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UB40 - The Very Best (2000)

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UB40 - The Very Best (2000)

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1. Red Red Wine
2. Kingston Town
3. Higher Ground
4. King play
5. Cherry Oh Baby
6. I Got You Babe
7. Come Back Darling
8. One In Ten
9. The Earth Dies Screaming
10. Watchdogs
11. Don't Break My Heart
12. Can't Help Falling In Love
13. Sing Our Own Song
14. Tell Me Is It True
15. Rat In Mi Kitchen
16. Bring Me Your Cup
17. Light My Fire play
18. If It Happens Again
19. Food For Thought
20. Many Rivers To Cross


While the two previous Best of UB40 collections neatly divided the band's output between their more political early period and their later, covers-oriented pop success, they were also only ten tracks apiece. The Very Best of UB40 1980-2000 is the first comprehensive single-disc overview of the band's career, and it's a lot more generous at 18 tracks (on the American version). It isn't arranged chronologically, which actually helps the programming by splitting up the covers over the course of the running order. There's a bit more toughness to the earlier songs, both in the lyrics and the punchier performances. Yet in the end, the sonic differences are subtle enough that casual fans should still be able to enjoy them (unless they only want to hear the band performing reggae-pop versions of oldies they already know). Skimpy though it is, The Best of UB40, Vol. 1 is still the compilation for purists enamored of the band's early work, assuming they don't want to spend the money for the original albums. But with its fairly well-balanced selection and inclusion of all the band's U.S. hits, most American listeners who want a UB40 compilation will find The Very Best of UB40 1980-2000 exactly what they're looking for. [The import version juggles the track listing and running order a bit, excising a couple of Labour of Love II's American cover hits in favor of older songs and reggae covers of Jamaican origin. Also, the version of "Red Red Wine" is the shortened edit, without the toasting break at the end.] ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide


There used to be a joke that UB40 stood for the "Unemployed Birmingham 40", because there were so many band members in their videos, and none of them looked exactly sharp-suited. In fact the pop-reggae band did name themselves after an unemployment benefit form, though there was never 40 members - only eight, plus guests. They formed in 1979 and made a breakthrough when their debut single, "King/Food For Thought", was the first ever single to break the UK Top 10 on an independent label. Debut album Signing Off (1980) reached No.2 on the album chart and eventually achieved platinum sales. The group toured and recorded regularly, achieving another No.2 album in 1981 (Present Arms), a No.4 in 1982 (UB44), and finally a UK album chart-topper in 1983 with Labour of Love. That was also their American breakthrough, reaching No.8 on the Billboard 200. A cover of Neil Diamond's "Red, Red Wine" gave the band their first No.1 single in the UK, and it would eventually top the American singles chart too on re-release in 1988. The group's success continued throughout the 80s, with several more charting albums and hit singles. "I Got You Babe", featuring Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, topped the UK singles charts in 1985. Their next No.1 was a cover of the Elvis Presley ballad "Can't Help Falling In Love", which topped the charts in the UK and America in 1993. The group have continuted to record and tour the world, and frequently perform at music festivals. In 2003 they had another Top 20 hit in the UK with "Swing Low", and in 2007 they headlined the South African leg of Live Earth.

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:14)


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