Artist in Focus
Astro, UB40 founding member and vocalist, passes away after short illness
The reggae world is mourning the passing away of Terence Wilson, who went by the stage name “Astro”, the founding member and vocalist of UB40. The British reggae group is known for its hits like Red Red Wine and Can’t Help Falling in Love.
“We are absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Astro has today passed away after a very short illness,” his current band, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, said on Twitter late Saturday. “The world will never be the same without him.”
We are absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Astro has today passed away after a very short illness. The world will never be the same without him.
We ask you to please respect his family’s privacy at this incredibly difficult time. pic.twitter.com/GRDjtApyzy
— ALI CAMPBELL & ASTRO (@UB40) November 6, 2021
Astro had left the band in 2013. In a statement announcing his decision to leave the band, Astro had said the group was like a rudderless ship and cited a serious lack of communication between the band and management, as well as the musical direction the band was going in on.
He reformed with a breakaway group with former members Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue. Campbell was an original member of the UB40 and his brother Duncan took over as lead singer when Ali quit in 2008 over a disagreement about management. Since 2013, Astro and Campbell embarked on multiple UK arena tours, while their world tours included visits to North and South America, Nigeria, South Africa, Dubai and Australia as well as the Red Red Winery Tour of New Zealand.
UB40 formed in 1978 in Birmingham, choosing the name as a reference to a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits at the time. Astro released 18 studio albums, including the 1983 chart-topper Labour of Love, which spawned the Number One single Red Red Wine, and 1985’s Baggariddim, which boasted the Chrissie Hynde collaboration I Got You Babe. His last record with the band was 2013’s Getting Over The Storm.
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In June, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro performed a special online concert of UB40’s 1980 album Signing Off in its entirely.
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