UB40 career landmarks - UB40 career highlights

2006-03-29 11:04
 

1979
Tthe group make their live debut in February and spend the rest of the year writing songs and honing their live act through gigs in local pubs and clubs.

1980
The band are invited by Chrissie Hynde, of The Pretenders, to support her group on tour. UB40 release their debut single, King/Food For Thought on Graduate, a local independent. It goes on to make No. 4 in the chart. UB40's debut album, Signing Off, reaches No. 2.

1981
The band leave Graduate and set up their own label, Dep International. Their second album, Present Arms, replicates the success of their first, reaching No. 2 in the chart. One In Ten becomes their fourth Top Ten single in a year while Present Arms In Dub is the first dub album to enter the UK Top 40.

1982
Further hits follow in the shape of I Won't Close My Eyes, Love Is All Is Alright and So Here I Am.

1983
Labour Of Love, a homage to the reggae artists that inspired them, gives UB40 their first No. 1 album. It remains in the chart for 18 months. A single from the album, Red Red Wine, gives the band their first UK No. 1 hit in August. Five years later, it tops the US chart.

1984
If It Happens Again gives the band their tenth Top 20 single.

1985
UB40's cover of Sonny & Cher's I Got You Babe, a duet with Chrissie Hynde, gives the band their second British No. 1.

1986
UB40 bring reggae to the Russians in October by becoming one of the first Western groups to tour the Soviet Union. Their watershed concert in Moscow is recorded and released the following year as UB40 CCCP.

1987
The Best Of U B40 Volume 1 reaches No. 3 in the British albums chart and stays in the Top 40 for over two years.

1988
The group perform with Chrissie Hynde at the Free Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley in June. Another studio collaboration with the Pretenders singer, Breakfast In Bed, from the UB40 album, lands them
another Top Ten.

1989
Labour Of Love II spawns a Top Ten single in the band's cover of the Chi-Lites classic Homely Girl.

1990
Two further Top Ten singles follow in covers of Kingston Town and Bob Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight.

1992
One In Ten becomes the first UB40 hit to reach the Top 20 for a second time, thanks to a re-mix by Manchester dance act 808 State.

1993
Promises And Lies becomes the group's biggest album to date, selling an incredible 9 million copies worldwide. The album produces another huge hit in (I Can't Help) Falling In Love, which gives the band their third UK No. 1 and their second chart-topper in America.

1994
UB40 play before record audiences, totalling 250,000, in South Africa.

1995
Until My Dying Day becomes the band's 24th Top 20 single in Britain.

1997
UB40 record their twelfth studio album, Guns In The Ghetto, in Jamaica.

1998
UB40 work with modern reggae stars, including Beenie Man and Lady Saw, on The Dancehall Album, and issue the third volume of Labour Of Love, an album with another Top Ten single in Come Back Darling.

1999
UB40 play before an estimated television audience of one billion in India.

2000
UB40 complete the European Night Of The Proms tour with Chrissie Hynde, Coolio, Alessandro Saffina and an 120 piece orchestra and choir.

2001
The band release a new studio album, Cover Up, and mark the 21st anniversary of Signing Off with a British tour and a celebratory birthday concert at the NEC in Birmingham. The net profits of the show are donated to the United Nations AIDS Awareness Campaign.

2002
The Fathers Of Reggae album features guests, including Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe, Mighty Diamonds and John Holt, singing the songs of UB40. Following their visits to the USSR and South Africa, UB40 play another
landmark gig, this time at a peace festival in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

2003
UB40 receive an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement and secure a Top Ten album with The Platinum Collection, a triple box set comprising the whole Labour Of Love series. Their 22nd album, Homegrown, includes Swing Low, the England rugby team's official song for their victorious 2003 World Cup campaign in Australia. The song becomes the group's 49th UK chart single. The only bands to have notched more hits are The Shadows, Status Quo and Queen.

2004
The band tour Homegrown around the world and complete a critically-acclaimed live DVD, Homegrown In Holland. They return to Birmingham and start work on a new album, cutting it in the traditional manner as an eight-piece band playing together in the studio.

2005
On the 25th anniversary of their debut single and album, UB40 unveil their 23rd album, Who You Fighting For. They also unite with Eric Clapton to play their first ever show at the Royal Albert Hall, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. As they prepare for more live dates, they remain the same gang of eight childhood mates who started the group 27 years previously.

- Supplied by EMI


From the dole queue to lasting international pop megastardom...

In 1978
A gang of eight boyhood friends form a band, UB40, in the Moseley area of Birmingham, initially playing covers of songs by their favourite reggae stars. UB40 refers to the name of the Dole "sign on" form.

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