UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro have released ‘Lean On Me’ to raise money for the NHS Charities Together Urgent Covid-19 Appeal.
The bandmates decided to record a cover of the classic Bill Withers song to show their “appreciation” to the UK’s doctors and nurses who are fighting the deadly coronavirus.
Ali explained: “Astro and I have really felt it was the track that encapsulated everything that’s going on at the moment, we’re all needing to lean on our NHS heroes.
“We wanted to make our contribution to this great cause; covering this song was the perfect way to show our appreciation.”
Ali, 61, admits he will always be indebted to the NHS (National Health Service) after he nearly lost his vision in his left eye when he was attacked at the age of 17 but a doctor was able to save 20 per cent of his sight which otherwise would have been lost. It was the financial compensation that Ali received after this attack enabled him to start UB40 in 1979.
Astro, too, has nothing but praise for the NHS, especially after they cared so well for his mother during her battle with cancer.
He said: “I can’t praise our wonderful NHS enough. What made me realise what a different breed our doctors and nurses truly are was, as busy as they were, they’d still somehow find the time to have a chat with my mum, genuinely making her feel like she wasn’t there on her own and forgotten about.
“I know they didn’t have to, but they did, they’d go that extra mile. The same goes for care workers that helped her to convalesce, all that makes them so special! You can teach people to do almost anything, but you can’t teach people to care! Our NHS, they care.”
The single comes two years after the duo celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS as part of the NHS Voice in 2018.
They joined Nile Rogers, Gabrielle, Guy Garvey, Seal and many more to record ‘With A Little Help from My Friends’ to support the doctors and nurses of the UK’s health services.
Ali formed the new version of UB40 in 2014, six years after he quit the original version of the reggae group following a disagreement with his sibling Robin Campbell and his other bandmates over the practices of their management which he considered to be against their socialist ideals.