Ultravox – Vienna (12″)

AAAAARGh it’s eventually on here!!! I know, I know, I know it’s overplayed and oversung and for the millions it is THE Ultravox song. I love the weird drums, the ear shattering bass tone and that violin solo but it has been heard enough for me. Released January 1981.

Of obvious interest is the B-sides.

“Passionate Reply” is my favourite Vox B-side. (It was even covered by Zaine Griff) sequenced and tight with that great guitar riff.

Some have mentioned Yellow Magic Orchestra ripped this off with track “Cue”, it sounds more like Bill Nelson to me.

“Herr X” is just the song sung in German, isn’t it ? Are there not subtle differences, the edit and slight different emphasis on some instruments. I’m sure Post Punk Monk will enlighten us! At least the vocals are a bit clearer!



Chrysalis ‎– CHS 12 2481 SAM_4917

A Vienna 4:50
B1 Passionate Reply 4:20
B2 Herr X 5:50


6 thoughts on “Ultravox – Vienna (12″)”

  1. …And you’re right! The vocal is the only difference for “Herr X,” but it did sound produced differently. Hopefully they EQed it to make it sound more guttural and harsh! Bit of a hit, this was as the New Romantic trend that Ultravox probably started themselves in 1978 was coming to a public head by 1981, with only the godlike genius of Joe Dolce able to hold our heroes off for the number one spot.

    “Passionate Reply” is a great B-side but I felt they surpassed it with the B-sides form their next album. I remember seeing this in the import bins in America in early 1981 and being confused as to exactly what was going on with this copy of “Vienna” in a very different sleeve to the album, which I already had! Yes, imagine a world where 12″ singles were a new and unexplained phenomenon! But things didn’t stay that way for long. By the end of the year it was how I preferred my singles.

  2. Last year had a pleasure to discover that “Herr X” still creeps people out – those of rock disposition, and ones only used to blander modern sounds. This really is something else (though I find the translation a bot too wordy, with Warren having to practically cram the verses into the music bed; a bit uncomfortable to listen when I pay close attention). “Passionate reply” is great, no wonder Midge re-did it later with Zaine – should’ve gained much more attention. As for the main track – yes, overplayed to death, an easy and obvious choice for lazy TV/radio people (just like “Fade to grey”). Still, an all-time classic nonetheless and a fine composition in its own right. Perhaps it’s better to be remembered for the masterpiece, however overexposed, than for some lightweight stuff.

  3. Going back to the original Mr. X and Herr X, the latter is slightly shorter (about 5:55 minutes whereas the LP version is about 6:30 – my own timings). There’s a shorter intro and outro. More reverb on the vocal. But other than that – near and damn the same.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.