How did Ultravox get their name?
The band was formed in 1974 on the initiative of vocalist and songwriter Dennis Leigh, a then Royal College of Art student, and was originally known as Tiger Lily. An initial but incomplete line-up comprised Leigh plus Chris Allen (bass guitar) and Stevie Shears (guitar), with Warren Cann (drums) and Billy Currie (violin) joining in May and October 1974 respectively. The group released one single in 1975, "Ain't Misbehavin'", a cover of the Fats Waller song which featured in a soft porn film. Later, the band went through a series of name changes including The Zips, Fire of London, London Soundtrack, and The Damned, using this last name for a few weeks before discovering that another band had already taken it.
On the strength of their live act, the band signed to Island Records in 1976. The group had still not finalised their band name, wanting to make a good and lasting choice. In July 1976, while working on the late stages of their debut album, the band conceived the name Ultravox! (the exclamation mark was a reference to krautrock band Neu!, produced by Conny Plank, who later produced three Ultravox albums). At the same time, Leigh chose John Foxx and Allen chose Chris Cross as their respective stage names. In February 1977, Island released their eponymous debut album, Ultravox!
Some time in 1978, the group dropped the exclamation mark, becoming simply "Ultravox".