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Astro (1957–2021), founding member of UB40

by Linnea Crowther

Astro was a founding member of the British reggae band UB40, known for singles including “Red Red Wine.”

Musical career

Born Terence Wilson, Astro got his nickname in childhood from a pair of Dr. Martens Astronaut boots he often wore. He co-founded UB40 in 1978, playing percussion as well as singing. His lead vocals can be heard on the song “Rat in Mi Kitchen,” a 1987 U.K. hit that Astro wrote after band member Ali Campbell complained of having a rat in his kitchen. He also performed the rap in 1983’s “Red Red Wine,” a No. 1 hit in the U.K. that was also popular in the U.S. Astro left UB40 in 2013 after disputes between the band and management, and in 2014, he joined Campbell and other band members to reform under the name UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro.

Notable quote

“There is no job on this planet that gives you the job satisfaction that I get. I live to be on stage. I have got the attention span of an ant when we are in the studio; I really do hate being in the studio. I know that it is a necessary evil but I crave a reaction straight away.” —from a 2016 interview for UK Music Reviews

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Tributes to Astro

Full obituary: BBC

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