More than any other artists of their time, Britain's UB40 have proven the power of pop-influenced reggae music. With worldwide sales topping 30 million albums during their career, the UB40 story demonstrates just how far people can go by staying true to their roots. UB40 grew up in the heart of Birmingham, one of England's most ethnically diverse cities. The summer of 1978 saw the eight band members drawn together by their love of the skanking Jamaican reggae vibes.
Taking their name from a notorious British unemployment form, the multi-racial group of young men proceeded to spend the next six months in a basement, collaborating on ideas and learning their instruments. By early 1979 they had played their first local gig. Through the rest of the year UB40 performed at pubs, clubs, and benefits all around the UK.
British radio legend John Peel was so impressed with the group's first demo tape that he invited them to perform on his prestigious, nationally broadcast show in January 1980. The single "King" b/w "Food For Thought" became at Top 5 smash in England in February 1980, and officially launched UB40's career as hitmaking recording artists. The group released a pair of 1981 albums, "Present Arms" and "Present Arms In Dub," and thus embarked on a career journey characterized by uncompromising artistic autonomy.
UB40's breakthrough in America arrived in the form of 1983's Labour Of Love, and its single "Red, Red Wine." The song topped the British singles charts in 1983 and -- five years later -- landed UB40 their first #1 smash hit in the U.S. Autumn 1984 saw the release of Geoffrey Morgan..., . Touring America and Canada in the first half of 1985, the group celebrated another hit single in July 1985 with "I Got You Babe," recorded with Chrissie Hynde.
Back in the studio, UB40 put the finishing touches on "Rat In The Kitchen," released in the summer of 1986. More recording in 1987 and 1988 was complimented by touring worldwide. The 1988 album UB40 included the highlight "Breakfast In Bed," another song featuring guest vocals from Chrissie Hynde.
Labour Of Love II, released in November of 1989. The album notched platinum-plus U.S. sales, spawned a pair of Top 10 pop hits -- "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)." 1993's platinum-plus smash "Promises And Lies" spawned the mammoth hit "Can't Help Falling In Love," which reigned at #1 on the U.S. pop chart for seven consecutive weeks. The subsequent tour culminated in a series of shows in South Africa (their first), with the group dedicating their anti-apartheid anthem "Sing Our Own Song" to President Nelson Mandela, marking a poignant end to UB40's 15 month tour.
Please click here to submit the latest UB40 biography
about jail and albums | Reviewer: albums | 2/5/13
UB40 sold 60-70 million albums during their career. In January 2008 Ali and few months later Micky left the band due to unethical business practices of UB40's managers and due a mess in bands finances. After short time UB40 declared bankruptcy.
After departure of Ali UB40 released 2 albums with Duncan: live album lIVE 2002 Arena: 12/12/2009 (old songs originally performed by Ali) in 2009, and studio album Labour of Love IV (covers) in 2010. In 2012 they released compilation album All The Best with Ali's voice on it. Unfortunately they aren't written any original songs after Ali's departure.
Ali released his first solo album Big Love in 1995. After leaving the band he released 3 albums: Running Free (2007), Flying High (2009) (both containing self-written songs and some covers, too), and Great British Songs (covers, 2010).
Five band members and two technicians of UB40 arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana and were deported from the Seychelles in 1990. Two years earlier, in 1988, their bass player Earl Falconer was sent to prison for drunk driving: he caused his brothers death in a car accident.
A few answers.. | Reviewer: Cassie | 12/18/12
The song 'King' (one of my fave songs!) is a tribute to Martin Luther King Jnr.
As far as I know the band is still together minus Ali campbell, the main singer and Mickey Virtue, keyboards. Ali is now a solo artist. Mickey I think joined him as part of his band. Duncan Campbell, Ali's brother now fronts the band. Dont know wether they'd release another album...I hope so!
Question about 'King'` | Reviewer: Steve | 2/18/12
It sounds so sad, and I was wondering who the 'king' was in the lyric, how long ago he lived, and who he was king of, if indeed he actually existed.
Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance.
where are the mand members now | Reviewer: alisha | 11/11/07
i like to know if the group is still together and when will they be releasing a new album and if it is true that some members were in jail for drug possession
The following area is only for review,
Recommend the artist to your friends.