UB40 through the years in pictures before the Campbell brothers rift: They were once family

Tran Hanh
June 07, 2024

UB40 Birmingham band through the decades in pictures when Ali Campbell and Robin Campbell were together in reggae group

(Image: Redferns)

UB40 reggae band were formed in Birmingham back in 1978 and have had more than 50 singles in the UK charts. As they celebrate their 45th anniversary, we take a look back at iconic photos from during their celebrated career.

Frontman Ali Campbell and his brother Robin on guitar were among the most recognisable members of the group emerging out of Balsall Heath at a time of high unemployment. All friends from Birmingham schools, they teamed up and took the name UB40 from the Government’s Department of Employment card issued to people claiming benefits.

The card stood for Unemployment Benefit form 40. The name stuck and they have become legends in the city ever since.

In January 2008, singer Ali Campbell left the band for a solo career which sparked a row between him and his brother Robin and some other band mates. Keyboard player Mickey Virtue later left to join Ali.

He was followed by Astro in 2013 when they created a new UB40 version of the group that led to a legal wrangle over use of the name. Now Robin and some remaining founder members tour as UB40 while Ali tours on his own since Astro’s death as UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell.

These photos show UB40 when the band over time from during their prime before the fallout when they celebrated chart hits including Red, Red Wine and I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You to more recent days.

  1. L-R Astro (Terence Wilson), Norman Hassan, Brian Travers, Ali Campbell, Earl Falconer, Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Mickey Virtue. 1983.(Image: Getty Images)1 of 24
  2. UB40 filming a video film in a scrapyard. The video film features songs from their album ‘Labour of Love’. Pictured Brian Travers, saxophonist with the band and producer of the video. 21st January 1983.(Image: Getty Images)2 of 24
  3. Brothers Robin and Ali Campbell from UB40 meet fans and sign copies of the new book at Waterstone’s in High Street, Birmingham. October 20 2005.(Image: Birmingham Post and Mail)3 of 24
  4. Portrait of UB40, Ali Campbell, Astro (AKA Terence Wilson), Mickey Virtue, Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan, Ahoy Sportpaleis, Rotterdam, Holland, 13 July 1988.(Image: Getty Images)4 of 24
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