Watch: The 10 best UB40 songs to take you down memory lane

By Gabisile Ngcobo
31 May 2016

We’re sure that you’re already heard by now, UB40 is returning to South Africa in November!

And as a fan, we know that you’re over the moon and are already saving to buy that VIP ticket to reserve the best spot.

The ‘Red Red Wine Tour’ will kick start in Cape Town, followed by Port Elizabeth, Durban and their last performance will take place in Johannesburg.

The trio – who reformed in 2013 – Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue have remained at the top of their game, with highlights including their ongoing World tour, a sell-out UK arena tour headlining London’s o2 arena, a huge sell out USA tour and critical acclaim for their new material in 2014’s ‘Silhouette’ album.

And we can’t wait for the Britain’s biggest reggae band to serenade us and take us down memory lane.

So, while we’re waiting for one of our best trios in the world to touch down, here are ‘The 10 best UB40 songs’ of all time that will make your heart smile.

1. Red Red Wine

The Red Red Wine black and white video has over 47 million views on YouTube and this should say something about how huge this song is. The song was originally written and performed by the late American singer Neil Diamond and the UB40’s cover version took it to number 1 song in 1983 in the UK.

2. One in Ten

The single was released in 1981 and it’s described as one of the “memorable and iconic songs of all time”. The song voiced the pain of millions, as they struggled to survive under Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative government's policies of the 1980s, when there was unemployed, starving, suicidal and homeless as a “statistical reminder of a world that doesn’t care”.

3. (I Can't Help) Falling In Love with You

The song is originally recorded by American singer Elvis Presley and is UB40's biggest hit. It was number 1 in the US for seven weeks. In 1993, UB40 recorded a cover of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. It climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US after debuting at number 100. It was also number 1 in the UK.

4. Kingston Town

It was recorded in 1989 by reggae group UB40 and was the second single from their album Labour of Love II, reaching number 4 on the UK singles chart.

5. I Got You Babe

In 1985, UB40 covered this with Chrissie Hynde doing the female vocals. Their version hit number 1 in the UK and number 28 in the US. Sonny & Cher's original version was the first record UB40's Ali Campbell ever owned.

6. Food For Thought

Guitarist and co-founder Robin Campbell wrote the band’s 1980 debut single Food For Thought. “What happened with Food For Thought was typical of how most UB40 songs are written. I wrote the lyrics, then I brought them to the band and we sat around and worked it to music. That’s usually how it works,” he told the Song Writing Magazine.

7. Many Rivers to Cross

The song written in 1969 by Jimmy Cliff and it has been recorded by several artists, including Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Joe Cocker (1982), Percy Sledge, Desmond Dekker (1980), Cher, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Marcia Hines, Toni Childs, Oleta Adams, Linda Rondstadt and Annie Lennox.

8. Here I am

The song was written by Al Green and Teenie Hodges, who also worked with Green on his hits "Take Me to the River" and "Love and Happiness" Here, Green is practically begging his girl to come back, letting her know that he's hers for the taking despite all the times she broke his heart. Other artists to record this song include Jimmy Barnes, Marcia Griffiths, Al Jarreau, Michael Jackson, Seal and UB40.

9. Every Breath You Take

The song is a song by English rock band The Police on the band's 1983 album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, the single was the biggest hit of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks (the band's only number-one hit on that chart), and the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It also topped the Billboard Top Tracks chart for nine weeks.

10. The Way You Do Things UB40 was covered in 1989 by the band UB40 and it was the sixth single from their 1989 album Labour of Love II. The song was released in 1989 in the majority of European countries (in July 1990 in France), and was featured in the Ridley Scott–Michael Douglas film Black Rain.
Save these dates

Cape Town

Saturday 5th November

Grand Arena, GrandWest

Ticket Price: R510 – R745

Port Elizabeth

Tuesday 8th November

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Outer Fields

Ticket Price: R480


Thursday 10th November

Durban Botanic Garden

Ticket Price: R480


Saturday 12th November

Ticketpro Dome

Ticket Price: R450 – R790


Find Love!