Signing off

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The story goes, that the founding fathers of UB40 met each other in the queue for their unemployment benefit. So the name is from the form they had to fill in to get the money. The album is supposed to signify an end to all that: the members were signing off from the service. They went into the music business, and because an instant success.

No idea if this is true, but it did lead to an iconic album cover, printed as if it really were from number 40 for the UB. Maybe because not all songs fitted on the album, it comes with three songs on a 45 rpm 12 inch.

I never realised this, but certainly at the start, UB40 was quite a protest band. So Madame Medusa is actually a portrait of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as a snake covered witch. Tyler is about an American teenager convicted (possibly unjustly) by an all white jury to the murder of a thirteen year old white boy. Food for thought is about hunger in Africa, years before Band aid.

Signing off was recorded in the small “bed-stead” of producer Bob Lamb, called Home of the hits on the record sleeve. Though the house was small, It boasted a huge garden, where somehow all people connected to the band were hanging out. sometimes they had to shout over the noise, because of the recording taking place. I did not notice it, but it is said that bird song can be heard on the record itself.

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