WATCH: UB40 legends Ali, Astro and Mickey on how the band started, then blew up

Members of famous British reggae band UB40 have returned to South African shores.

The trio - Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue - joined CapeTalk's Pippa Hudson in studio while in the Mother City for their 25th anniversary tour.

The self-taught band reflect on how they started out as disenfranchised youth, treating their music like a regular nine-to-five job.

The members of UB40, whose name came from the Unemployment Benefit Form 40, shared the story of how they rose to global recognition.

We didn't come to South Africa until it was one man, one vote.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

Since then we've been here about 56 times, or something like that.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

Cape Town is beautiful and we love it.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

Half the band was in school together. Mickey and I were in the same class in another secondary school..

Astro, member of UB40

After we all left school, most of us were unemployed. There was a greater chance of becoming a band than there was of getting a regular job.

Astro, member of UB40

We taught ourselves to play by listening to records. We learnt parrot-fashion how to play our instruments.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

We were up and running after six months of rehearsals.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

It was on our 12th show that we ever played when Chrissie Hynde invited us on her British tour. She was number one at the time with her band The Pretenders.

Ali Campbell, member of UB40

Reggae was the music that we all loved. It was the music that spoke to us.

Mickey, member of UB40

Reggae wasn't all about love. It was about politics, life and the important stuff.

Mickey, member of UB40

UB40 will be performing at the GrandWest Casino's Grand Arena in Cape Town on Tuesday 15 May. Visit Computicket for more info.

They will perform in Durban on May 17 and Pretoria on May 19.

Take a listen to UB40 in studio:


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