Ali Campbell has split with UB40, the veteran U.K. crossover reggae act he fronted for three decades, a spokesman for the band said today (Jan. 25).
Campbell will leave the outfit after completing a string of dates in February in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda. His plan will be to continue pursuing a solo career.
“Ali Campbell has taken the decision to focus on his solo career and in doing so, could not give his full commitment to UB40,” commented a spokesman in a statement.
“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 thirty years.”
Campbell had completed a final studio album with the band, “24/7,” which is due to land in May via the group’s own indpendent Reflex Music label. The remaining seven members have vowed to continue performing as UB40; no announcement has been made on a replacement.
Formed in the English city of Birmingham during the late 1970s, the group harnessed a sound and style which resonated during the country’s then-economic troubles. The name UB40 even refers to a British unemployment benefits form.
The band is best known internationally for a string of radio-friendly cover versions, including “Red Red Wine” (Neil Diamond) “I Got You Babe” (Sonny & Cher) and “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” (Andy Williams) which helped UB 40 sell an estimated 70 million albums.