UB40 founding members reform to record a new album

Astro and Ali Campbell Vocalists Astro (left) and Ali Campbell performed together at the 02 arena in London in December

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The three original members of the Birmingham reggae band, UB40, have announced they are reforming.

Vocalists Ali Campbell and Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue, who together started the act in 1978, said on their website they were recording new songs.

Campbell and Virtue left the band in 2008 and Astro quit in November 2013.

UB40, named after the then government's unemployment benefit form, sold more than 70 million records and had three UK number one hits.

The band, who have signed to Cooking Vinyl Records, will also headline the Bearded Theory Festival, at Catton Hall in Derbyshire, in May.

The original line-up played together for about 30 years before Ali Campbell left in January 2008, claiming management disputes.

Mickey Virtue departed shortly afterwards citing the same issues.

Declared bankrupt

The remaining six members continued to tour and record with Ali Campbell's brother, Duncan, on vocals.

Four members of the band were declared bankrupt in October 2011 after the failure of the band's now defunct record label DEP International.

UB40 The original line-up, which started in 1978, performed together for about 30 years before vocalist Ali Campbell left

After more than four years apart, Astro joined Campbell and Mickey Virtue to play a concert at the O2 Arena in London in December, which prompted the reunion.

After making their first public performance in February 1979 at the Hare and Hounds pub in Kings Heath, Birmingham, UB40 went on to have 34 top 40 singles and release 18 albums.

First single, Food For Thought, reached number four in the UK charts in March 1980 and they had three UK number one singles in Red, Red Wine, I Got You Babe, and Can't Help Falling In Love.

UB40 also had two UK number one albums - Labour of Love and Promises and Lies.

The band's greatest hits album, The Best Of UB40 - Volume One, released in November 1987, stayed in the UK charts for 123 weeks.

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