November 9, 2022
British reggae band UB40 kicks off their 45th Anniversary Tour in December with nine shows in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Freddie McGregor and reggae/punk icon Don Letts are also part of the series which starts December 2 at the 2,000-seat Rock City in Nottingham.
Shows are also confirmed for Norwich, Stoke-On-Trent, Liverpool, Belfast, Castlebar, Birmingham, Leeds and London. The closing date is down for December 21 at Ovo Arena which has a capacity of 12,500.
McGregor, whose greatest commercial success took place in the United Kingdom with Polydor Records during the 1980s when UB40 were the rage, said he and the band have a long relationship.
“UB40 and I go back very far. We have done recordings in September of 2011, we did a really nice interview on their channel last year and just before the coronavirus, we did a big show in Cali,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “When I was signed to Polydor Records in 1986/1987, UB40’s video crew did my music videos for So I’ll Wait For You, That Girl/Groovy Situation, and Come to Me, so we’ve known each other for a long time.”
Letts, who was born in the UK to Jamaican parents, is currently promoting Rebel Dread, a documentary on his life. A film-maker, he was part of the British punk movement of the 1970s and has co-directed movies including Dancehall Queen and One Love.
UB40 formed as an eight-piece band in 1978 in their hometown of Birmingham, in the British Midlands. Their Labour of Love albums, which contains covers of reggae songs they grew up listening to, have sold in the millions and made them one of the top music acts of the 1980s.
The first of those collections was released in 1983. Its lead single, Red Red Wine, was a cover of an obscure 1968 ballad by Neil Diamond (made popular by Jamaican singer Tony Tribe) that shot to number one globally. UB40 have covered songs by numerous Jamaican artistes such as Eric Donaldson, The Melodians, Johnny Osbourne, Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis.
In recent years, friction has resulted in UB40 been split into two entities led by brothers Robin and Ali Campbell. Robin leads the official UB40 while Campbell is lead singer for UB40 featuring Campbell and Astro, the band’s longtime percussionist/trumpeter who died last year.
McGregor’s latest album, A Breath of Fresh Air, is produced by British company Stingray Records. It is scheduled for release in early 2023.
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