For more than 25 years, UB40 has been one of the world’s premiere pop-reggae acts, with several international chart-topping singles and global sales totaling more than 70 million albums. On September 30, Virgin/EMI will release UB40: Greatest Hits, a new CD and digital collection of 21 hits and standout tracks spanning the influential group’s career.
Included on UB40: Greatest Hits are the group’s first #1 smash, 1984’s “Red Red Wine,” and their reggae-splashed hit versions of “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You,” and “The Way You Do The Things You Do.” Also included are two songs featuring The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, “I Got You Babe” and “Breakfast In Bed.” "Swing Low", the official anthem for the England rugby team’s triumphant 2003 World Cup campaign in Australia, was the group’s 49th UK chart single.
After many years performing live and developing a name for themselves, UB40’s fortunes changed at the beginning of 1980, when they were asked to support The Pretenders on a UK tour. The cover art for UB40’s first album, released that year, was a reproduction of the UK’s unemployment benefit card, with the title Signing Off rubber-stamped in red. It referred to "signing off" the dole and getting a job, both an acknowledgement of the launch of the band and a celebration of their new status.
Because they were from the West Midlands and they were a large multicultural group playing music of Jamaican origin, UB40 were initially thought to be part of the two-tone music scene which had burst out of nearby Coventry. Rooted in Caribbean ska, rock steady and reggae, the two-tone style was popularized by Coventry bands including The Specials and The Selecter. Signing Off made it clear that UB40 were not part of the two-tone movement. While they were part of the same social and political tendency, their musical approach was quite different. Their sound was more relaxed, sophisticated and sultry.
In 1983, UB40 released the album Labour of Love, a direct tribute to the musicians who had inspired and influenced them. The phenomenally popular ‘Red Red Wine’ was the album’s first single, and it went straight to #1 on the UK charts upon its release, remaining on the British charts for two years. In 1984, the song became UB40’s first U.S. #1 and went on to be a worldwide hit for the group.
UB40: Greatest Hits (CD, Digital Album)
1. (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You
2. One In Ten
3. Red Red Wine
4. If It Happens Again
5. Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
6. Sing Our Own Song
7. I Got You Babe [featuring Chrissie Hynde]
8. Groovin’ (Out On Life)
9. My Way Of Thinking
10. The Way You Do The Things You Do
11. Higher Ground
12. Please Don’t Make Me Cry
13. Kingston Town
14. Come Back Darling
15. Don’t Break My Heart
16. Cherry Oh Baby
17. Breakfast In Bed [featuring Chrissie Hynde]
18. Rat In Mi Kitchen
19. Homely Girl
20. Until My Dying Day
21. Swing Low [featuring The United Colors Of Sound]
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Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central