Reggae phenomenon UB40 has received a prestigious stone at the Music Walk of Fame in Camden, London, marking another feather in their cap.
Ali Campbell, UB40’s iconic frontman during their 1980s peak, described the induction as a “return to roots”, remembering Camden’s pivotal role in launching their meteoric rise.
The group now joins an elite list featuring Janis Joplin, The Kinks, Buzzcocks, Billy Bragg, and prior inductees such as the legendary David Bowie and soulful Amy Winehouse.
For UB40, Camden wasn’t just another venue; it was their stepping stone to stardom outside their Birmingham base. Their performance at Camden’s Dingwalls laid the foundation for their big break. From there, they landed a gig at Rock Garden. This chain of events caught the eye of The Pretenders’ lead, Chrissie Hynde, who extended an invite for a collaborative tour.
Tracing back to their inception in the late ’70s, UB40’s renditions like “Red Red Wine” and “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You” have left indelible marks in music history. However, 2008 saw a split in the original lineup, with Campbell departing due to management issues. He later teamed up with Mickey Virtue and the late Astro, forming a new ensemble in 2013.
The week saw a flurry of inductions, celebrating names such as The Sugarhill Gang, Eddy Grant, Shalamar, promoter Harvey Goldsmith, DJ Paul “Trouble” Anderson, and Kiss FM’s Gordon Mac. Past recipients also feature powerhouses like The Who, Madness, and Soul II Soul.
A humbled Campbell expressed gratitude, placing UB40 alongside an array of influential artists. At 64, he mused, “Who imagined we’d still be here, advocating reggae? It’s quite the journey.”