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#373 - Sun, 05 Mar 2006 20:52:00 Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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I was wondering recently, does anybody know what John's album sale figures are? Either internationally or here in the UK. And in which countries have his albums been more successful?

because John isn't a commercial artist as such, it has always felt exciting to be a fan of somebody outside of the mainstream. John works like an artist, and it does seem that he's in a position where he doesn't need chart success to produce his albums and acheive his creative goals - with the added bonus of a decent fanbase who will buy the end product.

That leads me on to my next question - do we know where the core of John's fanbase are? John being a Brit, I might have assumed that his core following is in the UK, but in recent years, I have realised that a lot of music like electronic stuff, is perhaps better appreciated in Europe.

Has John ever stated his views on "chart success"? I guess he wouldn't say no to having a top 20 single again, but I don't think that sort of thing is very high in his lost of goals.

Discuss...

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#374 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 03:24:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Your Shadow Offline
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"I guess he wouldn't say no to having a top 20 single again"

As far as I'm aware John has never had a top twenty single. His highest chart position was 31 with Underpass in 1980. Andy

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#375 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 03:53:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
barnbrook2 Offline
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its a vague recollection but i remember in a magazine interview just after the garden came out, a journalist asked john whether he liked or disliked 'commercial' music and john said that he never made music that he didnt intend people to listen to. so in that sense his music was 'commercial'.

i also remember when i met john around the time of the golden section i asked him what he thought of the success of madonna. and he said that she seemed to have become famous in a way that many didnt really approve of. so i imagine he feels as many people do who produce something a little bit different - they have no objection to becoming well known or selling records, as long as that it is on their creative terms and 'fame' is not the main motivation.

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#376 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 15:25:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
METAL BEAT Offline
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Hi Alex
Some quite thought provoking questions there. I think John likes to make music that he actually enjoys. Somehow I don't think being famous would have suited John at all especially being the Quiet Man. I would guess John as a world wide loyal fan base but I think this may have come from the days of the album Systems of Romance.

One question from this did John strive to be a commercial success?

I'm for one happy that John continues 20 odd years on, to make music.

I think also that John would never become a rich man from his music alone but he uses his lecturing for his income. On this last statement I could be totally wrong, and someone please let me know if I'm wrong.

I've wished in the past that John could be more famous and take his music to a new audience. He IMHO is a very underated artish.
Regards
Peter smile

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#377 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 17:36:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by METAL BEAT:
I've wished in the past that John could be more famous and take his music to a new audience. He IMHO is a very underated artish.
You know Peter I think that's one of the points I was maybe trying to get across. I certaily wouldn't want John to suddenly do something commercial as such - I know he wouldn't, because as you say he makes the kind of music he likes - but I guess when you have somebody as brilliant as John, you can't help but feel that his stuff should have been a bigger success, so to reach out to a wider audience. He is a very underrated artist.

And, though slightly off-topic, it was only when I saw John live that it struck me what a rich and versatile voice he has.

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#378 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 17:46:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
birdsong Offline
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This underlines the point I made earlier as well.
The next album with Louis would, I think, present a good opportunity to actually release a high profile, well distributed single.
Half the problem with John's record sales, IMHO, is the lack of management publicity and distribution.
I know John has said that he looks at sales from each project as paying for the next...
I know the argument would be that we, as the hardcore fan base, get to know when things are available to buy and we can go and find them. Nation 12 is a good example.
But this is preaching to the converted a bit, and limits sales of things to what - a couple of thousand copies at most??
If only the media machine wasn't such a crass thing to be part of. Higher record sales would be good, but the media exposure, interviews and general "pop star" crap that has to go with it is something John has always stayed well clear of.
Can't blame him for that, but it seems you can't have one without the other. wink

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#379 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 18:55:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
METAL BEAT Offline
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I always think with the media that you are in "no win" situation. At least John can walk the streets without being recognised and mobbed by teenage girls. :rolleyes:

Did Crash and Burn make it into the album charts? I think it was given quite a high profile at it's time of release. The DJ's seemed to rate it very highly and John seemed very comfortable talking about it.

