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December 11, 2018

What to know about UB40 — the band at the center of Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged 1985 bar fight

October 4, 2018
Ali Campbell, seen here performing with UB40 in 1985. (Colin McConnell / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

It’s been over a decade since UB40’s original frontman Ali Campbell left the band — yet he and his former reggae-pop group are back squarely at the center of the news cycle this week.

That’s because Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly got into a heated bar brawl following a UB40 concert in New Haven, Conn. in 1985 after his group stared at another patron in an attempt to decipher whether it was Campbell.




The apparent incident was reported Monday by The New York Times, which obtained a police report contending Kavanaugh — then a junior at Yale — had thrown ice at the other man, and that his friend, former NBA player Chris Dudley, had hurled a glass that hit the man’s ear.

Kavanaugh’s former classmate Chad Ludington, meanwhile, was the one who stated the altercation took place because Kavanaugh’s crew was looking at the other man involved, wondering if it was Campbell.

Brett Kavanaugh is accused of being involved in a bar fight in 1985,
Brett Kavanaugh is accused of being involved in a bar fight in 1985, (Getty Images)

For the uninformed, the English hit-makers UB40 launched in 1978 and enjoyed considerable success both in Europe and internationally with a string of popular songs in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Their biggest hit — the upbeat, base-heavy “Red Red Wine” — is a more-popular version of a song originally recorded by Neil Diamond. The smooth reggae track became the first No. 1 hit in America for UB40, while their second song to reach that billing, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” came out three years later.

UB40 enjoyed similar success with another cover — a reggae-fied version of the Sonny Bono hit “I Got You Babe” — that rose to the top of the British charts and also climbed up to the 28th spot on Billboard after its release in 1985.

The group fell on tough times in the years after its heyday, however, as the band was declared bankrupt in 2011, despite having sold over 70 million records at the time.

UB40, which has released 19 albums over the years, is still making music today, even though several founding members — including lead singer Campbell, who left in 2008 — are no longer with the band. Their latest record, “A Real Labour of Love,” came out in March.

Although Campbell has not commented on the Kavanaugh story, his brother Robin Campbell — a co-founding member and guitarist for UB40 — tried to distance the group from the situation.

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“Obviously, there must have been an assault because the police were called and a report was filed, but this is a case of mistaken identity and has nothing to do with UB40,” Campbell said in a statement obtained by the Daily News.

Kavanaugh is accused of sexual misconduct by three different women, who each contend alcohol was involved. Kavanaugh has denied the accusations.

With Kate Feldman




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