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Midge Ure

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Midge Ure was born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire (a suburb of Glasgow), in 1953. After leaving school in 1969 (Rutherglen Academy), he went to work as an apprentice engineer at the National Engineering Laboratories in East Kilbride. Simultaneously, he joined his first band 'Stumble' who took their name from a John Mayall song. They played many gigs in and around Glasgow covering other people's records. They spent two years together before disbanding.

In 1970, The McGinlay brothers - Jim and Kevin - form the group 'Salvation' in Glasgow. After deciding on a change in musical direction, the tow brothers parted company with the other two members of 'Salvation'. (3rd brother Hugh and cousin Ernie Slater). Three new members were recruited - Midge Ure, Kenny Hyslop and Billy McIsaac. In auditioning for the band, as well as playing some rock 'n' roll numbers, Midge played Neil Young's - 'Southern Man'. The reformed 'Salvation' turned professional after being given three nights work a week in a Glasgow disco.

In 1974 Kevin McGinlay left 'Salvation' in April. The remaining members decide on a change of name for the band. 'Slik' was born. In October, Polydor Records began heavy promotional work on 'Slik's' first single - 'The Boogiest Band In Town'. The single didn't give the band any success in the UK. On Stateside it faired a little better reaching No.115 on the Billboard Chart.

In 1975 'Slik' was featured in the film 'Never Too Young To Rock' as well as on the accompanying soundtrack LP. With no success to show for all their hard work, the band switched to Bell Records. Bell subsequently re-released 'The Boogiest Band In Town' but fared no better than Polydor. However, 'Slik's' luck was to change with the release of their second single 'Forever and Ever' at the end of the year.

Upon Midge changing his image (from the long hair and flared trousers to short hair and tight trousers), he was approached by Malcolm McLaren to join the fledgling 'Sex Pistols'. He turned the offer down thinking it was a bit suspicious that McLaren hadn't asked him if he was a musician.

In 1976 'Slik' made their 'Top Of The Pops' debut on 1 January. Within a few weeks 'Forever and Ever' had claimed the coveted No.1 slot. The single stayed there for one week. Recording of the album 'Slik' also commenced. At the end of February, they played two promotional gigs - one in Glasgow and the other (making their London stage debut) at the New Victoria Theatre. 'Requiem' the band's third single was released in April. Disaster struck the group on 20 May when Midge was injured in a car accident. He was being driven by his manager when the windscreen shattered. He suffered a fractured right arm. 'Slik' the album was released on 21 May. Because of Midge's injury, the majority of dates on the UK Tour were postponed. Of the scheduled 23 dates only 6 were played.

In 1977 The bubble had burst - the fickle side of pop had hit 'Slik'. Discontentment set in and Jim McGinlay departed. He was replaced by Russell Webb. When the band broke their contract with Martin and Coulter it meant that they weren't legally allowed to work in the UK under the name of 'Slik'. They therefore spent a few months playing in Europe. When they returned, Midge and Kenny cut some live tracks under the name of 'PVC2'. 'Gonna Put You In The Picture' was released on Scotland's first independent label - Zoom - in November. With everyone seemingly against them, the band finally disbanded. Midge joined the 'Rich Kids' in September whilst the others renamed themselves the 'Zones'. Midge unofficially did some PR work for them.

In 1978 The 'Rich Kids' were formed by ex-'Sex Pistol' member Glen Matlock. After recruiting Rusty Egan and Steve New, Midge was the last to join after initially turning them down. The band were hailed by EMI as a cross between the 'Bay City Rollers' and the 'Sex Pistols'. Their music was later dubbed 'power pop'. The reactions they received on their UK Tour varied immensely - from the warm and friendly to the downright hostile. At the gig in Brighton they walked off stage because of the bottles, spit and verbal abuse being aimed at them!! Although the band's first single - 'Rich Kids' - faired reasonably well in the charts reaching No.24, subsequent releases including the album - 'Ghosts Of Princes In Towers' - were less successful. This, along with disagreements between Midge and Glen about what sound the band should adopt culminated in the 'Rich Kids' splitting up in November. With the 'Rich Kids' having some studio time left, Midge didn't let this go to waste. The early workings of 'Visage' emerged with Midge writing 'The Dancer'.

In 1979 Although the 'Rich Kids' had disbanded they claimed to be just 'resting' while they pursued potential alternatives. Midge quickly found himself some more work when he produced a single for Kelvin Blacklock. This led to a band being formed in March. Along with three others they went under the guise of the 'Misfits'. After playing 3 promotional gigs and with the music press describing the music as "shamelessly outdated" they disbanded. At the same time as this project, Midge had also started to work with Steve Strange. The pair of them recorded a great version of 'In The Year 2525'. Although EMI had financed the session they were not interested in the resulting work. Before Midge could get too engrossed in the 'Visage' project his services were called upon when Thin Lizzy sent out an SOS to him in mid-July. They were in the middle of a lengthy American tour and had fired guitarist Gary Moore for allegedly being "unreliable". Midge was seen by Phil Lynott as a suitable replacement. Many of the press saw this as being a permanent move. This wasn't to be the case as Midge stated "I couldn't stay with Lizzy - it's not really my sort of music. I'm just helping them out." Within a few hours of the call, Midge was on Concorde desperately learning the chord sequences to Lizzy's 'Live And Dangerous' LP. Midge was expected to make his British debut with Thin Lizzy at the Reading Festival. They had to pull out because they only had a 50 minute set list (which was all that was required for the US Tour). For the Festival they would have been expected to play a two hour set. It was believed that this would have been beyond the capabilities of the makeshift Lizzy. Midge was due to join Ultravox in September but because of the commitments to Thin Lizzy he officially joined Ultravox on 1 November.

Since then Ure has produced three solo albums throughout the eighties that have met small success in both Britain and the United States. Midge Ure was also the co-founder of Band Aid/Live Aid., and a Trustee of Live Aid. He was the musical director of the Prince's Trust Concerts 1986-1988 and at the Nelson Mandela Concert - a special 40 minute set. He was awarded the Ivor Novello for music, the Lord Provost award for services to Scottish music. He then set-up his own record label - MusicFest.

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