Midge Ure’s former home up for sale: Chiswick house where Band Aid recorded 1984 charity hit listed for £3.5 million

The Ultravox singer came up with the melody for Do They Know It’s Christmas? in the kitchen of the Grosvenor Road address

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The recording studio of the Chiswick home is now a one-bedroom annexe
Fine & Country
Cat Olley13 July 2023

The presiding image of Band Aid is a motley crew of solemn Eighties stars gathered at Notting Hill’s Sarm West Studios, where the unlikely supergroup had been given a free session to tape the charity single.

But the musical track of the 1984 hit was largely recorded the day before at the Chiswick home of Midge Ure — who called in Sting for some backing vocals in case of a poor turnout on the day.

The Ultravox singer, who recently announced a one-off October show at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate his 70th birthday, moved to Chiswick in the late 1970s and quickly traded up as his career took off.

He purchased the house on Grosvenor Road in the early 1980s after Ultravox found chart success with Vienna. “I bought Mackintosh-style ladderback chairs and Le Corbusier sofas,” he told The Times in 2016. “I was proud of my home. It had a separate building in the garden, which I turned into a studio.

“It was a big investment, but I thought I’d still be able to make music when the suits had decided I was no longer fashionable.”

The big idea for Do They Know It’s Christmas? came from pals Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, who had been deeply affected by a BBC report on famine-strickened Ethiopia.

Geldof and Ure rushed to put the charity single together in time for Christmas, enlisting the vocal talents of George Michael, Sting and Bono, plus several members of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet.

“I came up with the melody in my kitchen, then Bob [Geldof] turned up with an out-of-tune guitar and sang me the bits he’d done,” recalled Ure. “I recorded all the music there except Phil Collins’s drums.”

The Thirties house features a grand wood-panelled reception
Fine & Country

Today, there is little sign of the recording studio where Ure set the bar for charity single success — a subsequent owner has turned it into a one-bedroom annexe.

The five-bedroom house, listed with Fine & Country for £3.5 million, dates from the 1930s and is partially screened from the road by palms and cypress trees.

It offers a snapshot of life in leafy Chiswick, with a grand wood-panelled reception room, a double-aspect downstairs study and a large back garden with a pergola. There is also a cellar, which has been turned into a utility room and sauna.

At 710 square feet, the recording studio-turned-annexe in the back garden is larger than the average London flat.

Ure sold the house for an eight-bedroom home on the river, before moving to Bath in the late 1980s.

Daniel Madden, managing director at Fine & Country’s Turnham Green Terrace office, said they were alerted to the musical connection by the previous selling agent.

Ure’s recording studio has been converted into a self-contained annexe
Fine & Country

In 2011, Ure made an appeal for the return of a rare master tape of Do They Know It’s Christmas? produced at the house, after reading an article about its valuation on the Evening Standard website. He told the paper that the recording featured backing vocals by Sting.

He and Geldof stressed in a radio appearace last year that they have never received a penny in royalties from the original Band Aid or subsequent releases in 1989, 2004 and 2014.

The 1984 recording raised £8 million for the famine appeal within twelve months — it has since topped £200 million — and planted the seed for Live Aid, held the following July.

Queen’s performance at the Wembley Stadium concert was voted the greatest ever rock gig in a 2005 poll of more than 60 industry names.

Records show that the house was last sold in 2021 for £2.8 million.