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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 December, 2003, 06:21 GMT
UB40 sign on with rugby anthem
UB40 performing with Chrissie Hynde
UB40 on Top of the Pops with Chrissie Hynde in 1988
When the England rugby team stepped off the plane from Australia last week they were greeted by thousands of fans and the familiar sound of the England rugby anthem.

Swing Low (Sweet Chariot) has been covered by the reggae band UB40.

There are even suggestions that the song could be in with a 20 to 1 chance of becoming Christmas number one.

The band originally recorded their version of the song to support the English team before the Rugby World Cup.

The band have got a new album out - it's called Home-grown - and they're also currently touring which will take them to the end of the year.

They've already covered much of the UK, and have one more foreign date in Brussels.

  • UB40's full list of tour dates can be found on the band's official website

    Fans of the UB40 will be pleased to hear that their version of Swing Low has made it on to the album which came out in October.

    The single version of the track has been recorded with the musical collective United Colours of Sound.

    Few would have thought that a song which had its roots in African slavery and oppression, will undoubtedly come to represent such a significant victory for England.

    So the single will be in big demand this Christmas, a special edit is being put together complete with match commentary, and up to now, the record shops haven't been able to keep up with demand.

    Guitarist and vocalist Robin Campbell says: "We're not really that into rugby, actually, we're football fans, but the England Team has never been better so this is probably the best time to do it,"

    He says, laughing. "Why did we do it? They asked us to do it and we said 'yeah'."


    UB40 started out in 1978 and the 8 members that formed the band then, are still together.

    In the quarter of a century that has passed, the band has released 22 albums selling more than 50 million copies worldwide.

    The Birmingham based reggae band are best known for tracks like 'Red Red Wine', 'Rat in Mi Kitchen', and 'I Got You Babe'.

    They're the last survivor of the ska revival, many of their lyrics contain an element of social comment - that didn't stand in the way of them being awarded an Ivor Novello award for international achievement back in the summer.

    How do brothers Ali and Robin keep it together? "We have good arguments but we're both pulling in the one general direction. Ali's a dub man and I'm a rock steady man. But we get on with each other really well. It's cool."

  • BBC Breakfast


    UB40's concert for Sri Lanka
    13 Dec 02  |  South Asia
    UB40 go home for birthday concert
    13 Sep 01  |  Entertainment

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