By Connor Beach
Growing up in the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland, a young Jim Ure was constantly listening to the variety of music on the few stations that his family’s radio picked up.
“I don’t think we had a television until I was in my early teens, so the radio was always on,” Ure said.
He was subject to everything from classical symphonies, to Frank Sinatra and early pop music.
The somewhat odd musical upbringing molded Ure into a musician who would go on to produce multiple hits with the bands Silk, Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids, Visage and British rock band Ultravox, for which he most famously served as front man.
“Music was in my soul before I ever decided that I was going to go down that road,” Ure said.
Ure, 64, is commonly known by his nickname “Midge,” a nickname he said was thrust upon him as a young musician in the Glasgow music scene. There was already a Jim in the first band he joined, so Ure had to find a new name.
The conversation, he said, went something like this: “Well, we can’t have two Jims, so you’re now Midge,” which is the phonetic sound of Jim spelled backwards.
As Ure’s career grew throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, he found his greatest success when he joined Ultravox. The band’s hit song “Vienna” was released in 1980, and, much to Ure’s surprise, has recently featured on several popular television series, including “13 Reasons Why” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.”
“It’s strange that in the last year or so music that I made 45 years ago has started to appear in American television series,” Ure said with a laugh. “It’s so bizarre — people find your music in the most unusual ways.”
Looking back on his extensive music career, Ure said his time with Ultravox stands out because the band found success “against all odds.”
“It was an incredibly creative, exciting period… mixing the electronic synthesizers and drum machines with traditional rock instruments,” Ure said.
Ure is also widely known for writing the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for Band Aid, the musical supergroup he co-founded with Bob Geldof to raise money for the 1983-1985 famine in Ethiopia.
Band Aid, which consisted of 36 of the biggest British and Irish musicians at the time, sold over a million copies of the Christmas song within the first week of its release.
“We knew if we could make a Christmas song with all of our friends helping us and get it to number one it would sell twice as much as a number one any other time of the year,” Ure said.
One of those friends is fellow Band Aid musician Paul Young, who is co-headlining with Ure the upcoming show at The Paramount. The show will feature a cross section of Ultravox hits and some of Ure’s solo work, with the possibility of Ure and Young performing on stage together for the first time.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on Thursday, June 7. Tickets are $19.99-$49.50 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.