Interesting discussion developing on Twitter tonight stemming from the fact that there are two different line-ups of UB40 on tour at the moment. The question that's being asked though, is which version of the band is the genuine article?
To understand this situation we have to go back to January 2008 when lead singer Ali Campbell announced his departure from the group having been with them for 30 years. Originally it was stated that this was to enable him to continue his solo career, but it later emerged that Campbell had cited management and business disputes as the reason for his departure. Keyboard player Mickey Virtue left the band soon after due to the same issues. The remaining members brought in Duncan Campbell (Ali's elder brother) on lead vocals, and this new line-up released "Labour Of Love IV" in 2010, and recently put out a country-influenced album, "Getting Over The Storm". In the meantime, Astro had left the band citing (among other things) the "serious lack of communication between the band and management", and the country-orientated direction of the new album. He went on to join Ali and Mickey, and the trio have been working on new material for a new album which (from what I understand) will probably be credited as an Ali Campbell album, and should be out around October this year. By the way, what does Ali think of his replacement? Well, he hasn't been too complementary to say the least, having been quoted as saying "I sat back for five years and watched my brother Duncan murdering my songs."
Anyway back to the Twitter debate - here's my take on things...
I see a few similarities in this situation to the one involving OMD when they first split back in 1988. In that case, when Paul Humphreys, Mal Holmes and Martin Cooper left, they wanted to continue with the OMD name, but Virgin (their label at the time) felt that as Andy McCluskey was perceived as the band's lead singer, he should be the one who would be allowed to carry on as OMD. Anyway the issues were resolved with McCluskey getting the rights to use the name (releasing three albums during the 1990s) while Humphreys, Cooper and Holmes went their own way as The Listening Pool.
As for Ali, Mickey and Astro, they're touring as UB40 Reunited while the Duncan Campbell led line-up are trading under the old UB40 monicker. Here's the thing though, Ali was perceived as the lead singer of the original UB40, so shouldn't his group be considered as the official UB40?
I rest my case.....
UPDATE: I'm now seeing reports on Twitter about several people considering demanding refunds after discovering that a UB40 gig advertised for November (can't remember the exact venue) doesn't feature the original singers in the line up - the person posting the tweet being quoted as saying that if you have tickets for any of the UK dates in October and November, they're for the "karaoke band"
It's always sad when a once popular band decides to split up. But it's sadder still when you get two factions (for want of a better term) claiming that their line up is the definitive version and that the other side is just a mere knock-off. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, I haven't heard "Getting Over The Storm" yet, so for the time being I'm prepared to keep an open mind until I've had a chance to listen to this new line-up. Then (and only then) will I be able to form a definite opinion.
At least I have the records....
- Mark Radbourne
- Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom
I'm a former hospital radio/club/mobile DJ, avid record collector and amateur musician (playing guitar, keyboards, recorder, harmonica and percussion.) I've even filled in on bass guitar for a couple of local bands as well (although that was quite a few years ago). Also interested in Motorsports, Wrestling/Mixed Martial Arts and Classic Television and Radio from the 1960s - 1980s.
Why am I on here? Well, I'm just trying to make some sense of life before it's too late...but who cares anyway?