While Britain, and much of the rest of the world, was still enthralled with the punk scene, Ultravox was busy developing a new, brave style of music called electro-pop. It combined the edginess of punk with the syncopated rhythm of sequenced electronic music. Both Brian Eno and early Roxy Music were heavy influences on Ultravox's soud. Much of what the band did in their heyday were pioneering breakthroughs, similar to what acts like the Eurythmics, Soft Cell, and Devo were already developing.
Ultravox! (punctuation intended for the original incarnation of the band) was started in London in 1974 by vocalist and keyboardist John Foxx. The band emerged at the same time that synthesizers and sequencers were taking off. Their unique blend of pop, dance, rock, and electronica did not catch on right away, as their 1977 self-titled debut album, which contained two tracks produced by former Roxy Music member Brian Eno, was dismissed by critics. The band also had limited success in the US and failed to break through in a big commercial way because their music, frankly, was too weird for most American tastes.
Ultravox finally broke through in Europe in 1981, two years after Foxx had left the band and was replaced by guitarist/singer Midge Ure (a former member of Glen Matlock's Rich Kids), who helped take their sound in a more commercial pop direction. This was especially true in Germany, where electro-pop music had already been embraced by millions of fans. The group split in 1987, and, after a brief reformation in the early '90s, Ultravox reformed again in 2008 and embarked on a 2009 tour.
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