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UB40

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Named after a British unemployment benefit form, pop-reggae band UB40 were formed in a welfare line in 1978, and their multiracial lineup reflected the working-class community their members came from. The band consolidated its street credibility with political topics appealing to dissatisfied youth and got a boost from fans of the waning 2-Tone ska revival movement. Brothers Robin (lead guitar) and Ali Campbell (guitar, lead vocals) formed the centerpiece of the group, which also included bassist Earl Falconer, keyboardist Mickey Virtue, saxophonist Brian Travers, drummer Jim Brown, percussionist Norman Hassan, and toaster Terence "Astro" Wilson. The band purchased its first instruments with compensation money Ali Campbell received after a bar fight, even though few of the members knew how to play them. But by the end of the year, the group was invited to tour with the Pretenders. Their "Food for Thought" single reached the U.K. Top Ten in 1980, beginning a long streak of chart appearances. Signing Off and Present Arms were big sellers in Britain, if not America, and addressed the political issues of the day in songs like "One in Ten," a Top Ten hit blasting Margaret Thatcher for the country's unemployment rate. Released in 1983, Labour of Love, an album of reggae cover songs, gave the group its first chart album in America and first number one U.K. hit with Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine." Several albums of original material sold well in the U.K., but only respectably in the U.S., where the group's biggest hit was a Top 30 cover of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" featuring the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. In 1988, the group performed "Red Red Wine" at a Nelson Mandela tribute concert, and a Phoenix radio station trotted the single out for a second go-round. Listener response was far more enthusiastic, and "Red Red Wine" reentered the charts and went all the way to the top. Finally having hit on a way to conquer the lucrative American market, UB40 responded with another covers album, Labour of Love II, which produced Top Ten singles with versions of the Temptations' "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and Al Green's "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)." The group scored a huge hit in America with Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," which was initially featured in the Sharon Stone film Sliver and spent seven weeks at number one. By this time, UB40 had largely abandoned their trademark left-wing politics and were concentrating more on perfecting their reggae oldies covers than their original material; however, the gimmick resulted in huge sales figures in both the U.S. and U.K., with Promises and Lies reaching number six in the States and number one in Britain. In the spring of 1998, UB40 released Presents the Dancehall Album in the U.K. A third Labour of Love collection followed a year later. In fall 2002, UB40 bounced back with yet another collection. The Fathers of Reggae, which appeared on Virgin in November, highlighted the band's roots in reggae in a selection of classics. In 2003, the band scored a major hit in the U.K. when its version of the spiritual "Swing Low" with the multicultural choir United Colours of Sound became the official anthem for the 2003 English Rugby team. The song was featured on the 2003 album Homegrown. As their 2005 album, Who You Fighting For?, was being released, an announcement was made that the band would be working with Birmingham's Repertory Theatre to stage a new musical in the spring of 2006. Two years later, their album Twentyfourseven became their last with vocalist Ali Campbell and keyboardist Michael Virtue. Their 2010 release Labour of Love IV introduced Ali’s brother Duncan as the group’s new lead singer. They also released a remastered two-CD & DVD version of Signing Off as a 30th Anniversary Special, which the band toured across America and Europe. In 2011, five founding members -- Robin Campbell, Brian Travers, Terence Wilson, Norman Hassan, and Jim Brown -- started bankruptcy proceedings against the existing group over debts accrued by their label, DEP International. Alongside former singer Ali Campbell, they were declared bankrupt that year. In 2013, they released their 18th studio album. Entitled Getting Over the Storm, it featured covers of country music songs by the likes of Willie Nelson, George Jones, Randy Travis, and more. ~ Steve Huey
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Albums by
UB40

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    13 songs

    On Air

    Getting Over the Storm

    16 songs

    On Air

    Labour of Love IV

    13 songs

    On Air

    Who You Fighting For? [Unenhanced]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Labour of Love III

    10 songs

    On Air

    Guns in the Ghetto

    10 songs

    On Air

    Labour of Love

    13 songs

    On Air

    Signing Off

    10 songs

    On Air

    Labour of Love II

    13 songs

    On Air

    Baggariddim

    10 songs

    On Air

    Geffery Morgan...

    52 songs

    On Air

    5 Album Set (Signing Off/Present Arms/UB44/Labour of Love/Geffery Morgan)

    9 songs

    On Air

    UB44

    9 songs

    On Air

    Rat in the Kitchen

    11 songs

    On Air

    UB40

    11 songs

    On Air

    Promises and Lies

    10 songs

    On Air

    Present Arms

    18 songs

    On Air

    Essential

    21 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits

    11 songs

    On Air

    The UB40 File

    14 songs

    On Air

    The Fathers of Reggae

    18 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of UB40 1980-2000 [US]

    16 songs

    On Air

    Live at Montreux

    10 songs

    On Air

    Live

    13 songs

    On Air

    UB40 CCCP: Live in Moscow

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Top Songs by
UB40

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Red Red Wine
  3.   Can't Help Falling in Love
  4.   The Way You Do the Things You Do
  5.   Here I Am (Come and Take Me)
  6.   I Got You Babe
  7.   Don't Break My Heart
  8.   Breakfast in Bed
  9.   Rat in Mi Kitchen
  10.   If It Happens Again
  11.   One in Ten
  12.   Cherry Oh Baby
  13.   Keep on Moving
  14.   Where Did I Go Wrong?
  15.   Kingston Town
  16.   Higher Ground by Leroy Sibbles
  17.   Rat in Me Kitchen
  18.   I'm Not Fooled So Easily
  19.   Frilla
  20.   Please Don't Make Me Cry
  21.   Every Breath You Take
  22.   Many Rivers to Cross
  23.   War Poem
  24.   C'est La Vie
  25.   Always There
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
UB40

    On Air

    New Wave Deep Dive

    On Air

    '80s Alternative

    On Air

    Sing-A-Long Songs

    On Air

    Coffee House

    On Air

    Singing In The Shower

    On Air

    Bob Marley: DNA

    On Air

    101 Greatest Cover Songs of All Time

    On Air

    Soft Hits

    On Air

    Covered

    On Air

    Billy Currington: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    '90s Alternative

    On Air

    '90s #1 Hits

    On Air

    '80s #1 Hits

    On Air

    Sublime: DNA

    On Air

    Classic Hits

    On Air

    Reggae

    On Air

    Grandes Éxitos

    On Air

    '80s, '90s & Today

    On Air

    '80s Hits

    On Air

    '90s Hits

    On Air

    Classic Soft Hits

    On Air

    Classic Alternative

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs


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