People that are on the EV mailing list, forum regulars and read this forum without posting are very lucky in respect we get first hand knowledge of what John is doing and planning. For me it wasn't always like that, I missed Shifting City and CO1 when they were originally released.

When I'm asked who my favourite singer / artist is and I reply John Foxx. I usually get "who's John Foxx" then I have to explain he was the original singer of Ultravox. At least my close family and friends have heard of John because of the interest I take in him. Thats one problem of John being famous but to be honest I like it that way. Fame isn't everything. smile

Nice meaty topic Alex. Good one!!!!!
Regards
Peter

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#380 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 19:05:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
birdsong Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by METAL BEAT:
At least John can walk the streets without being recognised and mobbed by teenage girls. :rolleyes:

And this is a problem??? wink lmao

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#381 - Mon, 06 Mar 2006 19:35:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Havocman Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by birdsong:
Quote:
Originally posted by METAL BEAT:
[b]At least John can walk the streets without being recognised and mobbed by teenage girls. :rolleyes:

And this is a problem??? wink lmao [/b]
It could be in the eyes of the law..... wink

Back on track, it seems a shame that John doesn't sell more records but I am grateful that he is at least still recording. Without the internet, I suspect he would not be around as a musician any more.

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#382 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 00:07:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Vladimir Offline
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Quote:
I was wondering recently, does anybody know what John's album sale figures are? Either internationally or here in the UK. And in which countries have his albums been more successful?
Being a fan and from what I know I assume he has always been most successful in UK - in terms of chart activity. Can't find the other country he ever charted in. Though he recalled (in the early 80's) "great, enthusiastic audiences" in Japan and having an underground following in USA and "I'm quite popular there", add to this his Spanish TV appearance (which seems to indicate a certain interest in him there) and of course in Germany he's a cult star.

As for his best-selling album, here's the quote:
"- Was "Metamatic" your most commercially successful album?
- No, I think "The Garden" sold more. But it's certainly the definitive one."
Interesting interview, by the way - here:
http://www.darkstarorg.demon.co.uk/aint5.htm

And now his UK chart info:

singles -
1980 - "Underpass" #31
1980 - "No One Driving" #32
1980 - "Burning Car" #35
1980 - "Miles Away" #51
1981 - "Europe After the Rain" #40
1981 - "Dancing Like a Gun" [charted in Top 100 but didn't reach Top 75]
1983 - "Endlessly '83" #66
1983 - "Your Dress" #61
1985 - "Stars on Fire" #89

albums -
1980 - "Metamatic" #18
1981 - "The Garden" #24
1983 - "The Golden Section" #27
1985 - "In Mysterious Ways" #85

As you can see, he was a kind of minor pop star in the early 80's.

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#383 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 00:27:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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They're respectable positions I guess. Interesting to see figures. Do we know sales figures or chart positioning for the later albums?

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#384 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 00:29:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by METAL BEAT:
When I'm asked who my favourite singer / artist is and I reply John Foxx. I usually get "who's John Foxx" then I have to explain he was the original singer of Ultravox.
That's fun to do though - makes you proud to be a FoxxFan and enlighten people as to who he is.

Quote:
Originally posted by METAL BEAT:

Nice meaty topic Alex. Good one!!!!!
Thanks Peter! smile

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#385 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 00:38:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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Over the last couple of years, the music press have been more respectable towards John, crowning him as an innovator - which is great recognition.

However I'm not sure if reviews are always as favourable. I think Crash and Burn may have gotten better reviews and airplay than previous releases.

But I always remember reading a review of "The Pleasures of Electricity" in Q Magazine (which I no longer read), where they described John's vocals as 'being so close to the microphone, you could tell how closely he had shaved that day' - or words to that effect.

I thought it was cruel (though a witty comment you have to admit) - and this was before I'd even heard the album. Fortunately (and as always) I ignored the review and bought the album - and as I've said many times on this forum - it's my favourite John Foxx album along with Metamatic.

In fact, speaking of reviews, does anybody use the 'Rate Your Music' website?

Here is a link to the John Foxx page, where you can read other people's reviews. Mine are all there, under 'AlexS'.

