Midge Ure's career, as fans well know, did not begin or end with Ultravox, and so If I Was: The Very Best of Midge Ure & Ultravox attempts to give an overview of one of '80s' Britain's most popular singers. As a career retrospective goes, however, it's pretty spotty. The Scottish vocalist first found fame with the pop band Slik, who scored a chart topper with "Forever and Ever" in 1976. Unfortunately, you won't find that here, nor its hit follow-up, scored just as a car accident took the band out of the charts. Once recovered, Ure moved on. His first port of call, in 1978, was ex-Pistol Glen Matlock's punk/post-punk supergroup the Rich Kids, who released a single and album, although this compilation draws nothing from this period, either. The following year, with the Kids in disarray, Ure helped form the even more illustrious Visage. Joining him there was Ultravox's Billy Currie and, before the year was out, Ure was fronting two hit-bound bands. Visage gets short shrift here, with Ultravox invariably, if unfairly, better represented. But even this wasn't enough to keep the singer busy. In 1981, as both bands' albums and singles swept up the charts, Ure linked up with Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott for yet another hit, "Yellow Pearl." The following year, the New Romantic hero launched his solo career with the Top Ten single "No Regrets." By the end of 1982, Ure had departed Visage, but in the new year he joined forces with Japan's Mick Karn for the "After a Fashion" single, another hit. And then, of course, there's "Do They Know It's Christmas," co-written by Ure and Bob Geldof, to raise millions for Ethiopia's starving population. 1984 was to be Ultravox's swan song, but Ure re-emerged the next year as a solo artist, with hit following hit into the beginning of the new decade. All of them are here, even if the law of diminishing returns had really begun to set in early. For fans, this is a solid set, but much of the best of this artist lies elsewhere.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
feat: Mick Karn
feat: Phil Lynott
feat: Band Aid