October 15, 1988
Gene ‘Bean’ Baxter despised his friend Todd Fisher. Then, about two feet six, the Yorkshire-born DJ despised most people. Together, they worked on the KZZP-FM radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. And they loved the Red40 Wine version of UB40.
The single, which reached number one in the UK in September 1983, peaked at number 34 on the Billboard charts in early 1984. Not good enough, Baxter and Fisher thought. They took the record to Guy Zapoleon, a KZZP program director who agreed that the release still had legs. Zapoleon told Billboard magazine, “If today’s music wasn’t up to par, I’d dig into a bunch of songs that I thought should have been a hit.” As a result, during 1988, the song became a regular on the Saturday night Party Patrol program.
And repeat requests arrived. Zapoleon contacted UB40’s US label A&M to suggest that the single be reissued, but that was only when radio stations picked up the rumor and began adding Red Red Wine to their charts. reproduction that A&M noticed and marketed a re-release -although they were still promoting the augmented version of Chrissie Hynde from Breakfast In Bed, sung for the first time by Dusty Springfield.
On October 13, UB40 was preparing for a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York, with lead guitarist and co-vocalist Robin Campbell declaring, “I’ve been wanting to play The Garden for about three years now.” Brummie byte was about to become the most important Jamaican music ever to appear on US stages, when U.S. October 15 charts confirmed that Red Red Wine had become on the first reggae single to reach number one.
A missing member of the New York City celebrations was bassist Earl Falconer, who had just been released from prison after serving three months for a car accident in which his brother Ray died, the sound of the band. “It’s weird,” Campbell said. Another who was not allowed to enjoy the moment was Billy Bragg. He initially signed up for the Madison Square Garden support site, and was eventually kicked out of the bill. According to Bragg’s office, two members of the UB40 refused to play unless Barking’s bard received the push: dissidents were never appointed.
Meanwhile, The New York Times proved unconvinced about the concert, arguing that while “the ecstatic audience was out of their seats dancing throughout the 90-minute show, it was the same frenzy and lack of good material that eventually turned the show into a mechanic. ”
“Even when we saw the writing credit, which N.Diamond said, we thought it was a Jamaican artist named Negus Diamond or something …”
A&M Records was too celebratory to notice. They took a full-page ad on Billboard to proclaim, “The most popular reggae band in the world has become much more popular,” also claiming that they had released “The number one reggae single number 1 in history.” U.S. music statistics masters agreed with the verdict; He had previously been on the reggae-like charts: Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now in 1970 and Eric Clapton’s I Shot The Sheriff in 1974, but Red Red Wine was the real deal, after all. been the cover of a hit for Jamaica. Tony Tribe, stable rock performer. Of course, Neil Diamond had written it as a ballad in 1969. UB40 was initially unaware of Diamond’s original, Astro trumpeter / toaster, which stated that, “even when we saw the credit for the writing , said N.Diamond, we thought, he was a Jamaican artist named Negus Diamond or something …
The record brought UB40 immense success beyond its wildest dreams. Unfortunately, this acceptance also led to similar wear and tear. Although they had sold more than 70 million records since their inception in 1978, leader Ali Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue left the band in 2008 due to what he considered an imminent financial disaster. “In the 1980s, we lived in five-star hotels,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of money.” The ax finally fell in October last year, when four members of the gang were declared bankrupt; The Billboard website headlined the news “No More Red Red Wine.”
That said, the group holds on. Now with a third Campbell brother, Duncan, in the lead vocals, July saxophonist Brian Travers confirmed that they are working on a new album via his Twitterfeed. Next month they will play with Switzerland, Holland and Belgium, with Red Wine still a vital part of the list.