Singer Ali Campbell is leaving the reggae band UB40 after selling tens of millions of records worldwide in a career spanning nearly 30 years, a spokesman for the group said on Friday. Campbell will quit after performing his last concerts with the band next month in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.
In separate statements, Campbell blamed “intolerable management difficulties,” while the band said the singer was keen to pursue his solo career.
“I have been deeply unhappy with administrative practices and with many decisions that have been made in recent years,”
Campbell said. “Suffice to say I felt I had no other option but to resign from my band.
“This decision has not been taken lightly and has come as a result of a long, painful and agonizing thought process.” The remaining members of the group said they were saddened by Campbell’s decision.
A statement said: “They have been together for a long time and their relationship as band members and friends is almost like a marriage.”
The band was formed in the English Midlands during the economic slump of the late 1970s, taking their name from an official unemployment benefits form.
With their catchy mix of pop and reggae, the band went on to sell an estimated 70 million records, tour the world six times and top the UK singles chart three times.
In 1983, they enjoyed a number one hit around the world, including the United States, with a version of Neil Diamond’s song “Red Red Wine.”
Other hits include: “I Got You Babe,” “Cherry Oh Baby” and “Rat In Mi Kitchen.”
The rest of the group will continue to record and perform and no decision has been taken on replacing Campbell.