Someone said that I was doing the most famous musicians for my theme - nope, not at all. My A-to-Z theme is musicians that I like (or liked) and those that always have a place on my playlist. Granted, it's a pretty huge playlist.
If you look under "U" (right next to Usher), you'll see UB40.
Reggae met pop in the ethnic milkshake of UB40 and the result was catchy and addictive. The founding members of UB40 were Ali Campbell, Astro, Brian Travers, James Brown, Robin Campbell, Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan and Mickey Virtue.
The band started out as friends who knew each other from various schools. "UB40" was a reference to a form used for unemployment benefits in the UK: Unemployment Benefit, Form 40. The front-woman of the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde, saw them perform in a pub and gave them a shot at opening for her band.
The first album, Signing Off, was a wink at the unemployment situation - those days were done.
Perhaps I'm not the best fan to sing their praises. Of the 18 albums they recorded, I really like Labor of Love most of all. That album created a fan base in the USA, in my humble estimation. Their cover of the Neil Diamond song "Red, Red, Wine" was fantastic. That same year, I attended a Neil Diamond concert. Neil himself commented on the success of their cover of the song. I had to laugh when Neil rapped, "I don't care if the words are wrong, 'cause I get the money when they sing THAT song."
I'd like to hear Ali Campbell sing once more and see the horns dance in rhythm to that awesome reggae beat. Aw, I miss those boys. A toast to them - red wine for everyone!
Hey, it's Akron's finest - Chrissie Hynde!
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