Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Red, Red Wine" by UB40

Song#:  1768
Date:  01/28/1984
Debut:  83
Peak:  34
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Reggae

Pop Bits:  This UK band began to take shape around 1978 when two brothers, Alastair (Ali) and Robin Campbell started recruiting friends located around their Birmingham home. Thank to a settlement that Ali received from an injury during a bar fight, the band had enough money to purchase instruments and start rehearsing. The following year they played their first gig and in 1980 they were chosen by Chrissie Hynde to open for her band The Pretenders. A record deal quickly came their way and soon their first single title "Food for Thought" hit #4 on the UK chart. A second Top 10 followed and their debut LP reached #2. They continued to have success in the UK, but a US audience eluded them until this single from their covers album Labour of Love took off. The song had already hit #1 in the UK and its success finally got them some attention Stateside. It would get inside the Pop Top 40 while going to #41 at Rock. It was a good introduction to the band, but it would take another four years before the band really broke through on the US chart.

ReduxReview:  This entry may have you thinking, "hey, wasn't this a bigger hit?" Well, yes it was. But not until 1988 when a reissue of the song that included the original little rap section by band member Astro found itself topping the Pop chart. On it's initial chart run (edited without the rap), the best that it could do was Top 40. I have to say that whether it is this version, the 1988 reissue, or Neil Diamond's original (see below), I never liked the song. In fact, I really hated the UB40 version. Still being a reggae novice, I just didn't connect with it at all. It was just a minor ditty with annoying, whiny vocals that lazily went nowhere. Since it wasn't a major hit in '84, I could avoid it. But much to my dismay it ended up all over the place in '88. I still don't like the song, but I can at least tolerate it once in a great while. I can't say that about their other hit covers that happened at the end of the decade. I'm just not a fan.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The band's name came from an application form that was used in the UK. The Unemployment Benefit Form 40, or UB-40, was filled out by folks without jobs who were seeking assistance. Since none of the band members had a job at the time they were getting together, it seemed like an appropriate name. After they started to have some success, they titled their debut LP Signing Off as a way of saying they now had jobs as pro musicians and no longer needed benefits.  2) This is a remake of a song originally written and performed by Neil Diamond. It appeared on Diamond's second album, 1967's Just for You, and it was issued as a single later in 1968. It peaked at #62 on the Pop chart. In 1969, reggae artist Tony Tribe recorded a popular version of the song. According to UB40, the Tony Tribe version was the only one they knew about and even after covering the song, they had no idea that Neil Diamond had originally written and recorded it. Apparently, the only information they had on the song was from the Tribe record that just listed "Diamond" as the composer. Years later, Diamond stated that of all the cover versions done of his songs, this UB40 track was one of his favorites.


No comments:

Post a Comment