The Painful Split Up – ♫ UB40 ♫


Ali, Astro and

Ali, Astro and Mickey

As one of the World’s biggest UB40 fans I thought I would look deeper into the band splitting up in 2008 and having financial issues. Ali Campbell and Astro who for me were 2 of the big faces and voices of UB40 now sing together with Mickey Virtue on keyboard as 3 of the original band. The other guys went alone and along came a voice I don’t recognize, just my opinion, not as good a singer as either as either of his brothers in Duncan Campbell. I have tried so hard to listen to UB40 Version 2 with Duncan singing and I am sorry guys, whatever the problem is you all lost when Ali Astro and Micky left. Rumours of huge financial problems led to alleged bankruptcy for a few of the old UB40 old guard who sing with Duncan as lead singer. I was tweeting UB40 a lot the last year and I had NO IDEA they had split up, so I guess my confusion of two UB40 Twitter accounts kind of made sense. UB40 are my childhood, late teenage years and to today as a 40 year old disabled blogger. This is a direct quote below by Ali on his version of events from

The 55-year-old star revealed the depth of the family rift as he spoke about his breakawayUB40 band’s forthcoming appearance at a Staffordshire music festival in May. Ali will be joined by original members Astro and Mickey Virtue, and they will perform under the name UB40 – even though the other members of the group are still using it, too.

The original group split up in 2008 with Brian Travers, Jimmy Brown, Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan, Robin Campbell and Duncan Campbell forming a rival band, and sparking a bitter row.

Ali said his planned UB40 tour and, the group’s new album, was his way of reclaiming ‘his band’. “The split was acrimonious,” he told the Sunday Mercury yesterday. “It was very bad. “I’m no longer on speaking terms with my two brothers. “When it was falling apart, Duncan said to me ‘Stop singing, do your own thing and that way you’ll get what you’re entitled to’. “But when I left, I found out Duncan had joined the band in my place. I was furious. “If you went to see The Rolling Stones and Derek Jagger turned up instead of Mick you’d feel a bit peeved.

“I haven’t spoken to Duncan or Robin for six years now. It has torn the family apart. “I was the founder member in 1979 and I started it to promote reggae music. “I was forced to leave the band five years ago and I’ve sat back and watched the other boys – the ‘dark side’ as I call them – destroying the legacy of my band, playing smaller and smaller venues.

“I have watched my brother destroy my songs. “When they released their album, and it was a country album, that was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. “I thought ‘Sod it, I’ll take my band back and I’ll reclaim the good name of UB40.”

Ali says that when he announced last year that he, Astro and Mickey would be touring and performing under the name UB40, the rival members threatened legal action to stop them using the name. “But since then I’ve heard nothing from their solicitors,” he added. “Besides, I’m not worried. “No-one owns the name UB40 apart from the Government because it was a Government document – to sign on for unemployment benefit – so no judge in the land will ever rule in their favour.

“The dark side have never once said it isn’t the original line-up, and my older brother Duncan has never recorded any hits, so it’s just nonsense.” Ali says it is now up to the fans to decide who they really want. And that, according to bandmate Astro, is Ali’s version. “Fans I’ve spoken to have told me that as far as they were concerned UB40 has to have myself and Ali in it,” he said.

Ali now lives with his wife and children in Christchurch, Dorset, while Mickey is in Rednal and Astro in Worcestershire.

UB40 will be headlining at the Bearded Theory festival at Catton Hall in Derbyshire on May 25. Their world tour began last week in Nigeria and resumes on April 2 when they perform in Dubai and then runs until the end of August.

Astro said: “It feels fantastic to be back, like slipping into an old pair of shoes. It’s like time stood still and nothing has changed.”

Ali explains that, in between the globetrotting, they wanted to return to the UK for the Bearded Theory festival, which was voted ‘Best Small Festival in the UK’. “It’s always exciting to do new things and this festival is great for us because we’re the perfect festival band,” he said. “We had 40 top 20 hits in the 1980s and 90s, and will be singing all of those at the festival.”

Sorry guys, this doesn't work.

Sorry guys, this doesn’t work.

I sat and watched a documentary on the Campbell family online, both Ali and Robin talking about how the band was formed. Acting like brothers. For me this is just sad. I remember ‘Live at Finsbury Park’ as a defining moment in my life, it was SENSATIONAL! This is the video of the Campbell family. Guys, can’t you put your issues to one side and do what you may live to regret not doing and get back together. I don’t speak alone in just being bitterly disappointed in knowing what I can see from my past is no more.

