5 Feb 2022

Why Does UB40 do this to me?! - on Aotearoa's complicated musical relationship

From Music 101, 1:15 pm on 5 February 2022

Love them or loathe them, the English band UB40 are deeply entwined into Aotearoa's musical DNA.

Yadana Saw explores how a reggae-pop band from the British West Midlands burrowed into the South Pacific's soul.

UB40 v Lazer kiwi

UB40 v Lazer kiwi Photo: Collage

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Arguably more familiar than the Neil Diamond original, the UB40 track 'Red Red Wine' occupies a special place in our collective consciousness.

For some of us, it is soothing white noise, an involuntary head bop or toe tap may start for others, maybe you’re in the camp where it’s utterly repellent and their music is a travesty to the purity of Jamaican reggae.

But whichever way you look at it, UB40 is far more powerful and infectious than any other recent arrivals on our shores. And in a couple of decades, it’s become an endemic feature of our local soundscape.

With the help of some music journalists, record reps, academics, tour managers and musicians, Yadana Saw makes sense of Aotearoa’s love affair with UB40.

Songs in this programme: Red Red Wine, Food for Thought, Signing Off, One in Ten, I Got You Babe, Many Rivers to Cross, (I Can't Help) Falling in Love, Kingston Town, Breakfast in Bed, Here I Am (Come and Take Me) Don't Break My Heart (UB40); Red Red Wine (Tony Tribe), Kingston Town (Lord Creator)