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UB40 to mark 45 year milestone with new album and UK tour

UB40 has announced their first album in nearly three years will be released this spring to celebrate the band’s formation 45 years ago.

Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, the reggae band rose to prominence with their covers of hits including Red Red Wine and (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You.

To mark their latest milestone, the group are releasing the new 14 track record, titled UB45, and will he hitting the road from November for an accompanying tour.

The new album will feature seven new tracks as well as rerecording’s of some of their hits including Kingston Town, their 1980 debut Food For Thought, Cherry Oh Baby, Sing Our Own Song and the classic Red Red Wine.

The record, which will be released on April 19, will also feature upcoming singles Home and Gimme Some Kinda Sign, which is a cover of Brenton Wood’s 1967 track Gimme Little Sign.

The original reggae band began their career in their home town of Birmingham before performing a number of gigs in London which got them noticed by prominent artists including The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde who invited them to tour with her band.

After many years of success, the original band split in 2008 when co-founder Ali Campbell quit over a disagreement about management and was later joined by Mickey Virtue and the late Astro to form a tearaway outfit.

Following the death of Astro in November 2021 and the departure of Virtue from the group, Campbell has continued on under the title UB40 featuring Ali Campbell.

Campbell was also initially replaced by his brother Duncan in 2008, who joined the remaining members under the UB40 name, but Duncan later retired from the group due to ill health.

In 2021, Duncan was replaced by Kioko musician Matt Doyle as the group’s new lead singer.

In addition to Doyle, the new record also features new addition Jamaican keyboard player Jahred Gordon.

Long-time producing partner Jamie Travers, son of late founding member and saxophonist Brian Travers, also joins on the keys.

For the record, Travers has extracted clips of his father’s saxophone from live recordings so the group could honour their late bandmate, who died in 2021.

UB45 will be released on April 19 (UB40/PA)
UB45 will be released on April 19 (UB40/PA)

Also among the band’s line-up is Robin Campbell, brother to Ali and Duncan Campbell, along with Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan, James Brown, Martin Meredith, Laurence Parry, Ian Thompson, Gilly G and Matt Campbell.

Robin Campbell said: “We’re so proud of the new album. We wanted to record UB45 to celebrate 45 years of our music, and also to showcase Matt Doyle’s vocals on the tracks.

“He’s brought a new lease of life to our music, as has the addition of fellow Brummie, ‘permanent guest’ MC Gilly G and my son, Matt Campbell on backing vocals.

“When you play songs over so many years, the arrangements and vocals evolve and change.

“These updated versions of our hits are still close to the originals, but now reflect how we perform them today and they sound better than ever.”

To celebrate the new album and anniversary, the group will tour around the UK in November, visiting cities including London, Cardiff and Belfast.

UB45 will be released on April 19 and the tour will kick off on November 1.