Reggae stars UB40 declared bankrupt
Former chart toppers UB40, who notched up more than 50 chart hits in Britain, have been declared bankrupt.
Despite their glittering 33-year career, four leading members of the reggae band have been declared penniless.
Saxophone player Brian Travers, drummer Jimmy Brown, trumpeter Terence Oswald (known to fans as Astro), and percussionist Norman Hassan were all declared insolvent.
Tax officers can now seize property belonging to the band to pay off their outstanding debts.
There was a bitter bust-up over band finances which split the group following the collapse of their management company DEP International.
A judge sitting at Birmingham County Court ruled that they are bankrupt.
District Judge Richard Musgrave gave liquidators the green light to chase debts and royalty payments on UB40’s hits including chart topping Red Red Wine at a previous hearing in July.
He warned the reggae outfit they would have to pay costs in the case, believed to be in the region of £57,000.
In the week that they were declared bankrupt, they played a gig to fans at the pub where they first performed together in 1978 – the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
The band – whose name comes from the Unemployment Benefit form 40 from the then Department of Health and Social Security – were honoured with a Performing Rights Society plaque at the event.
Former frontman Ali Campbell, a founding member of UB40, acrimoniously split from the group in 2008 following ongoing wrangles over finances.
Last night, his spokesman said the bankruptcy court case showed Ali was right to quit the band.
‘It is ironic that the very week they celebrate their first gig they have been declared bankrupt, after administration began in 2006, vindicating both Ali and Mickey Virtue’s decision to leave UB40,’ she said.
‘Ali did not personally receive an invitation to the Hare show and, as such, did not turn it down.
‘He most definitely would have liked to have been invited as it is where the journey began and Ali is proud of the fact that UB40’s music has been honoured.’
Despite being declared bankrupt, the remaining band members are understood to be recording a new album at a studio in Redditch, Worcestershire.
A fifth original member of UB40, Robin Campbell, Ali Campbell’s brother, was also involved in the Birmingham County Court case although is not listed as bankrupt.