UB40 score number one with new single

Global reggae stars UB40 are celebrating success after fans helped to propel their latest single ‘Forever True’ to the top of the iTunes download chart, just days after its release.

The revamped version of ‘Food For Thought’, the influential Birmingham band’s debut single released in 1980, has been written and recorded for UK Championship football club Birmingham City FC and supporters.

All copies of a limited edition CD and vinyl version of forthcoming album ‘UB45’ - pressed on royal blue vinyl and featuring ‘Forever True’ - sold out at Monday’s Birmingham City FC vs Preston North End game, which ended in a 1-0 win for the home team in front of 25,000 fans.

A full concert by UB40 for ticket-holders at the newly renamed St Andrews @ Knighthead Park followed the full-time result, saw thousands of Blues fans celebrating at the free concert - which featured a number of the band’s smash hits, new songs, and the now official new club anthem. Robin Campbell, vocalist and guitarist with UB40, said:

“We’re life-long supporters of Birmingham City, so it was a no-brainer for us to celebrate our home team and town by re-recording the song that fans know and love. 

“It fills us with so much pride to, in our own way, be a part of the club’s story. It’s humbling and never gets old hearing fans chant the song every time a goal is scored. 

“We’re so pleased with the feedback from fans, and to go to the top of the iTunes charts with a No.1 is an honour. We’re glad we could do the club proud.” 

Fans of Birmingham City FC, known colloquially as ‘Bluenoses’, embraced the original song early on its history - singing its iconic saxophone line written by late co-founding band member Brian Travers when the team scores, and at the end of every winning match.

‘Forever True’ has been adopted quickly by the wider UB40 and Birmingham City FC fanbases, and on Wednesday the song topped the chart of the most popular music downloads at Apple's iTunes music store. Garry Cooke, CEO of Birmingham City FC, added:

“Having UB40, Birmingham’s favourite band, play live to celebrate the opening of  St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park will live long in the memory of all that attended. 

“The band has given the Club a gift of a new anthem in ‘Forever True’ and Blues fans have already fallen in love with it. Great band, a great song and a great Club. Birmingham is truly on the rise again.”

The official music video for ‘Forever True’ has clocked up over 100,000 views on YouTube, and the song continues to be streamed and downloaded, just one week on from its release. 

Forthcoming album UB45 celebrates a huge 45-year milestone for the band, honouring more than four decades of touring the world together and recording music shot through with an unbreakable bond, fostered by the band’s long-standing friendships and shared Birmingham roots. 

The 45-year celebrations will continue well into 2024 when UB40 head out on the road for a headline UK arena tour with special guests Soul II Soul. Kicking off in London on 1 November, they will visit Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, and Nottingham, before finishing in Belfast on 23 November. 

Ben Palfreyman, a 39-year-old estate agent and Blues season ticket holder from Rednal was behind an online campaign to push the song to the top spot. He said:

“The nerves heading into the Preston game completely suppressed any excitement for a free post-match concert but after we scored in front of the Tilton, it felt as if something special was about to happen. 

“Once the sun started to shine over St. Andrews as UB40 took to the stage, my Mom and Dad alongside me, I realised that although I may be slightly late to the Brummie music scene, it’s safe to say I’m a converted reggae and UB40 fan!” 

“On Tuesday, I jumped onto one of the Blues fan groups to encourage downloads of the track in an attempt to see it reach No.1 on the iTunes chart. Bluenoses got on board to make it happen! A massive thank you to the club and the band for organising this event.” 

‘Forever True’ is available now across all major streaming platforms. ‘UB45’ will be released on Friday 19 April 2024.

Tickets for UB40’s UK arena tour are available at ub40.global.


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