Vienna (Ultravox song)

Vienna (Ultravox song)

Infobox Single
Name = Vienna

Artist = Ultravox
from Album = Vienna
B-side = "Passionate Reply" "Herr X" (12" single only)
Released = January 15 1981
Format = 7" single, 12" single
Recorded = RAK Studios, London, 1980
Genre = New Romantic, Electronic
Length = 04:37 [single edit]
Label = Chrysalis Records
Writer = Midge Ure
Chris Cross
Warren Cann
Billy Currie
Producer = Conny Plank, Ultravox
Last single = "Passing Strangers" (1980)
This single = "Vienna" (1981)
Next single = "All Stood Still" (1981)
Infobox Single
Name = Vienna
Artist = Ultravox
Released = 1993
Format = CD single (x2)
Recorded = 1993
Genre = Electronic
Length = 16:34
Label = Chrysalis Records
Last single = "Vienna '92" (1992)
This single = "Vienna (reissue)" (1993)
Next single = "I Am Alive" (1993)

"Vienna" is Ultravox's third single from their fourth album of the same name (and the first under Midge Ure's leadership). The single was released on Chrysalis Records on January 15, 1981, peaking for 4 weeks at #2 in the UK singles chart. It was kept off the #1 spot by the novelty single "Shaddap You Face" by Joe Dolce Music Theatre as well as by John Lennon's Woman.


"Vienna" is a haunting ballad filled with piano and violin compositions and is renowned for Midge Ure's loud and strained vocals during the chorus. The song is regarded as a staple of the New Romantic music and fashion that was popular in the early 1980s.

The song takes inspiration from the 1948 film "The Third Man", which is based around the Austrian capital Vienna.

The single was re-released by Chrysalis in 1993 in the UK to promote a Midge Ure/Ultravox greatest hits compilation and peaked at #13 in the UK charts. It remains to this date Ultravox's signature song, being their most commercially successful release and is often performed live by Midge Ure on solo performances.


The black-and-white music video, directed by Russell Mulcahy, [cite web
title=Ultravox - Vienna (version 1: concept)
work=Music Video Database
first=Alex S
] is particularly evocative of "The Third Man". It was Ultravox' second video, after Passing Strangers (also with Mulcahy), and cost £6000–£7000, footed by the band after Chrysalis refused to fund it.

It may come as a surprise to know that approximately half of it was shot on locations in central London, mainly at Covent Garden and also in the old Kilburn Gaumont Theatre in North London (sadly, now a Bingo hall). The embassy party scene was in some house we’d rented in town.Can’t remember where, but I do remember that it took the crew a long time to set upthe lights to prepare for filming. So long that we all got impatient with waiting anddipped into the many cases of wine we’d laid on for refreshment after the shoot. Bythe time the crew was ready to film, we were all well partying for real.

The other half was in Vienna. We did it on the cheap. There was just us and Nick,our trusty camera man. We took an early morning flight to Vienna, ran round likeloonies in and out of taxis as we filmed, and soon discovered that, due to it being thewinter off-season, many of the splendid places we’d been counting upon filming wereeither shut for redecorating or covered with webs of scaffolding. “What do you meanit’s ‘closed for repairs’?!” We finished up in the cemetery for the shots with the statuewhich had been used for the single’s cover (a gentleman who made pianos for the rich and famous of his time, I believe), did the sunset shot, and then dashed back to London to start editing.|Warren Cann|Explaining the location details to Jonas Wårstad [cite web|url=|title=Ultravox: The Story|first=Jonas|last=Wårstad|pages=44–45|year=1997|accessdate=2008-07-28]


The b-side to the single is "Passionate Reply", a light, poppy synthpop song similar to many tracks on the Vienna album. The 12" single also features "Herr X", a version of the Kraftwerk-esque album track "Mr. X" sung entirely in German by Warren Cann with the aid of native German producer Conny Plank.

Both tracks were included on the remastered CD version of the Vienna LP as bonus tracks.

Track listing

7" version: CHS 2481

# "Vienna" – 4:37
# "Passionate Reply" – 4:17

12" version: CHS 12 2481

# "Vienna" – 4:53
# "Passionate Reply" – 4:17
# "Herr X" – 5:49
*All songs written by Warren Cann, Chris Cross, Billy Currie, Midge Ure.

CD re-issue:

Disc one: CDCHS 3936
# "Vienna" - 4.37
# "Answers to Nothing" - 3.40
# "The Voice" - 4.24
# "Wastelands" - 4.22Disc two: CDCHS 3937
# "Vienna" - 4.37
# "Call of the Wild" - 4.18
# "One Small Day" - 4.27
# "Hymn" - 4.24
*"Vienna", "The Voice", "One Small Day" and "Hymn" all written by Cann, Cross, Currie, Ure.
*"Answers to Nothing" and "Call of the Wild" written by Midge Ure.
*"Wastelands" written by Midge Ure, D. Mitchell, Ian Anderson.

Chart positions

1981 release (CHS 2481):

Cover versions

The song has been covered by various artists since its release:
*Kirlian Camera ("Todesengel. The Fall of Life, 1991")
*Vic Reeves ("NME" compilation "Ruby Trax", 1992)
*Celestial Season ("Solar Lovers", 1995)
*Gregorian ("Masters of Chant, 2000")
*Russell Watson ("The Voice, 2000")
*Clawfinger ("A Whole Lot of Nothing, 2001")
*Infernal ("From Paris to Berlin, 2005")

Media references

It was jokingly suggested on "A Song for Europe", an episode of TV sitcom "Father Ted", that "Vienna" was written and performed by a priest called Father Benny Cake who changed his name so that nobody would know he was a priest, presumably referring to Ure. [cite web
author=Father Ted
authorlink=Song for Europe (Father Ted)
title=Priests we merely hear about
work=Father Ted Canonical Priest List

In 2008, "Vienna" was used in the BBC trailer for "Ashes to Ashes". It appeared in the first episode when Alex Drake initially arrived in 1981, and again in the sixth episode.

During a fictitious flashback scene on the "Kath and Kim" episode "The Hidden Truth", Sharon mentions her plans to attend a 'Blitz Night' and sings a few notes from "Vienna".


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