I’m continuing to favour tracks from artists I’ve seen in concert more than once. I’m kicking off with something suitably moody. First up, there’s Vienna by Ultravox. I was a big fan of New Romantic music.
Ultravox were a British new wave band, formed in London in April 1974. Until 1979, singer John Foxx was frontman and the main driving force behind the band. Following his departure, Midge Ure officially took over as lead singer, guitarist and frontman after he and keyboardist Billy Currie had worked on the studio project Visage. Ure revitalised the band and steered it to commercial chart success lasting until 1987, at which time the group disbanded.
Vienna was released as the third single from the band’s fourth album of the same name in January 1981. It’s regarded as a staple of the synthpop genre that was popularised in the early 1980s. It remains Ultravox’s signature song, being their most commercially successful release.
The music video, directed by Russell Mulcahy, is particularly evocative of The Third Man and cost £6,000–£7,000 to produce which was footed by the band after their record label (Chrysalis) refused to fund it. Approximately half of it was shot on locations in central London, mainly at Covent Garden and also in the old Kilburn Gaumont Theatre in North London. The rest was shot in Vienna on the cheap with one cameraman and the band.
As mentioned above Ure and Currie had met while collaborating on Visage, a studio-based band fronted by New Romantic icon and nightclub impresario Steve Strange. Ure and Currie were part of the Visage ensemble on a part-time basis while simultaneously being in Ultravox. During Ure and Currie’s tenure, Visage had released two successful albums and had a string of hit singles, the most notable being Fade to Grey.