Cheerio Baby! SHOWBIZ: UB40 founder Ali Campbell quits after 30 years to go solo.
UB40 lead singer Ali Campbell is to quit the group after almost 30 years, the band confirmed today.
Campbell, who sang on a string of number one hits including the classic Red, Red Wine, wants to concentrate on his solo work.
What began with a sparsely attended birthday party gig at the Hare and Hounds Pub in Kings Heath has taken the 47-year-old and his pals on a global trip to superstardom.
It all began back in 1978 when the friends, who knew each other from schools and colleges around Birmingham, decided to become musicians.
Since then they have sold in excess of 70 million records, including three UK number one singles in Red, Red Wine, I Got You Babe, and Can't Help Falling In Love and other classics like Cherry Oh Baby and One In Ten.
They used a pounds 4,000 compensation package Ali Campbell received after he was attacked during his 17th birthday celebrations to buy their first instruments.
The name was famously taken from Unemployment Benefit form 40 issued by the DHSS for claiming benefits Their big break came when Chrissie Hynde spotted them playing in a pub and asked them to be the support act for her band The Pretenders on a national tour.
The band's last gigs together will be next month in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.
A spokesman for the band said they would continue to record and perform with the existing seven members, but a decision on who will replace Campbell has not been made.
The band's spokesman said: "The other band members of UB40 are naturally disappointed and saddened after being together as a band unit and as good friends and a family unit for almost 30 years."
OUR SAY: PAGE 70
Tell us your memories of Ali with UB40
Write to YOUR SAY, Birmingham Mail, PO Box 78, Weaman Street, Birmingham, B4 6AY, call 0800 138 2555 between 8am and 5.30pm, email our letters editor email@example.com or leave your opinion at www.birminghammail.net/forums
CAMPAIGNING... bus tour to promote Make Poverty History in 2005, and (above) Ali with Chrissie Hynde and with brother Robin; EARLY DAYS... helping a children's hospice appeal in 1986 (top); with the band in 1981(centre); and outside the Carlton in 1982