James Ure was born in Cambuslang, in Lanarkshire in 1953. He attended Rutherglen Academy and left school at 15 to study engineering at college. James learned to play guitar and joined Stumble (c. 1969 – c. 1971) . He later became a guitarist for cover band Salvation in 1972 and performed at Clouds a Glasgow discothèque. There were too many Jimmys in the band and to avoid confusion band leader, Jim McGinlay christened James Ure's, ‘”Mij,” as in Jim backwards. The name stuck and in 1974 when Kevin McGinlay left to pursue a solo career, Midge Ure took lead vocalist as well as playing guitar. The band changed their name to Slik later that year and song writers Bill Martin and Phil Coulter provided the songs. They had a Number One single with "Forever and Ever" in 1976.
The band were keen to embrace Punk and went through lineup changes including renaming themselves PVC2. “Put You in the Picture” was released but the band quickly faded.
Ure then joined Glen Matlock (former Sex Pistol) in Rich Kids and moved to London. The lineup of the new wave band was Glen Matlock (vocals and bass), Rusty Egan (drums), Bill Smyth (vocals/guitars/keyboards), Steve New (vocals/guitars), and Midge Ure. During 1977 to 1978 the band released one album, Ghosts of Princes in Towers (produced by Mick Ronson), and three singles but commercial success eluded them. The band broke up in 1979.
Midge now playing synthesizer formed Visage with lead vocalist Steve Strange and signed briefly to Radar Records for the release of their first single "Tar". It failed to attract airplay and the band singed to Polydor Records in 1980, and released second single, "Fade to Grey.” It became a massive hit. Meantime in 1979, after Gary Moore left Thin Lizzy while the band was touring the US Midge briefly joined the lineup. He continued with the band to Japan and at the end of the tour left to pursue other projects. Ure continued to collaborate with Phil Lynott and co-wrote his biggest solo hit, "Yellow Pearl". The song became the theme to Top of the Pops (TOTPs). Midge left Visage in 1982.
Around this time Midge Ure, Billy Currie (keyboards, violin), Chris Cross (bass) and Warren Cann (electronic drums) resurrected a synthpop band called Ultavox. The title track of their first album Vienna was an instant hit in 1981. The album too became a best seller. The second album Rage in Eden also sold well. Despite the success of Ultravox Midge was also keen to reconvened Visage and recorded the band's second album, The Anvil. The third Ultravox album, Quartet, was produced by George Martin and featured four Top 20 singles. In 1987 Midge left Ultravox to establish his own solo career.
Midge’s first solo single was Tom Rush’s “No regrets” in 1982 and made the UK Top 10.
Two years later he co-wrote and helped produce the Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which has sold 3.7 million copies in the UK . Ure co-organised Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. Ure acts as trustee for the charity, and serves as ambassador for Save the Children.
In 1985 he had a No. 1 solo hit with "If I Was" and his solo album The Gift reached No. 2 in the UK.
In 2009, Midge Ure and the other members reformed Ultravox for the Return to Eden tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Vienna album, followed up the next year with a second round of the tour. In late 2010 Ultravox started working on their sixth album Brilliant, fronted by Midge Ure. In November 2013, Ultravox was special guests on a four date arena tour with Simple Minds.