30 Songs in 30 Days: day 08 – a song that you know all the words to

I have been falling behind, yes. I told you before, “daily” may mean something different to me than to you. Here’s a little something to wake you up if you’re drowsy.

How about a little feedback, Scarecrow?

Ultravox represents a big step in the evolution of my musical tastes. Until the time my friend Robb introduced me to the band – with this song – I was listening mostly to stuff like Styx, Kansas, Electric Light Orchestra and Supertramp (see the previous song post). My favorite band before I got to high school was Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Then Robb played some stuff for me that was totally unlike anything I had ever heard. I think he started with Gang of Four, and maybe Wire, but Ultravox was really the band that pulled me off my comfortable prog and classic rock path into the world of punk and new wave. And the album Ha! Ha! Ha! is cemented firmly in my mind as the Ultravox album.

Most people who know of Ultravox are familiar with their dance music from the 1980’s, when they were fronted by Midge Ure. To be sure, they were a lot more successful and prolific with him – they released twice as many albums – but I didn’t have much use for them by that point; I was a fan of the John Foxx-fronted version of the band. (I even tracked down their one single as “Tiger Lily,” when John Foxx was still called Dennis Leigh. It was,sadly, stolen from me a few years later.) You only have to compare Fear in the Western World with something like All Stood Still to see the different direction the band had taken:

The “new” Ultravox may have been fine musically – and it certainly fit into the 1980’s – but it would never be my Ultravox.

There are countless songs to which I know all the words, but this one holds a special place in my musical heart, and I’ve known these words for nearly 35 years now – and still do, even after not listening to it for probably close to a decade.