UB40 Biography

PHOTO: UB40

Britain's greatest reggae artists have survived more than 30 years in the music business and have seen them clock up more than 40 million record sales worldwide with songs like don't break my heart and red, red wine

The summer of 1978 saw the eight members of the multi-racial outfit, soon to become UB40, drawn together by their love of Jamaican reggae. Taking their name from a notorious British unemployment form, the band played their first local gig in Birmingham in 1979, and spent the rest of the year performing at pubs and clubs 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 Radio One show in 1980. At the same time, the band were also asked to support The Pretenders on their triumphant national tour.

They released a Top 5 single in the UK in February 1980 and, in 1981, released a brace of albums, 'Present Arms' and 'Present Arms In Dub'. Their breakthrough came with the hit single, 'Red, Red Wine'. The song topped the British singles charts in 1983 and, after renewed promotion following the 1988 Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley, the single reached the number 1 spot in the US.

Touring America and Canada in 1985, the group celebrated another hit single with 'I Got You Babe', recorded with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. In 1986 they finished 'Rat In The Kitchen', and further recording in 1987 and 1988 was complimented by a world tour.

1993's platinum selling album, 'Promises And Lies', spawned the hit 'Can't Help Falling In Love', which topped the U.S. pop chart for seven consecutive weeks. The subsequent tour culminated in a series of shows in South Africa, with them dedicating their anti-apartheid anthem, 'Sing Our Own Song', to President Nelson Mandela.

After an extended sabbatical, the band have recently begun recording in their new Jamaican studio, releasing material that seeks to showcase the diversity of reggae music.

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