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/john_foxx

If you want to rave about John to a wide musical audience, now's yer chance!!

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#386 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 01:32:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Si_W Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alex S:
However I'm not sure if reviews are always as favourable. I think Crash and Burn may have gotten better reviews and airplay than previous releases.
Can't remember if Q reviewed C&B but they did review COIII and completely slated it.

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#387 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 02:15:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Alex S Offline
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Surprise!

I think they'd slate anything that isn't Radiohead, REM or U2...

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#388 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 03:27:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
METAL BEAT Offline
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Hi
Thanks Vladimir for posting John chart positions. It seems Europe after the Rain was Johns most popular single which is a bit of a surprise.

I would also be interested if C & B, POE and Shifting City entered the charts.

Regards
Peter

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#389 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 03:50:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Your Shadow Offline
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Crash and Burn was reviewed by Q and received a good review at that. She Robot was described as S-Club 7 doing Kraftwerk ! The reviewer meant that in a positive way,honestly. Andy

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#390 - Tue, 07 Mar 2006 08:21:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Dadge Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alex S:
In fact, speaking of reviews, does anybody use the 'Rate Your Music' website?

Here is a link to the John Foxx page, where you can read other people's reviews. Mine are all there, under 'AlexS'.
You're only my 9th most compatible user!

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#391 - Wed, 08 Mar 2006 03:27:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Vladimir Offline
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METAL BEAT wrote
Quote:
Thanks Vladimir for posting John chart positions. It seems Europe after the Rain was Johns most popular single which is a bit of a surprise.
No problem, really. I just love that chart stuff smile

Actually, John's most popular single was - and, I presume, still is - "Underpass", not only his peak position in UK, but also his most weeks in the UK chart for that matter ("Top-75" at the time) - it graced the chart for 8 weeks.
"Underpass" is also his most recognisable song, judging from the compilation appearances (i.e. "various artists" CDs).

But "Europe After the Rain" is one of the "cult favourites" (and deservedly so).

Quote:
I would also be interested if C & B, POE and Shifting City entered the charts.
Unfortunately, "In Mysterious Ways" was John's last album to enter the UK charts. The albums you mentioned didn't seem to even chart in the UK "Top-200", which is a truly great shame!

---------

Alex S wrote:

Quote:
They're respectable positions I guess.
Well, with John being compared to Gary Numan at the time they're a bit humble, but then again, chart figures weren't the stuff John even had much interest in, right? smile

Quote:
I think Crash and Burn may have gotten better reviews and airplay than previous releases.
I once seen a really-really harsh review on this album somewhere on the Net while googling for "John Foxx". Cannot remember the exact quotes but, for example, "She-Robot" (or was it "Sex Video"?) was described as a kind of silly amateurish song that such an old man should be really ashamed of having written. And the album in general was panned by the reviewer.
The only unfavourable review on "Crash and Burn" that I've seen, by the way.

On the other hand, not long ago one of my friends sent me a scan of a review for "Cathedral Oceans I + II" that appeared in one of Russian music mags (well, actually a Russian edition of the "Rolling Stone"). I was really surprised John had a mention at all - even Ultravox are almost completely unknown here, let alone Mr. Foxx, I haven't seen his name in Russian music press before! But that review was surprisingly favourable, a real praise.

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#392 - Wed, 08 Mar 2006 03:43:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
birdsong Offline
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Any chance you could circulate that scan? I'd like to see a copy.

I always enjoy enlightening people about John Foxx - and I have converted my daughter to love his stuff.

Re "Europe After The Rain" - I suspect that will be 'top' single becasue it probably has been heard by a wider audience in countries outside the UK.
Watch out too for Mr No, which was not remixxed by Joakim for no reason. Its cited as a massive influence on a lot of electronic artists and seems to feature on a lot of 'goth' playlists for some reason. So does the Systems of Romance album...

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#393 - Wed, 08 Mar 2006 16:43:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
METAL BEAT Offline
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It's a shame that Johns recent albums didnt make the top 200 in the album charts. The release of C & B was certainly given quite a bit of exposure on the radio.I would also love to see the scan you mention Vladimir even if it's in Russian. I'm sure you could translate it into English and it'll be a nice document for the archive.

