UB40 are a British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. The band has had more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved considerable international success. They have 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.
Their hit singles include 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".
The ethnic makeup of the band's original lineup was diverse, with musicians of English, Scottish, Irish, Yemeni and Jamaican parentage. Ali Campbell left the band in 2008 after 30 years with the band, and has since released four reggae-themed solo collections, along with Virtue, who left UB40 soon after Ali, joining him on keyboards. Astro remained with the original band until November 2013, when he left to team up again with Campbell and Virtue in a new version of UB40.
UB40 made their rendition for their cover versions album Labour of Love. According to the band, they were only familiar with Tony Tribe's version (they apparently didn't realise that the writer, credited simply as "Diamond", was in fact Neil Diamond), and their version featured a lighter, reggae-style flavor compared to Diamond's somber, acoustic ballad. The UB40 version adds a toasted verse by UB40 member Astro, opening: "Red Red Wine, you make me feel so fine/You keep me rocking all of the time" — which was edited from the single that reached number one in the UK chart in August 1983, and number 34 in the United States in March 1984.
In 1988, the song was re-released as a single in the U.S., this time including the Astro toast, and climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In September 2014 the Official Charts Company announced that sales in the UK had reached 1 million. Songwriter Neil Diamond has stated this as one of his favorite covers of his songs.
Neil Diamond Version