Artist of the Day: UB40

posted by Matt Jarrells on 08/31/2017

August 31, 2017

English Reggae act UB40 has been entertaining audiences worldwide for nearly forty years.  The band was formed in 1978 in Birmingham England.  The name stems from the English unemployment benefits system. UB40 is shorthand for England's Unemployments Benefits Form #40. The band performed their first gig in Feb 1979 at a local pub, the Hare and Hounds. This event has since been commemorated with a plaque outside the pub.  They were discovered by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, who chose to take UB40 on the band's tour. 

The band's debut Signing Off was released in 1980 to massive success in the UK. It was followed by a cover album Labor of Love  1983.  Propelled by their massively successful cover of Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine", the album would become the big US breakthrough for the band.  The band continued to tour and record music over the years, scoring another major hit with a cover of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love".  Following the departure of lead singer Ali Campebell from the original band, the band went through a troubled period with lawsuits and infighting. These days UB40 is back with members Campbell, Astro, and Mickey Virtue.  It is this version of the band who will be performing tomorrow night at Frederick Meijer Gardens. 

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