I wonder if John ever sold all the 1,000 vinyl copies of C & B that were pressed. I only brought it because I'm a bit of a complete-ist.

I would guess that Underpass is John's most famous single and the one he is most recognised for.

Like Birdsong my daughter (who's 14 now) gets a lot of exposure to John's music and she'll quite happily sing-a-long to his songs.

I also have Joakim's single Mr No and to be honest I wasn't that impressed but again for my collection there is a 12" version of Mr No on the "B" side. I wonder how many copies of Mr No were made? I wouldn't think it was many.

I'm glad that John is still happily making new music for us, the hard-core fans. I IMHO think he'll always remain as a cult figure.

Thanks again Vladimir for your input on the chart side of things. smile
Regards
Peter

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#394 - Thu, 09 Mar 2006 00:34:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Vladimir Offline
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birdsong wrote:

Quote:
Any chance you could circulate that scan? I'd like to see a copy
No problem, but it is in Russian.

Quote:
Re "Europe After The Rain" - I suspect that will be 'top' single becasue it probably has been heard by a wider audience in countries outside the UK.
I meant "Underpass" is his biggest hit in Uk, but in Europe "EATR" very well may be his most well-known song.

---------

METAL BEAT wrote:

Quote:
I would also love to see the scan you mention Vladimir even if it's in Russian. I'm sure you could translate it into English and it'll be a nice document for the archive.
Oh... Well, it'll take some days to translate (I'm rather busy now), but when I do I'll send the scan to you and birdsong along with the translation.

Quote:
Thanks again Vladimir for your input on the chart side of things.
Thanks to you smile

---------

I just thought - maybe we should create a special thread where people can post links to various reviews of John's work or interviews with him? So it'll be a kind of link archive. I personally just love to search for various articles on John (not only on him, but in this case), I guess not only me likes that, so such a thread could be of big help. What do you think?

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#395 - Thu, 09 Mar 2006 00:52:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Rob Harris Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vladimir:
I just thought - maybe we should create a special thread where people can post links to various reviews of John's work or interviews with him? So it'll be a kind of link archive. I personally just love to search for various articles on John (not only on him, but in this case), I guess not only me likes that, so such a thread could be of big help. What do you think?
If you want to E-Mail me with links, I can put them all into the Archive section of the Metamatic website. I'm already in the process of getting material (from around the world) scanned and transcribed - adding on-line articles can only make the Archive more comprehensive...

Rob

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#396 - Thu, 09 Mar 2006 13:41:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Pater Noster Offline
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Great topic. I always thought it was odd that people who followed the charts and commercial music somehow managed to miss it when the Bunnymen, John Foxx or someone was in the charts. It proves they just liked saccharine music rather than the charts per se. I recall working in a computer factory where someone told me Queen's album sales figures - and i replied " yes but i don't like them; so their luck in life doesn't mean a lot to me, if anything". I have always thought things have an intrinsic value that is separate to their commercial value. It seems odd in the supposed democracy of the internet that people still think in terms of sales figures. But i do appreciate people have to eat - i became a security guard as nobody will pay you for nobility of spirit. LOL

Grant

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#397 - Fri, 10 Mar 2006 02:48:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
Vladimir Offline
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Rob Harris wrote:

Quote:
If you want to E-Mail me with links, I can put them all into the Archive section of the Metamatic website. I'm already in the process of getting material (from around the world) scanned and transcribed - adding on-line articles can only make the Archive more comprehensive...
Of course! Absolutely! I'll compile a list of working links to the articles I have on my PC and send it to you. And when I translate that review of "Cathedral Oceans" double I'll send it to you too. Would be great to add all this to John's Archive!

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#398 - Fri, 10 Mar 2006 06:12:00 Re: Album sales and commercial success
birdsong Offline
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I have a few of these links too, and I think a couple of sites still have broadcast interviews onstream.
I'd be happy to add these to your list Vladimir, at least that is if you don't have them already!!

I have a tendency though to download/copy/transcribe them rather than save the links, as I've found some don't always stay online for long

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