band Aid Trust, and he remains active as a Band Aid Trustee to this day. He also co-organised the Live Aid concert of 1985 along with Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith. Geldof and Ure have been honoured with two Ivor Novello awards for writing the song.
After working on the Band Aid project and during a hiatus from Ultravox, Ure pursued a solo career in 1985. The single, “If I Was”, was a UK number one single, and his debut album, The Gift, reached #2.
Ure is also an Ambassador for Save the Children and in recent years he has gone back to Ethiopia and visited Sierra Leone in that capacity.
He was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts in 2005 by the University of Abertay Dundee for his artistic and charity work over the past 30 years. He was made a Doctor of Music by University of Edinburgh in 2006.
In 2009 Ure and the other members reformed Ultravox for the Return to Eden tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Vienna album, followed up the next year with a second round of the tour. In late 2010 Ultravox started working on their sixth album fronted by Ure.
He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bath in December 2010.
One of the most respected figures in music, Midge Ure is in demand as an after dinner speaker. He is also an excellent event host and entertaining after dinner speaker.