John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh in Chorley, Lancashire, England), the original vocalist of Ultravox
, was one of those cult figures known more through the recordings of others rather than those of his own making.
His detached, jolting vocal style inspired mainstream and underground artists across the decades, from synth pop superstar Gary Numan
to electro-techno duo Adult.
Foxx's three albums with Ultravox
, released during the tail end of the '70s, as well as his first two solo albums, Metamatic (1980) and The Garden (1981), are essential listening for anyone with an interest in artful post-glam rock and challenging electronic pop. After a mostly silent span of roughly 12 years, broken up by a pair of early-'90s singles with Tim Simenon as Nation12, he returned more prolific than ever, operating his own label and dividing his recording schedule between ambient work (including collaborations with pianist Harold Budd
and Cocteau Twins
guitarist Robin Guthrie
) and song-based material (recorded with Louis Gordon
) that often recalled Metamatic. As a graphic artist, he designed book covers for Salman Rushdie and Anthony Burgess, and he also co-directed LFO
's video for 1991's "LFO." ~ Andy Kellman