Entertainment

UB40 star Ali Campbell pays tribute to ex-bandmate Astro with ‘poignant' track

The pair played together as part of a breakaway group.

Former UB40 member Ali Campbell has released a “poignant and special” track in memory of his ex-bandmate Astro.

The musician, real name Terence Wilson, died in November last year following a short illness.

Since 2013, the pair had played together as part of a breakaway group after leaving the main band over internal disagreements including about its management.

Their cover of Jamaican vocal group the Kingstonians’ classic reggae track Sufferer is described as a “first taste” from new album Unprecedented, which was recorded before Astro’s death and will be a tribute to the singer, trumpeter and percussionist.

Campbell, 63, said: “Sufferer is a song that Astro and I have always loved, from the brilliant Kingstonians. Astro was so proud of our version of this song, as am I.

“It’s the first track off our new studio album Unprecedented which will be out in the summer.

“This song is more poignant and special than I ever realised, after Astro heartbreakingly passed away after recording this album.

“We want to keep his memory alive through his music and this song and album.”

Campbell and Astro’s planned UK tour is still going ahead as a tribute to his former bandmate and begins on Friday February 25 at London’s O2 Arena.

“I can’t wait to get back on stage and see all our wonderful fans, although it’s going to be incredibly difficult without Astro by my side,” Campbell said.

“Remembering Astro, let the music play on. Big love, Ali.”

Campbell was an original member of the UB40 line-up and his brother Duncan took over as lead singer when Ali quit in 2008 over a disagreement about management.

Astro was a member from the late 1970s until 2013 when he left to team up with Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue as part of tearaway outfit UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro.

The main band recently announced musician Matt Doyle will replace Duncan as their new lead singer after he announced his retirement from music in June after having a seizure at home.

The band formed in 1978 in Birmingham, choosing their name as a reference to a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits at the time.

The band produced hits including Red Red Wine and Falling In Love With You.

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