UB40vUB40: band in showdown over use of name

Reggae musicians look set for a showdown over the use of the name UB40 after former members of the band announced they were adopting it, despite a rival camp already touring and recording with the title.

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Singer Ali Campbell
Singer Ali Campbell

Ex-singer Ali Campbell has teamed up with past founders of the once chart-topping group Astro and Mickey Virtue to form another band and have now announced they too will be called UB40.

It appears to have been established in opposition to the other members of the band - led by Ali's brother Robin Campbell - who have continued to use the name.

The group originally formed 36 years ago clocking up hits with songs such as Food For Thought, One In Ten, Red Red Wine and a cover of the Sonny and Cher classic I Got You Babe.

But Ali Campbell and Virtue quit the line-up in 2008 over "management difficulties" leaving the others to continue under the name UB40, and Astro followed in November of last year. The departing trio were then reunited onstage at a gig at London's IndigO2 venue last month.

After setting up a new website they posted a message to inform their fans this week: "The three founding members have reformed and reunited to bring you the true sound of UB40. Ali, Astro and Mickey are currently in the studio working on a new album...more info soon."

And a spokesman confirmed this had brought "the three founding members back together, performing and recording as UB40 once more".

The existence of two groups sharing the same name echoes other disputes over the years including a legal battle for the right to the name Bucks Fizz. In the court fight which three past members of the Eurovision-winning group brought against the sole original member who had retained the rights to the name, they were judged to have given up their rights by leaving the line-up.

The UB40 musicians may not have the stomach for a legal fight as several - sax player Brian Travers, drummer Jimmy Brown, percussionist Norman Hassan and Astro - were made bankrupt in 2011. Their financial difficulties had been ongoing for a number of years.

The members of the group which had retained the name - due to tour in March - have not responded to their former bandmates using the name.

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