UB40 live 1980 to 1982

UB40 live 1980 to 1982
ub40tix80UB40 emerged out of the renewed interest in reggae during the punk and new wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s. UB40 were formed by Robin Campbell, his younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers, James Brown, and Norman Hassan, who were all friends in Birmingham. They recruited Michael Virtue and Astro and aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals, naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. I first saw them live during the summer of 1980 around the time of their debut single “King / Food For Thought” which reached the UK Top 5. I saw UB40 twice in the same week at Sunderland Mayfair on 23rd July 1980, and then supporting the Police at Milton Keynes Bowl on 26th July 1980.ub40tix
UB40’s music was very different to anything else at the time. Political lyrics, sung over reggae rhythms with some lengthy instrumental passages, with horn solos and some rap and scat singing. Visually they were also very different, with so many musicians on stage. I remember going to the Sunderland gig having only heard “Food for Thought” and being pleasantly surprised by their performance.
ub40progUB40’s first album “Signing Off” was released in September 1980. The album cover shows a yellow British UB40 unemployment benefit card from which the band took their name, stamped with the words SIGNING OFF, signally that the band were leaving the world of unemployment and had arrived on the music scene. “Signing Off” went to No. 2 in the UK and stayed on the album chart for 72 weeks. I saw UB40 twice more, at Newcastle City Hall on 9th June 1981 & 19th January 1982. Both of these were great, fun gigs.
UB40 setlist from 1980: Tyler; My Way of Thinking; Burden of Shame; Strange Fruit; Adella; One In Ten; I Think It’s Going to Rain Today; Summertime; King; 25%.
Encore: Food For Thought; Little by Little
“Ivory Madonna dying in the dust, Waiting for the manna coming from the west.
Barren is her bosom, empty as her eyes, Death a certain harvest scattered from the skies.” (Food for Thought, UB40, 1980)

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