Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This news has to be a first for the music industry – have you ever heard of a band declaring bankruptcy? Believe it or not, according to news surfacing Monday afternoon, UB40 (the UK-based reggae band) has declared bankruptcy, and ready for liquidation. The order came from a Birmingham County Court judge, who is now allowing creditors and tax authorities to chase assets and royalty streams. "Tax officers can now seize property belonging to the band to pay off their outstanding debts," the UK-based Mail Online reported. Original band members - saxophonist Brian Travers, drummer Jimmy Brown, percussionist Norman Hassan and trumpeter Terence "Astro" Oswald were all declared insolvent, while earlier members departed over financial disputes and accusations. That includes lead singer Ali Campbell, who acrimoniously split from the band in 2008 citing "management difficulties". In an open letter to fans on the band's website, he said he was "deeply unhappy with administrative practices", adding he had "an ongoing investigation into the handling of my business affairs in relation to UB40". A spokeswoman for former frontman Ali Campbell told the Daily Telegraph the bankruptcy court case showed he was right to quit the band. Campbell’s departure was the result of a string of alleged financial improprieties by management group Dep International Ltd. Dep had been under investigation by tax authorities, and their role in this bankruptcy seems critical. A fifth original member of the group - Robin Campbell, the brother of Ali - was also involved in the Birmingham County Court case, although is not listed as bankrupt. Overall, the group has sold 70 million albums over their 33-year career and probably enjoys a healthy royalty stream. They notched up more than 50 chart hits including Red Red Wine, I Got You Babe and Kingston Town. And, the timing couldn't be worse: the group just finished a celebratory gig at Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham, the site of their first show ever.

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