Once upon a time, long before dollar and pound signs replaced their precious little pupils, UB40 used to write their own songs.

I swear to gawd they did! And they weren’t half bad! Here, I’ll prove it.

“If It Happens Again” was from UB40’s fifth (?…there were so many EPs and live dealies in there) full-length album, Geffery Morgan, an album of originals that followed up the band’s biggest success up to that point, the all-covers Labour of Love, which of course featured their remake of “Red, Red Wine”, the fallback song for ’80s radio stations worldwide. Hopes were high since the band had finally broken thru in the States with that tune and “If It Happens” just charted in the Top Ten in the U.K.

Cue flopping noise.

While UB40 continued to release original compositions overseas to success, they seemed to retreat in a nice, safe cover-version haven in the States – for example, their only other Top 40 hits were:

“I Got You Babe” (with Chrissie Hynde)
“Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”
“The Way You Do The Things You Do”
“Can’t Help Falling In Love”

Sad, really. But I’m not faulting the band entirely. I mean, if you can’t make a song like “If It Happens Again” or “Higher Ground” a hit, something’s wrong with your label. I’m curious, though…did anyone ever become a fan of UB40’s original songs after hearing them do a remake first? Has anyone out there ever graduated from “Can’t Help Falling In Love” to “Rat In Mi Kitchen”? Chime in.

“If It Happens Again” did not chart.

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About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

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