Chorley music pioneer who founded 80s band Ultravox given uni honour

John Foxx with his honorary doctorate

John Foxx with his honorary doctorate

First published in News Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A PIONEER of electronic music has been made an honorary doctor of philosophy.

Ultravox founding singer, composer, graphic designer and film-maker John Foxx was presented with the award by Edge Hill University.

John was born and raised in Chorley where he first experienced electronic music after experimenting with making a theremin with a friend.

He is cited as a major influence of artists including Gary Numan and Moby and bands including Depeche Mode, Blur and Klaxons.

John explored his love of electronic music in art college in the 1960s, firstly in Preston, then Manchester and finally in the Royal College of Art in London where he founded the rock band Ultravox.

He said: “I’m delighted and moved to receive this honorary doctorate from Edge Hill, a university with such vision and energy in my home county of Lancashire.”

Ultravox emerged in 1976 with John as lead singer at the peak of British punk music, where he was instead known as a principal figure of the New Wave scene.

He later signed as a solo artist to Virgin Records in 1979 where he released three electronic music albums, and set up his own recording studio in 1982.

In the mid-1980s, this time under his real name of Dennis Leigh, he made a living as a graphic artist and became a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art.

But he returned to music performance in 1997 and by 2006 had released his album to accompany a sequence of films, Tiny Colour Movies, premiered at that year’s Brighton Festival, where he successfully combined his interest in music with design.

He toured Europe with his new band John Foxx and The Maths in 2011 and toured with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark last year.

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