The Campbells Documentary UB40
Via Colin Ross on You Tube

This can't just vanish. Solidarity is for life

This can’t just vanish. Solidarity is for life

I watched it all and it’s heartbreaking watching it today, knowing how tight they were before. I did a blog about 2 year ago and it was about how family don’t talk any more, our values in the UK have changed so much we don’t talk to each other no more, usually there is money involved. But I ask ALL UB40 “Is this what you really wanted”? As I said, 2 twitter accounts. This is the new UB40 @UB40OFFICIAL and this is Ali with the other 2 @UB40_org Ali’s UB40 actually follow me back on Twitter. I was all set to go and see them in the Edinburgh Festival, I live in Edinburgh, only to find out it wasn’t the UB40 I grew up to idolize. See UB40 of old had meaning and purpose, their songs and lyrics meant something to me and millions more. At a bad time for the UK UB40 stood up for values and sung songs we could identify with. I tried to find something from Robin Campbell but there is nothing there to share. So like the Beatles and Oasis, UB40 go down in history as a band that couldn’t see it through. Like Ali said ‘Imagine going to see the Rolling Stones and Dave Jagger was singing instead of Mick’ yeah that would be strange, and watching UB40 with Duncan IS that strange. UB40! Guys! Whatever band you are in I must say you all were a huge influence on my life, millions of lives, your songs older ARE just amazing. My favourite is ‘Sing our own song’ As a Scotsman trying to free my Country from the Austerity that is Westminster this song I can identify with today as ‘For Scotland’ I don’t know how many from UB40 will read this, I am not being bias, I just want MY UB40 BACK!!

What happened to you guys?

What happened to you guys?

And I know I speak for MILLIONS MORE! If you guys can put life behind you and do it for the fans, the people who made you and gave you our money, not that we want it back 😀 you will all be millionaires again, FACT! But for me this isn’t about money, I have all albums in vinyl and more on CD, I have all albums, VHS Video and DVD’s money can buy. Come on guys, look what you walked away from. Picking up a phone can be hard, but often worthwhile. I have been to many funerals and seen tears, but often are these tears guilt? Don’t do it boys. I am just a 2 bob blogger, my words mean nothing probably but when I listen to you guys every other day I look back to my amazing childhood younger years, so, UB40, what do you see when you look back the way? I see this below. Take it easy guys and good luck for the future, sadly I see you in the past. With the utmost respect. Shaun


This works, press play. UB40 – Sing Our Own Song (Live In The New South Africa)
Via UB40VEVO on You Tube – Watch both brothers sing and work as brothers

UB40 – All I Want To Do
Via TheCollection2 on You Tube – Watch both brothers sing and work as brothers

UB40 – Baby ( Live @ Finsbury Park 1991 )
Via Guillaume Lasne on You Tube 

UB40 – Red Red Wine (Live In Finsbury Park 1991)
Via Aaron White on You Tube 

UB40 – Rat in my kitchen ( Live @ Finsbury Park 1991 )
Via Guillaume Lasne on You Tube

UB40 – Stick By Me – Can you UB40? – Press play, does work
Via UB40VEVO on You Tube


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4 comments on “The Painful Split Up – ♫ UB40 ♫

  1. Yes a very amateur blogger you are, building a story that’s absolute rubbish and claiming UB40 don’t state it’s not the original line up. So they didn’t do a massive press conference when Ali left saying how sad it was and introducing Duncan as the new lead singer? Have a watch of this clip. You really should do a little more digging and no just recite people’s waffle the idea as being a good journalist is to actually do you own research. Try this one also


  2. I heard UB40 live in India today. And although they are fantabulous, there were voices missing. Ali Campbell was there. Astro and Mickey Virtue. Minus Ali Campbell and the band would loose its charm majorly.
    The idea of a band is the unified voice and the music that comes from the various artists. It is a personal relationship with the band as a whole and not as individuals. So, it always hurts to have people leaving the group and never profits.


    • Yeah Ali and Astro where the voice of UB40…
      But Ali, Astro and Micky still have a UB40 too…Link is in this blog.
      Also Ali went solo..BRILLIANT HE IS..I got this full concert…
      This song speaks about how ‘As a species we sit with our faces in phones and tablets’ with Lyrics..
      On the link to this, you CAN watch the full concert or small parts of it..


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