Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, October 21st

On this day in 1988: UB40 was enjoying its last day at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with with their version of the Neil Diamond song ‘Red Red Wine’. ‘Red Red Wine’ was written, performed, and recorded by American singer Neil Diamond in 1967. It is included on Diamond’s second studio album, ‘Just For You’. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of a person who finds that drinking red wine is the only way to forget his woes.

UB40 recorded their version in 1983 that went to #1 in the U.K. and was moderately successful in the United States; it was re-released in 1988 and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October of that year.

UB40’s version features a lighter, reggae-style flavor compared to that of Diamond’s somber, acoustic ballad. The UB40 version adds a toasted verse by Astro, opening: “Red Red Wine, you make me feel so fine/You keep me rocking all of the time,” which was edited from the single that reached #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart in August of 1983 and #34 in the United States in March 1984.

In 1988, UB40 performed the song at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert. Soon after in June 1988, Guy Zapoleon, program director of KZZP in the Phoenix, Arizona market believed that the song should be given a second chance and put the full version, including Astro’s “rap”, on the station’s playlist and it soon became the station’s most popular song. With UB40 ready to release Labour Of Love II, Virgin Records promotion man Charlie Minor asked UB40 to hold off on releasing the album so that the label could reissue and promote “Red Red Wine”.

Here’s a look at the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1988:

1 2 RED RED WINE –•– UB40 – 25 (1)
2 1 LOVE BITES –•– Def Leppard – 10 (1)
3 6 GROOVY KIND OF LOVE –•– Phil Collins – 7 (3)
4 4 DON’T BE CRUEL –•– Cheap Trick – 12 (4)
5 9 WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND (PURE ENERGY) –•– Information Society – 14 (5)
6 3 DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY –•– Bobby McFerrin – 12 (1)
7 13 DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT THE NIGHT CAN DO? –Steve Winwood – 9 (7)
8 11 DON’T BE CRUEL –•– Bobby Brown – 13 (8)
9 20 WILD, WILD WEST –•– The Escape Club – 9 (9)
10 8 I HATE MYSELF FOR LOVING YOU – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – 17 (8)

11 5 ONE GOOD WOMAN –•– Peter Cetera – 13 (4)
12 14 FOREVER YOUNG –•– Rod Stewart – 11 (12)
13 15 TRUE LOVE –•– Glenn Frey – 9 (13)
14 18 NEVER TEAR US APART –•– INXS – 10 (14)
15 7 I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU –•– Taylor Dayne – 19 (3)
16 25 KOKOMO –•– The Beach Boys – 7 (16)
17 19 THE LOCO-MOTION –•– Kylie Minoque – 8 (17)
18 22 ONE MOMENT IN TIME –•– Whitney Houston – 6 (18)
19 10 PLEASE DON’T GO GIRL –•– New Kids On The Block – 17 (10)
20 21 CHAINS OF LOVE –•– Erasure – 12 (20)

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