Only with Ali Campbell, the legendary voice of UB40, reunited with Astro and Mickey can audiences get to experience the closest thing to the sound of the hugely successful original line-up of UB40 as all the hits are played. It’s a can’t miss night of music seeing these three founding members’ and UK reggae pioneers’ latest take on the genre! Make it a great night out with dinner and a show! Visit Bailey’s Backyard (23 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield) for an early dinner and receive 10% off when you show your ticket! UB40 is a featured artist of WEBE 108fm.
As original members of UB40, Ali, Mickey and Astro helped to define reggae music for a generation. The multi-racial band, formed in 1979 in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley, pooled a diverse set of influences to put a fresh, indigenous slant on Jamaican reggae. After encouragement from Chrissie Hynde, who offered them support slots with her chart-topping band The Pretenders, they recorded their independently released debut album, 'Signing Off', on an eight-track tape machine in the home of producer Bob Lamb. An unexpected number two album, it gave them the conviction to chart their own course. "Chrissie Hynde discovered us," recalls Ali. "We'd only done a dozen gigs when she saw us at the Rock Garden in London. She was top of the charts at that time, but she took us on tour. We were on the road with The Pretenders when our first single, "Food For Thought" and "King", reached number four in the charts." "We owed a lot to the late 1970s ska movement, too," adds Mickey. "We shirt-tailed the ska movement but we also stood apart from the 2-tone acts: their thing was a mix of punk and ska and ours was a new homegrown strand of reggae."
UB40 went on to dominate charts around the world, not least with the hugely successful 'Labour Of Love' series. The first 'Labour Of Love' album, in 1983, yielded a cover of Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" that topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The band secured two further chart-topping singles at home in "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" (also another US number one) and "I Got You Babe", a duet between Ali and the band's old friend Chrissie Hynde, and Ali and Robin Campbell also scored a No.1 with "Baby Come Back".
When Ali Campbell departed in 2008 after 29 years and a dozen major world tours with the band, he was followed out of UB40 by Mickey Virtue. Campbell, with Mickey lending a helping hand, has since released two solo albums. Astro remained with the band until November 2013, when he left to team up again with Ali and Mickey. Now, following some spectacular gigs at home and abroad, the trio are facing the future with renewed confidence and vigour.
For tickets (Orchestra $110 | Balcony & Mezzanine $95), call the box office at 203-438-5795, or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.
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