Campbell was born in Birmingham. He is the brother of former bandmate Robin Campbell and current UB40 frontman Duncan Campbell, and is a son of the late Scottish folk singer, Ian Campbell. He supports Birmingham City.
Departure from UB40
In October 2007, Campbell released a solo album entitled Running Free
. The album entered the UK charts at number 9 and went gold. This was the first top ten entry for Campbell for a new studio album since UB40s Labour of Love 3
album, which was released 10 years prior to Running Free
.On 24 January 2008, it was reported that Campbell was to quit the group after almost 30 years. Campbell, who was a founding member of UB40 - songwriter and lead vocalist for the band - sang on most of the best known hits such as "Red, Red Wine", finally quit the band in 2008. The band's last gigs together were in February 2008 in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.Campbell then issued a statement on his website and through his lawyers stating that for many years he had been unhappy with the business practices and business managers of UB40 and launched an investigation into the financial handling of the business. This was the reason for his departure.A few months later, Michael Virtue the keyboard player also left UB40, citing the same reasons as Campbell, and joined Campbell's legal investigation. Virtue subsequently joined Campbell's new band, the Dep band.
Having formed a new band, Campbell performed a sell out concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on 3 April 2008. For the remainder of 2008, Campbell toured internationally with the Dep Band to promote the album. Campbell released his third solo album, Flying High
, in 2009 which entered the UK charts at number 13. It was another top 15 hit for Campbell which brought some of the best critical reviews of his career to date.On 18 October 2010 Ali released his fourth solo album 'Great British Songs' - a collection of iconic British pop and rock hits from the Sixties and Seventies newly reinterpreted in Campbell's reggae style. Once again the album entered the UK charts at number 15 and gave Campbell his third top 15 charting album in as many years. Campbell's label Jacaranda Music was number one on the UK independent chart in October 2010 and 'Great British Songs' also entered the iTunes reggae album chart at number one.In 2012, Campbell was announced as one of the three judges on the judging panel of the TV show, New Zealand's Got Talent, along with Jason Kerrison and Rachel Hunter. In 2013, Campbell was replaced for the third series by American choreographer Cris Judd.
Campbell as part of UB40 has sold over 70 million records, notched up four number No. 1 singles around the world and over 40 Top 40 UK singles. See UB40 discography.His solo albums Big Love
and Running Free
were both top ten in the UK charts and Flying High
and "Great British Songs" reached the top fifteen in the UK charts.
Whilst with UB40 Campbell received an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement. At the 2007 Grammy Awards, UB40 were nominated for best reggae album of 2006. Mauritius Government award to Ali Campbell for his services to Music and Charity - December 2010