UB40 formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. Since then, the band has had more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved huge international success. The band has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album four times, and in 1984, were nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group. One of the world’s best-selling music artists, UB40 have sold over 70 million records with their hit singles including their debut “Food for Thought” and two U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number ones with “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love“. Both of these also topped the UK Singles Chart, as did the band’s version of “I Got You Babe”.
In September, 2013, UB40 released their new album ‘Getting Over The Storm’, the reggae stars’ 20th studio album, and their first since 2010’s ‘Labour of Love IV’. Like many of UB40’s previous albums, the group’s original material is complimented by a smattering of cover versions and interpretations. Interestingly, amongst the five original UB40 songs, the covers recorded for ‘Getting Over The Storm’ were originally written and/or recorded by country music artists. Knowing that country music is loved by Caribbean audiences, UB40’s sax player Brian Travers said, “We’ve all spent a lot of time in Jamaica, and country music is very much part of the fabric. It’s an honest music, just like reggae. The two genres really sit together well.”
Formed in 1978, UB40’s have often been associated with politically charged lyrics, but that’s not the case with the lyrical themes found on ‘Getting Over The Storm’, with politics of the heart more to the fore. However, the album’s most political song is ‘How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?’, the 1929 Great Depression song written by Blind Alfred Reed, and later popularised by Ry Cooder on his self-titled 1970 album. “We reworked the lyrics to update them a bit,” explains Robin “But that’s the only political lyric on the album. The rest are ‘somebody-donesomebody- wrong’ songs. We all know someone who’s had their heart broken.”
UB40’s lead singer Duncan Campbell, singing on his second full album with UB40 since replacing his brother Ali Campbell in 2008, comes into his own on ‘Getting Over The Storm’. Brian is quick to pay tribute to his bandmate, “Duncan’s been a singer all his life, but it’s been a really steep learning curve for him coming into the band and becoming a recording artist. His voice and his style of singing is really suited to the songs on ‘Getting Over The Storm’. He’s done a great job.”