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“Red Red Wine” – UB40

The band members began as friends who knew each other from various schools across Birmingham, England. The name “UB40” was selected in reference to the document issued to people claiming unemployment benefit from the UK government at the time of the band’s formation. The designation UB40 stood for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40.

The bands first gig took place on February 9th, 1979 at The Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath, Birmingham for a friend’s birthday party.  UB40 caught their first break when Chrissie Hynde saw them at a pub and gave them an opportunity as a support act to her band, The Pretenders. UB40’s first single, “King”/”Food for Thought” was released on Graduate Records, a local independent label run by David Virr. It reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

After great success in the UK, UB40’s popularity in the United States was established when they released Labour of Love, an album of cover songs, in 1983. The album reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 8 on the Billboard 200 in the US. The album featured the song “Red Red Wine”, a cover version of a Neil Diamond song (in an arrangement similar to that of Tony Tribe’s version); it stayed on the charts for over a hundred weeks.

UB40 is one of the most commercially successful reggae acts of all time in terms of record sales (over 70 million), chart positions and touring schedule.During their three-decade long career, they have been performing sell-out shows worldwide and headlining the Reggae Sunsplash music festival in Jamaica, as well as spreading reggae to Russia, South America, etc. They have performed twice at the Night of the Proms, in 2000 and in 2006. In 2006 UB40 was nominated for a Grammy Award (Reggae category) for their album Who You Fighting For.

“Red Red Wine” has become a quintessential reggae track, and can be found on almost any half dece3nt reggae mix on earth.  Enjoy this relaxing reggae tune, and have a great Sunday.

Lyrics here.

More about UB40 here.

Red, Red Wine - Labour of Love

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