Chris Cross, Ultravox bassist and "Vienna" co-writer, dies at 71

Ultravox bassist Chris Cross, who co-wrote the U.K. new wave group’s 1981 smash “Vienna,” has died. He was 71.

The English bassist, born Christopher Allen, was a founding member of Tiger Lily, the group that became Ultravox in the late 1970s, and took its cues from the electronics-curious post-punk and art-rock of the era. The group signed to Island Records and recorded its experimental-minded debut with Brian Eno, but found popular success with “Vienna,” a drum-machine and synth-driven ballad that hit No. 2 on the U.K. pop charts.

The song’s moody music video — inspired by the spy thriller “The Third Man” — helped make it one of the defining tracks of an emerging synth-driven movement in pop. In 1985, the band performed a memorable set at Live Aid, the massive multi-venue famine relief event co-organized by Ultravox singer Midge Ure.

The group released several more successful albums in the mid-1980s, featuring hits like “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes,” “Reap the Wild Wind” and “All Stood Still,” before going inactive in 1987. Ultravox reunited with its core lineup in 2008 and released a new album, “Brilliant,” in 2012.

“We worked together, we played together, made music and directed videos together,” Ure wrote on Facebook after Cross’ death. “We were instant friends as well as Ultravox comrades. Even after years apart we managed to pick up where we left off like the years in between never existed. You were the glue that held the band together. You were the logic in the madness and the madness in our lives. It was great to know and grow with you. You are loved and missed old friend.”

Keyboardist Billy Currie also wrote on his Facebook page that he was “Very sad to hear about Chris… We had some amazing times together. Laughing mostly.”

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