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UB40

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Birmingham, England (1978 – present)

UB40 are a British dub / reggae pop music band formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England.

The band is one of the most culturally diverse dub Ska bands with musicians of English, Scottish, Irish, Yemeni and Jamaican parentage. The band is named from the paper form issued by the UK government’s Department of Health and Social Security at the time of the band’s formation for claiming unemployment benefit (UB40 = Unemployment Benefit, Form 40).

UB40 were influenced by the many Blues Parties they attended as teenagers in the multiracial Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, their love of ska and reggae inspired such original tracks as King, Madam Medusa, Food For Thought, Signing Off and One in Ten.

Their early music style was unique, with a heavy influence of analogue synthesizers, psychedelic rock guitar, saxophone and dub producer techniques which were later perfected by the late Pablo Falconer.

Ali and Robin Campbell have a musical heritage, being sons of Ian Campbell, a folk musician.

The band purchased its first instruments with compensation money Ali Campbell received after a bar fight. They have had a number of hits, most commercially and to amusement of the band, “Red Red Wine”, a cover version of a Neil Diamond song (in an arrangement similar to that of Tony Tribe’s version). Their most successful single release is the cover of the Elvis Presley ballad Can’t Help Falling in Love which was intended to be the main title to the 1992 Sharon Stone movie Sliver and was a Number One hit across Europe and in the U.S.

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