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Setting the Record Straight: UB40’s Response to Ali Campbell


This statement is a direct response to a post by Ali Campbell on 25/10/23.

It’s time to set the record straight and make the position very clear, between UB40 and Ali Campbell. Since Ali Campbell left UB40, 15 years ago in 2008 to pursue a solo career, his act has had so many different names publicised
and promoted:

Ali Campbell, Ali Campbell & The Dep Band, Ali Campbell the legendary voice of UB40, Ali Campbell the Golden Voice of UB40, Ali Campbell the True Voice of UB40, UB40 Reunited, UB40 Featuring Ali Astro & Micky, UB40 Featuring Ali & Astro, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell In Memory of Astro, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, UB40 Live featuring Ali Campbell

to name a few.

In response to one of the many factually incorrect statements made by Ali Campbell’s team, Ali Campbell hasn’t used the name ‘UB40’ continually for 45 years. This has been clearly documented.

The promoters want to call us UB40, but we are Ali Campbell and the Dep Band. We are proud of who we are.

– Ali Campbell in ‘Time Out Dubai’ 2011: SOURCE

UB40 have been touring and recording successfully, globally and continuously for 45 years and are currently celebrating 45 years as a band. It is well documented that Ali Campbell left UB40 to go solo in 2008 and following cancelled and failed tours, he then began to misuse the name and brand in order to sell his tickets, five years later, in 2013.

This video using archive footage, shows how Ali Campbell’s story has changed over time.


UB40 has always been a democratic band and despite a couple of line up changes, 4/5 of the surviving, founding members of UB40, Robin Campbell, Earl Falconer, James Brown and Norman Hassan, have been writing, recording and performing as UB40 since 1978. UB40’s legendary brassn section consisting of Brian Travers, Martin Meredith and Laurence Parry has remained the same for over 30 years until the tragic and recent passing of Brian in 2021, after a heroic battle with a brain tumour.

UB40 notoriously credited all of the lineup with writing credits, so everyone always got an equal share. Contrary to popular belief, UB40’s current line up and Brian Travers wrote all of the bands original hit songs, and of course, Astro wrote most of his own raps. The truth is, the only song Ali ever wrote during his time in UB40, was ‘My Way of Thinking.’

The facts are that Ali Campbell is ‘passing off’ his now solo project, as UB40, by billing himself as UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell. This causes a lot of confusion, because the deceptive billing implies that Ali Campbell is performing with UB40. In fact, it is just one ex-member of UB40 and his backing band of session musicians, none of whom have ever performed with UB40, or ever participated in a UB40 record.

Ali Campbell and his team are continuously using deceptive messaging, images of the original band including our current line up, and market their act in huge UB40 lettering. The ‘Featuring Ali Campbell’ element is always barely readable, to deliberately deceive fans, promoters and audiences around the globe, into thinking they are seeing UB40, when in fact it couldn’t be further
from the truth. We have 1000’s of archived examples of this deceptive marketing and Ali’s attempts to pass himself off as UB40.

When Ali Campbell markets his shows as ‘UB40‘ it is damaging to our brand and our business. We have to constantly make it clear to promoters, journalists, editors, that they must differentiate between UB40 and Ali Campbell in order for there to be clarity on what the general public are buying tickets for, to avoid the confusion.

Most recently, a show in Uganda was marketed and hailed as UB40’s great return to Uganda by the promoters. We were forced to contact the promoters and press, to inform them that UB40 were not performing in Uganda and that it was in fact just ex- vocalist Ali Campbell. False and untrue claims were made by the promoters of Africa Talent Group and marketers even super imposed Ali Campbell’s face on to a current line-up photo of UB40, in a YouTube video. This is just one example- there are constant issues with the way his shows are promoted and it obviously creates confusion.


Screenshot of the announcement thumbnail showing Ali’s face photoshopped a UB40 photo

It is our right to make our position clear and present the facts, when deliberate attempts are made to misrepresent our brand and confuse people. It is in the public interest to know and clearly understand, when they are buying tickets to see UB40, that they are in fact seeing UB40.

There are very few examples of bands that have existed for 45 years, without line up changes. Despite Ali Campbell’s history with the band, it doesn’t legitimise his claim to the name. Ali chose to leave UB40 15 years ago. UB40 will continue to tour the world, performing and recording the music they love.