Two versions of UB40 and The Beat

Hi there, I’m looking for some expert advice on the best way to disambiguate between acts on MusicBrainz. Specifically there are two versions of the band UB40 both recording music. There are also two versions of the band The Beat (aka The English Beat) touring, with their own official links etc.

The Beat:



Both these bands have two alternative versions still active (and all except one are recording new music):


What is the best way to reflect this in Musicbrainz? The acts are complaining to us (BBC Music) that our links (taken from MusicBrainz data) are incorrect and want them to change, but obviously they are correct depending on which version you want. I understand from [reosarevok] ( that there is a precedent with this act: - but also suggested that perhaps we need three artists - the “original” plus the two new versions - split at the point where both start recording new music?

Hope this is in the right place. Any advice or assistance would be great.

Thanks, Dave


The Ali Campbell UB40 seems to consistently call itself “UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue”, probably because of legal issues. The blurb under “Who We Are” says they left the band, and later formed the new one. Because even the new UB40 acknowledges the old one to be UB40, two new UB40s looks unnecessary. I would add the artist “UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue” and migrate the relevant credits to the new artist.

The Beat seems to be a complete mess, and their websites don’t shed much light on the issue either. Let’s hope someone who is more familiar with the band(s) can chip in on this one.


Thanks for that. I don’t believe that the “new UB40” (featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue) believes that the other current band are the original one - there’s still a legal dispute on-going for the rights to the name as far as I’m aware:

On the Ali Campbell version biog it states: “We would not want anyone to confuse Ali, Astro and Mickey’s band with the band that carried on using the name UB40 after 2008 made up of other founding members and new members they tried to replace us with in their attempt to trade off the reflected glory of the success of the original line-up.”

But probably for the time being just one new artist as you suggest would be the best option - then if one or other party eventually wins rights to the name then it can be split off.

Anyone who can advise about The Beat that’d be great. I believe one band are touring as “The Beat feat. Ranking Roger” and the other as “The English Beat” (headed by founder and vocalist Dave Wakeling). Perhaps if it’s not against any style guides in that case it’d make sense to have the original band, plus the two alternative versions as separate artists as shown in bold?

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I’m not an expert, but as the original Beat, pre-split, was billed in the US as the English Beat, using that name to distinguish the Wakeling band may cause more confusion (at least among us Americans). Wikipedia refers to that group as “The English Beat starring Dave Wakeling” so maybe that’s an option.

The Queensrÿche approach also seems reasonable to me when both touring bands are claiming to “be” the original.

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I wonder if the Queensrÿche approach works when all the above acts have, or have imminent plans to, release new music using the original band name?

Unless anyone thinks it’s a terrible idea, my current thinking is that I’ll do the following:

Create a new artist called “UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue” with all the links and add a release for “A Real Labour of Love” to that artist. Leave “Labour of Love IV” and all the links to the other version of the band associated with the original artist.

The Beat
Create two new artists “The English Beat starring Dave Wakeling” and “The Beat featuring Ranking Roger” and associate their respective links and releases with those new acts.

Any thoughts about what, if any, aliases, I should add to any of those artists, would be appreciated.



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Sounds reasonable to me :slight_smile:

Let me know when you do it and I can approve any changes, since UB40 are writing to us as well by now.


Leaving the version of UB40 that kept the same name (but isn’t necessarily the most like the original, however you want to measure that) with the old artist doesn’t seem quite right to me. But I can’t say I mind too much.


I don’t have much of an opinion about splitting into two or three.


I created UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue since the UB40 management was messing it up already in their own way.


Thanks @reosarevok - I’ve now added the two versions of The Beat / The English Beat:

I haven’t added the release Bounce to the Ranking Roger version since I’m far from expert in that area, but if anyone would like to add it, it’s here:

If someone thinks it’s worth adding the other version of UB40 as a separate artist that makes sense - I suspect it might keep causing issues down the line if one band is classed as the “original” when both have pretty equal claims and similar numbers of original members.

Thanks everyone for your help and advice.

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