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UB40 singer Ali Campbell explains reasons for quitting

Ali Campbell

Story by Jack Foley

ALI Campbell, the lead singer of UB40 for the past 30 years, has confirmed he is to quit the group – but not to pursue a solo career.

Campbell’s distinct voice helped songs such as Rat In My Kitchen and Red, Red Wine to become massive hits and introduced the Birmingham outfit’s trademark reggae sound.

But while initial reports suggested he had quit to go solo, the singer himself has stated that there was an entirely different reason for his departure.

In an open letter to fans on his website, Campbell states: “Contrary to some of the misleading, false information and accusations that have been circulating in recent months, the reason for my forthcoming departure from the band is NOT, as has been stated, due to my wanting to pursue a solo career. That is not the truth!!

“I released my first solo album 13 years ago and when I released my current solo album I had every intention to continuing to balance my solo career with my commitment to the band.

“The reason for me leaving the band is that management difficulties, which have been ongoing for almost five years, had become intolerable.

“I have been deeply unhappy with administrative practices and with many decisions that have been made in recent years and I have an ongoing investigation into the handling of my business affairs in relation to UB40. Suffice to say, I felt I had no other option but to resign from my band.”

Campbell will play his last gigs next month in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.

And although the remaining members have confirmed their decision to continue recording, a decision on who will replace Campbell has yet to be made.

Commenting on Campbell’s departure, a spokesman for UB40 said: “The other band members of UB40 are naturally disappointed and saddened after being together as a band unit and as good friends and a family unit for almost 30 years.”

However, it reiterated the band’s intention to carry on, adding: “UB40 has never been about any one individual, but more a collective of band members, who have all contributed to create the unique sound that UB40 have become renowned for over the last three decades.”

The band’s next album 24/7, which features Campbell, will also still be released as planned.

In his letter to fans, Campbell went on to express his gratitude for their support over the years.

“As one of the founder members of UB40, I have put the band first in my life for the last 28 years and am deeply saddened at the ending of that relationship.

No words can express how upset I feel today that I have been forced to make this decision. I am perhaps most upset on behalf of the fans, who have stuck with us, through thick and thin, throughout the years and are the best fans in the world.”

He concluded: “I know UB40 will carry on successfully without me and I wish them all the very best – they have been my family for the last 28 years and will always be my brothers.”

  1. what an extremely dignified letter.
    I am a fan since the beginning and will remain respectful to him and the band. The music still and always is the movement of life.

    rose    Jan 25    #
  2. Absolutley gutted. It wont be the same without ali. I have been to many concerts and followed the band since 1978

    sandra smith    Jan 25    #
  3. I have been a fan for ages too, and it does make me feel sad that they wont be together again. As a band together they were brill, but times move on and Ali needed a change, because of how he felt backed into a corner, everyone feels like that now and again, and can see no way back. i will continue to support Ali though because he was a big part of my life for so long. It is strange though listening to alis song which are brill i must say, but still a sadness that ub40 arnt with him, good look to them all what ever happends.

    sharon    Feb 10    #