UB40 are one of the biggest and most successful Reggae bands in the world and have helped bring reggae and ska back to the forefront of popularity. We take an in-depth look at the band’s unique discography.

UB40 are a British reggae and pop band formed in Birmingham, England in 1978. The band's name is an acronym for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40, which was a form used by the British government to claim unemployment benefits.

UB40's music is a mix of reggae, dub, ska, and rock and They are best known for huge hit singles such as ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’, and ‘I Got You Babe’.

The Brummy band has released many successful albums over the years and have toured all around the globe. They have been credited with popularising reggae music in the UK and around the world.

The band branded as 'reggae royalty' are one of the most successful reggae acts of all time, selling over 70 million records worldwide, as well as being nominated for multiple accolades including the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Keep reading to take an in-depth look at all the albums released by UB40, from their early beginnings to their most recent offerings, as well as how you can secure VIP tickets to see them live.

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Early Years: Signing Off (1980) to Labour of Love (1983)

UB40's first album, ‘Signing Off’ was released in 1980 and it was an instant success in the UK, reaching number 2 on the charts and becoming the highest-selling reggae album in UK history at the time.

The album features hit tracks such as ‘Food for Thought’ and ‘King’ and is considered a big part of the 1980’s 2Tone movement. Its success put UB40 on the map as a leading figure in the UK reggae scene.

The record showcases the band's unique sound, blending traditional roots reggae with elements of ska and pop. The tracks "Food for Thought" and "King" highlight their politically charged lyrics and socially conscious themes, while "Tyler" and "Little By Little" showcase their softer, more romantic side.

As well as their fantastic musical talent, UB40's unique approach to the music industry set them apart from other reggae acts of the time.

They were one of the first bands to self-produce their albums, and their DIY approach, combined with their catchy hooks and relatable lyrics, made them a household name.

UB40's 'Signing Off' is a classic reggae album that helped start the band's journey to become one of the most successful reggae acts of all time.

Its combination of catchy melodies, raw and real lyrics, and innovative musical sound make it a must-listen for fans of reggae and pop music alike.

The 3 Best UB40 Albums

Throughout their career, UB40 has released many hugely successful albums that have become beloved classics of the reggae genre and helped to inspire a whole new generation of Reggae fans and artists.

Here are our picks for the top 3 greatest UB40 albums ever.

1. Labour of Love

UB40's fourth studio album ‘Labour of Love’ was released in 1983 and is 40 minutes of absolute musical brilliance from Ali Campbell and co.

The record features cover songs of classic hits, including Neil Diamond's ‘Red Red Wine’ and Toots & The Maytals' ‘Love T.K.O’.

The reggae masterpiece received huge critical acclaim for its unique fusion of reggae,  pop, and the band's authentic sound.

Upon its release, the album reached number 1 on the UK album charts and is now certified platinum as one of the best-selling Reggae albums of all time.

The success of ‘UB44’ helped to bring reggae music to a wider audience and really cemented UB40's place as one of the leading reggae bands of their generation.

The album has been widely praised for its catchy and memorable melodies, its positive and uplifting lyrics, and its innovative use of reggae, pop, and rock elements.

2. Present Arms

The ‘Red Red Wine’ singer's second album, ‘Present Arms’ was released in 1981. The album was a departure from their traditional reggae roots, incorporating elements of new wave, ska, and pop into their sound.

It was a commercial success, reaching number 2 on the UK charts and further solidified the band's place as one of the top reggae bands of the 80s after the success of their debut album ‘Signing Off’.

The album's lead single, ‘Don't Let It Pass You By’ showcases the band's newfound pop style with its catchy chorus and upbeat rhythm.

Other tracks like ‘Sardonicus’ and ‘Crazy Man’ highlight the band's socially conscious lyrics, while ‘I Think It's Going to Rain Today’ showcases their fantastic ability to cover non-reggae tracks.

‘Present Arms’ also marked a turning point in the band's career, as they began to incorporate more electronic instruments and production techniques into their music, helping them to stay relevant and innovative in an ever-changing musical landscape.

The album is a defining moment in UB40's discography, showcasing the band's ability to evolve and adapt while maintaining their unique sound and style.

Its catchy hooks, innovative production, and socially conscious themes make it one of the band's best-ever pieces of work.

3. Rat In The Kitchen

‘Rat in the Kitchen’ by UB40 is an album that showcases the band's signature reggae sound. The record features track after track of upbeat and catchy reggae classics, blending elements of reggae, ska and dub.

