James (Midge) Ure

1953 -

Rock star. Born James Ure in Cambuslang (South Lanarkshire). Educated there and at Rutherglen Academy, he went to work as an apprentice engineer at the National Engineering Laboratories in East Kilbride. At the same time he was pursuing his musical interests with various bands, including Salvation which he joined in 1972 with Kenny Hyslop (b.1951). This brought about his soubriquet, because there was already a 'Jim' in this band. Reversed, it became 'Mij' or, after the small Scottish insect, 'Midge'. Within a year, Salvation had turned professional and was playing the famous Glasgow Apollo. In 1974 the band changed its name to Slik and had a recording contract. Singles included The Boogiest Band In Town (1974), which fared better in the USA than the UK and Forever and Ever (1975), which made No. 1 in the charts. Frustrated with the teeny-pop material which Slik was contracted to produce, Ure was asked to join the punk band The Sex Pistols but turned them down. Slik disbanded in 1977 and Ure joined the punk-pop Rich Kids, but strong personalities and disagreements over direction ensured that this band quickly fell apart. After a brief period helping out Thin Lizzy as a replacement guitarist midway through an extensive tour of the USA, Ure joined Ultravox as their lead-singer and song-writer in 1979. Ure also played with the band Visage (1978-82).

Ure also pursued a solo career, which brought him success with No Regrets (1982), If I Was (1985) and Pure (1991). He is perhaps best known for founding the charity Band Aid with Bob Geldof and co-writing their charity hit Do they know it's Christmas (1984). This effort was inspired by harrowing television reports of the Ethiopian Famine. He followed this by acting as Musical Director for a series of charity concerts in aid of the Prince's trust (1987-8). He was awarded an OBE in 2005.

Ure now lives in Bath (England).

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