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 reggae 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.