History of Ultravox explored as band member Chris Cross dies at 71

Chris Cross (Image via Instagram/@ultravoxuk)
Chris Cross (Image via Instagram/@ultravoxuk)

Ultravox bass guitarist Chris Cross has died aged 71. He was best known for co-penning the lyrics of the band's 1981 hit, Vienna.

Cross, whose real name was Chris Allen, reportedly passed away on March 25, but his fellow band member, Midge Ure, announced his death on April 1. The cause of his death has not been confirmed.

His fellow bandmate and the band's leading man, Midge Ure, wrote a tribute post for the deceased musician yesterday. The post read:

"We worked together, we played together, made music and directed videos together. 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."

Midge Ure went on to call Chris "the glue" that held the band together. He mentioned:

"You were the glue that held the band together. 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."

Following the news of Cross's death, his co-band member Billy Currie also wrote a post about the guitarist. He wrote:

"Hi People, Very sad to hear about Chris... We had some amazing times together. Laughing mostly."

Originally named Tiger Lily, Ultravox was founded in 1974. Chris Cross was one of the founding members of the band, alongside drummer Warren Cann, singer Dennis Leigh, guitarist Stevie Shears, and violinist cum keyboard player Billy Currie. They renamed themselves in 1976.


Chris Cross was one of the founding members of Ultravox in 1974

The band released three albums in the years following the foundation, namely Ultravox!, Ha!-Ha!-Ha! and Systems of Romance. However, they did not find their breakthrough moment at this stage. In 1979, Midge Ure joined the band after the departure of lead singer John Foxx and guitarist Robin Simon.

After the arrival of Midge Ure, the band was revived. It consisted of four members, guitarist Chris Cross, drummer Warren Cann, violinist cum keyboard player Billy Currie and lead singer Midge Ure. In July 1980, they shot to fame with their breakthrough album, Vienna.

The album was not a huge hit at first. However, the band released a single of the same name in January 1981, which was received well by listeners. The song was co-written by all four band members: Ure, Currie, Cann, and Cross.

Their single Vienna remained at the No. 2 position for three weeks and became the fifth-highest-selling track in the UK in 1981. It was also ranked in the Top 10 on the charts in Australia, New Zealand, and several other countries in Europe. Their other big hits include Dancing with Tears in My Eyes, All Stood Still, and Reap The Wild Wind.

Ultravox released five albums after Vienna, namely Rage in Eden, Quartet, Monument, Lament, and U-Vox. Between 1980 and 1986, the band got several Top 10 albums and produced 17 hit numbers.

The band then took a break to focus on other projects. However, they reunited for a tour in 2009.

The band's final album, Brilliant, was released in 2012. Chris Cross served as the co-writer, alongside Midge and Billy in all songs of the album.

Ure and Cross worked together on other projects as well. The duo directed the music video for Bananarama’s Shy Boy. Ure and Sir Bob Geldof later co-founded the Band-Aid project and Cross was a part of it too.

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Edited by Divya Singh