Who was Chris Cross? A look into Ultravox bass guitarist’s life

TRIBUTES are pouring in on social media for Ultravox musician Chris Cross, whose real name is Chris Allen, following his death.

The bass guitarist was best known for their 1981 hit Vienna. Here’s what we know about him.

Chris Cross was one of the driving forces behind Ultravox


Chris Cross was one of the driving forces behind UltravoxCredit: Getty

Who was Chris Cross?

Chris Cross was born Christopher Thomas Allen on July 14, 1952, in London.

He began his music career by performing with various bands in Tottenham, North London, drawing significant inspiration from the Small Faces, Desmond Dekker, and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

In 1973, Chris made his way back to London to attend Art College, where he pursued studies in Art and Psychology. 

At the same time, he responded to an advertisement by Dennis Leigh seeking musicians to establish a new band. 

This led to the creation of Tiger Lily with Stevie Shears on guitar, Warren Cann joining soon after as the drummer, and Billy Currie, a violinist and keyboardist coming aboard the following year.

After performing a number of gigs between 1974 and 1976, the band decided to rename themselves Ultravox! and secured a contract with Island Records.

Following a series of albums that failed to achieve commercial success, many of the original members departed, and Midge Ure was brought into Ultravox.

During the production of their successful Vienna album, the band further refined their distinctive synthesiser sounds.

The singer-songwriter also took part in the Band Aid video and wrote the music to the 1983 album The Bloodied Sword.

They had a series of successful compilations including Rage in Eden (1981), Quartet (1982), Monument (1983), and Lament (1984).

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In 1987, the band members started shifting their focus to different projects after their less successful final album U-Vox.

Cross mentions after that they “never got round to working on Ultravox”.

Over two decades later, it was revealed that Ultravox would set out on the Return to Eden tour, in addition to appearing at two festivals. 

EMI then released a Best of Ultravox CD/DVD compilation.

In 2012, the album Brilliant was released, featuring Chris Allen as a co-writer alongside Billy Currie and Ure for all its tracks. 

The album’s launch was supported by a UK theatre tour and several dates across Europe.

How did Chris Cross die?

Chris died on March 25 at the age of 71, according to reports, but the news was shared on April 1.

Ultravox pictured in the 1980s with Midge Ure, Warren Cann, Chris Cross, and Billy Currie


Ultravox pictured in the 1980s with Midge Ure, Warren Cann, Chris Cross, and Billy CurrieCredit: Getty

In an emotional tribute, former bandmate Ure described Chris, who played the bass, as “the glue that held the band together”.

He added: “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.”

Keyboard player Billy Currie also paid tribute, writing on his Facebook page: “Hi People, Very sad to hear about Chris… We had some amazing times together. Laughing mostly.”

Currently, the cause of Chris’ death remains unknown. 

What were some of Chris Cross’ biggest hits?

Ultravox scored seven albums in the UK Top Ten and seventeen singles in the UK Top 40, with their 1981 single Vienna being their most notable success.

Their 1984 track Dancing with Tears in My Eyes is featured on the band’s seventh studio album Lament.

The song was released at the peak of nuclear war-related anxiety and climbed to the third spot on the UK Singles Chart.

Hymn also achieved some commercial success having earned silver certification in the UK.

Cross and Ure also collaborated through their work directing music videos together including Dancing with Tears in My Eyes and Bananarama’s Shy Boy.

Was Chris Cross married and did he have children?

Chris has never disclosed whether he had a wife or if he has children. 

However, it is believed that he was married to Lynne Allen as reported by a Midge Ure Facebook fan page.

The star has always been notoriously private about his personal life.


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