Standout songs include the lead singles ‘Rat in the Kitchen’ and ‘Sing Our Own Song’,  which became huge hits and beloved fan favourites. The album really showcases the band's versatility and ability to effortlessly blend different musical styles.

The album is just quintessential UB40, demonstrating their amazing ability to create thought-provoking and entertaining music that speaks to a broad audience, Making it one of the band's best-ever albums.

UB40's Evolution and Change Over Time

Over the years, UB40 has undergone several changes and evolved in both their music and band members.

In the early days, the band's sound was heavily influenced by classic reggae artists such as Bob Marley and Toots & The Maytals, as well as ska music.

This influence is evident in their early albums, which feature a raw, energetic sound that incorporates elements of reggae and ska.

However, as the band matured and evolved, they began to experiment with different musical styles, incorporating elements of soul, R&B, and even pop into their sound.

This can be heard on albums like 'Labour of Love' and 'Promises and Lies', which saw the band reach a wider audience and gain mainstream success.

Another major change for UB40 was the departure of several original members, which resulted in the formation of two separate UB40 bands.

This split has led to both versions of the band creating and performing music, with each group exploring different musical directions.

UB40's evolution and change over time are a testament to the band's unique style and creativity. They have remained true to their reggae roots while also exploring new sounds to their music relevant and engaging for audiences of all ages.

UB40's Collaborations and Contributions

UB40 are known for their collaborations with other artists for their significant contributions to charity.

They have collaborated with many artists, including Chrissie Hynde, duetting with her on the hit song ‘I Got You Babe’ as well as Robert Palmer and reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.

The band have made numerous contributions to charity, including a cover of the song "Food for Thought" which raised money for Ethiopian famine relief. They have also supported causes such as anti-apartheid and the miners' strike.

In 2020 Ali Campbell and co-released a charity cover of Bill Withers ‘Lean On Me’ in support of NHS nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

UB40 has made a lasting impact on the world, and their music and activism have made them a significant cultural force.

UB40 Live Performances and Tours

Over the years UB40 have performed live at venues all across the world, showcasing their unique sound and bringing fans together to enjoy their music.

The band has had several successful tours, including their ‘Labour of Love Tour’ in 1984, which celebrated the release of their critically acclaimed album "Labour of Love".

In 1989, they embarked on their ‘Promises and Lies Tour’, promoting their album of the same name. This tour took them to several countries in Europe, North America, and Australia, attracting thousands of fans.

In recent years, UB40 has continued to tour extensively, performing their classic hits and new material for fans across the world. They have also been a popular headlining act at festivals and events, bringing their energetic and infectious sound to audiences of all ages.

One of their most notable recent tours was the 2013 ‘Getting Over the Storm’ tour, where they played concerts in various cities in the UK and Europe.

It marked the band's last performances before splitting into two, with frontmen Astro and Ali Campbell leaving to perform in their own UB40 splinter band.

UB40's tours and live performances have been a significant part of their legacy, and have helped cement their place as one of the most influential and popular reggae bands of all time.

Whether playing in a packed stadium or a small club, UB40 continues to bring energy and passion to each and every performance.

How Can I Get Tickets to Watch UB40 Live?

UB40 are one of the biggest and most popular Reggae bands of all time and they are responsible for revolutionising the genre and bringing it back to the forefront of popularity.

UB40 tickets for both the original band and Ali Campbell’s splinter band are always in high demand, with their millions of loyal fans flocking to get tickets for a fantastic night of reggae skanking.

Why not skip out on the hassle of fighting for general sale tickets and opt for a more luxurious concert experience with a VIP hospitality package? With a VIP hospitality package through Seat Unique, you will benefit from a whole host of luxury inclusions, such as*:

  • VIP entry and exit from the venue.
  • Premium seating with unrivalled views of the stage.
  • Access to private toilet facilities and VIP lounges.
  • A selection of delicious freshly cooked meals.
  • Access to private bars serving a range of premium beverages.

*Inclusions may vary depending on venue and choice of package.

If you're eagerly anticipating a live performance by UB40 in the near future, there are a few exciting options available for you.

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell will be supporting The Who on their blockbuster UK tour in July 2023.

Tickets for The Who and UB40's UK tour dates are on sale now. Secure your place now through our safe and secure website for a truly unmissable musical spectacle.

Buy The Who & UB40 featuring Ali Campbell VIP tickets

UB40 (minus Ali Campbell) are venturing on a UK tour in 2024. Tickets for UB40's 2024 UK tour are on sale now for their upcoming Birmingham and Leeds dates.

Buy UB40 VIP tickets