Thursday, July 11, 2013

Songoftheday 7/11/13 - I just thought that with time thoughts of you would leave my head, I was wrong now I find Just one thing makes me forget...

UB40 - "Red Red Wine"
from the album Labour Of Love (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: 1984: #34 (two weeks), 1988: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4 (1984), 12 (1988)

Today's Song of the Day is probably the casual American of a certain age's first thought to name a "reggae song", done by a British band named for an unemployment form. UB40 came together in the hard-up factory town of Birmingham, and after gigging around for a bit got "discovered" by the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde who let them open for her on tour. In 1980 they released their double-A-side debut single "King/Food For Thought". Reaching #4 on the UK chart, it was the first completely indie single to make the top-10 (it also topped the chart in New Zealand).

The band continued to have a few more top-10 hits in Britain, but their big breakthrough came in 1983, with the release of their fourth studio album Labour Of Love. Comprising of ten cover songs, the initial single would be a song written by Neil Diamond, who released "Red, Red Wine" as a single in 1968, where it was a minor hit in the US, peaking at #62.


(Click below to read the rest of the post)

 
However, it wasn't Neil's version of the song that UB40 was covering, but rather a ska-rock styled version by Tony Tribe that peaked right under the top-40 on the British charts...


UB40's take made the song "sunnier" than its alcoholically-influenced heartbreak lyrics would allude to...


"Red Red Wine" topped the British singles chart (their first of three) in 1983, and in the following year made their first chart appearance in America. It also went to #1 in Holland, Ireland, and New Zealand, and top-5 in Australia and Canada.  Four years later, the single was re-released (this time including the album-version toast by member Astro) and topped the American pop chart for a week.It was during the time when radio programmers like Guy Zapoleon would pride in "resurrecting" minor hits to become big, and this was one of the biggest successes with that. The song also made the easy-listening chart at #13, and was a minor rock hit, reaching #41. 

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Besides Diamond, Tribe, and UB40, other artists had success with the song, including traditional vocalist Vic Dana, who had a top-30 easy-listening hit with his version that also went to #74 on the pop chart in the US...



British soul singer Jimmy James had a top-40 hit in Britain in 1968 with his recording of the song...


In 1972, Roy Drusky had a top-20 hit on the country chart with his slowed-down take...


...and here's UB40 live, first in 1988 in London...


...again in 2000...


...and finally in 2002...



Up tomorrow: Dr. Noah Drake goes to the movies.




No comments: