Midge Ure announces death of Ultravox’s Chris Cross

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Midge Ure has paid tribute to his late Ultravox bandmate Chris Cross, real name Christopher Allen, who has passed away aged 71. At this stage, no cause of death has been revealed for the bassist.

The group, originally called Tiger Lily, formed in 1974. However, upon signing to Island Records in 1976, they decided to change their name to Ultravox and embark upon a new chapter of their career. At this juncture, Allen also decided to adopt the Chris Cross persona, and singer, Dennis Leigh, became John Foxx.

While their first three albums failed to cause a dent in the charts, the trajectory of their career dramatically changed with the release of Vienna in 1980. Notably, the title track from their fourth LP became one of Ultravox’s signature songs, and peaked in second position on the UK Singles Chart.

Throughout the 1980s, Ultravox hit their stride and enjoyed the success of five top ten albums in the UK during this decade. However, following the release of U-Vox, the classic era of the band came to an end as Cross, Ure and drummer Warren Cann departed the group.

Rather than embark on a solo career after leaving Ultravox behind, Cross decided to stay away from public life and remained out of the spotlight for 20 years until the band’s most well-known line-up reunited in 2008.

During an interview with This Is Not Retro in 2009, Cross admitted he “couldn’t believe” the reaction to their reunion. In the same conversation, Ure said of their decision to get the band back together, “I think it started from the fact that it was 30 years this year since we wrote ‘Vienna’, which made it a celebratory thing. If we were going to do anything on a musical level ever again, then this would be the year to do it and that’s what got us all talking and contemplating the idea.”

Ultravox’s reunion was a resounding success, which ended up lasting five years due to the demand to see them in action. They performed for the final time on November 30th, 2013, at London’s iconic O2 Arena.

Tributes have began to pour in for Cross, including from Ure. The Scottish singer-songwriter posted on social media: “We were instant friends as well as Ultravox comrades. Even after years apart we managed to pick up where we left off like the years in between never existed. You were the glue that held the band together.”

Ure continued: “You were the logic in the madness and the madness in our lives. It was great to know and grow with you. You are loved and missed old friend.”

Watch Ultravox perform ‘Vienna’ at Live Aid in 1985 below.

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