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  • Post published:09/05/2021
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MI5 spooks “bugged UB40’s phones out of fear they were planning socialist revolution”

UB40 drummer Jimmy Brown alleges that the security service closely monitored the group during the 1980s

By Nick Reilly

UB40 (Picture: Getty)

The drummer of UB40 has alleged that MI5 spies bugged the reggae band’s phones after apparent fears that they were plotting a socialist revolution.

Jimmy Brown, the longstanding drummer of the Birmingham group, claims that British spooks closely watched the band’s homes and tapped their phones during the 1980s.

  • READ MORE: UB40 drummer Jimmy Brown alleges that the security service closely monitored the group during the 1980s

Brown told The Guardian: “MI5 were tapping our phones, watching our houses. All sorts.”

“We thought, ‘Haven’t they got criminals to catch?’ We were just a bunch of potheads, smoking weed and playing music, talking about solving the world’s problems.”

He continued: “We weren’t planning the revolution, but if the revolution happened, we knew what side we were going to be on.”

Brown’s claims are backed up by those of MI5 whistleblower David Shayler who claimed in 1997 that the British security service spent “years and years” monitoring the band, amid fears they were communists plotting to overthrow the government.

According to The Daily Mail, UB40 singer Ali Campbell previously said that the band intended to sue the service to secure the recordings of alleged phone tapping.

They eventually decided against it, in case the band ended up “with poisoned umbrellas sticking out of our a***holes”.

Campbell also told The Guardian about the band’s staunchly left-wing views yesterday (May 6), and said they were “the real deal” in tackling issues such as apartheid and Thatcherism.

“We were eight people who had been unemployed since school, trying to wade through Thatcher’s quagmire of shit and then sing about it. We were politicised, were disenfranchised, and we had a lot to say,” said Campbell.

Elsewhere, Campbell told NME last year about the time Paris Hilton faced legal action for alleged similarities between her song ‘Stars Are Blind’ and the band’s 1989 song ‘Kingston Town’.

The hotel heiress’ debut single, which was released in 2006, garnered a lot of attention due to it sounding very similar to UB40’s popular cover of Lord Creator’s 1970 song.
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