UB40's Ali Campbell knew time was right for A Real Labour of Love album

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 6 March 2018
Ali Campbell

Ali Campbell

Ali Campbell admits he resisted making a new 'Labour of Love' album for 20 years

Ali Campbell admits he told people to 'f**k off' for 20 years when they asked him when he was going to make a new 'Labour of Love' album.

The 59-year-old singer's UB40 line-up - comprised of him and other original members Astro and Mikey Virtue - have just released 'A Real Labour of Love' comprised of covers of songs that defined reggae in the 1980s.

The record was preceded by three other 'Labour of Love' covers records which sold over 21 million copies combined, with the last LP coming out in 1998.

Ali - who quit the group he formed in January 2008 before going on to create a new version - admits there has always been a clamour for another collection of classics but he resisted until the time was right.

Speaking exclusively to BANG Showbiz, he said: "We were very successful with the three 'Labour of Love' albums, they sold 21 million copies between them, so we've always been asked when are you doing another 'Labour of Love', I used to go, 'F**k off!' But now it's been 30 years since Beres Hammond did 'She Loves Me Now', the time is right."

Ali admits he founds it a scary prospect to cover songs that he loves - tracks like 'Making Love', 'Strive' and 'How Could I Leave' - but he hopes by re-working tracks he loves that a new audience will seek out the originals.

He said: "It's terrifying for me to cover these songs. Someone like Beres Hammond, to me, is like Otis Redding, he's one of the greatest singers of all-time, to have to cover him is terrifying but it's something I've got to do if I want people to go and listen to the original. That's what I love about the 'Labour of Love' series, once they were so popular then people went back and found the originals and fell in love with them like me. That was always my strategy to promote reggae."

The 'Red Red Wine' hitmaker has teased that 'A Real Labour Love' won't be the last covers record UB40 bring out, because there are so many other songs he'd love to re-work.

He said: "We could do volumes four, five, six, seven, eight and nine! This new album is chronological for us. With the first 'Labour of Love' album we were coming out with songs from the 60s when we were too young to be in a band and these are the songs that made us continue to love reggae. In the 80s the electronic reggae movement happened, reggae music where keyboards were used instead of a bass. That was a revolution at the time and we wanted to include that on the new record. Reggae moves on like any other genre of music."

'A Real Labour Of Love' is out now and according to The Official Charts Company it is on course to be the highest new entry in this week's UK album chart, and will become the legendary reggae band's highest charting new album since their 1993 number one 'Promises And Lies'.

UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey are headlining The Royal Albert Hall on March 19 as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust series of gigs. For 'An Evening Celebrating The Very Best In British Reggae' they will be joined by Hollie Cook, Three The Hard Way - Brinsley Forde MBE (Aswad), David Hinds (Steel Pulse), Dennis Bovell (Matumbi) - and special guest David Rodigan MBE.

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