NOW LAT'S WHAT WE CALL MUSIC; Exclusive the Record Joins Midge Ure as He Gets a Hero's Welcome in Latvia
Dingwall, John, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Midge Ure nearly choked when he took a phone call from a fan - and discovered it was the President of Latvia on the line.
The Scots pop millionaire was gobsmacked to hear that President Guntis Ulmanis is his No 1 fan.
He was even more amazed when the President explained that Midge is a hero in Latvia because his hit If I Was inspired the country's struggle for independence from the Soviet Union.
Foreign Minister Andrejs Pantalejeivs said: "Midge's song is part of our lives."
The former Ultravox singer hasn't reached the British charts for years, but in the former Soviet republic he is KING.
That's why the country's head phoned for a Presidential Command Performance.
I found out how mad they are about Midge when I joined him on his first trip to Latvia - to do a gig in Riga in front of the President and his cabinet.
Even Midge's Live Aid days with Bob Geldof didn't prepare him for the adulation of fans in Latvia.
The gig in the capital's packed Bimini night club certainly went like a dream for Midge - with politicians and punters bopping to his music.
Midge shuns the limelight these days and he says: "I wasn't nervous, but the whole presidential thing was a bit of a problem because I didn't know what to say.
"The President is young and funky and pretty laid back. And his government seem to be groovy people."
BACKSTAGE after the gig, all the usual diplomatic roles were reversed.
Instead of visitors lining up to meet dignitaries, the politicians mobbed Midge as they waited for his autograph.
Changed days for the Glasgow-born star who started out as an engineer's apprentice before climbing the ladder to pop superstardom.
He first shot to fame with Slik in 1976, notching up a No 1 hit with Forever And Ever.
Soon after, Slik split and Midge turned down the offer of becoming the Sex Pistols' singer when he met Malcolm McLaren in Glasgow. …