Thursday, March 5, 2009

From the Vault: UB40 - "Red, Red Wine"

UB40 may have released "Red, Red Wine" in 1983, but my first memory of seeing the video of it on MTV was somewhere around 1989. I was in the 4th grade and I was dating a much older lady of 13, by the name of "Ivy". I liked Ivy a lot...and she really liked "Red, Red Wine" by UB40. I found out this pertinent information during one of our many 45 minute phone conversations that happened nearly every day after 3:45pm. The funny thing now is that this has become the ONLY piece of information I ever remember her telling me. Ivy and I broke up at some point (I don't recall that either) and she eventually ended up working at Sears a few years later, while I went on to date women within my own 12-14 year old range, but I never forgot that Ivy really enjoyed "Red, Red Wine".

The odd thing is that over the course of the last twenty years, I never forgot that Ivy loved that song, but the most interesting thing that I have discovered is that there is a long, untold history of "Red, Red Wine" that goes beyond Ivy and I. The song itself is actually a cover song five times over. Neil Diamond actually wrote and released it first in 1968. One year later, Tony Tribe, a Jamaican singer recorded the song with an injection of heavy reggae influence. That same year, rock/pop singer Charles Mann released his own version of the song and one year later, Vic Dana released yet another version which briefly charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Then in 1972, country singer Roy Drusky enjoyed mild success with his version. Finally in 1983, the song saw its greatest success yet with the UB40 version reaching #1 on the UK charts in August of 1983.

The video itself tells a very simple story: boy works hard, boy goes to bar after a hard day of said work, boy daydreams about his "female love interest", while daydreaming within a daydream...boy recalls how much he dislikes living at home with his uncouth parents and siblings, boy gets pick-pocketed, boy watches his "female love interest" enter the very bar in which he sits, boy becomes excited...only to find that she is not alone, but with another man! The booze (which is actually beer and NOT red, red wine) then takes on a 'Schindler's List' moment and becomes more frequently ingested in order to forget the "female love interest" that has entered the scene with a new "male love interest". By the end of the night, boy is found by his father and his dogs and promptly returned home to sleep off the last three-four hours.

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