Artist News Obituaries

UB40 saxophonist Brian Travers dies

By | Published on Tuesday 24 August 2021


Brian Travers – a founder member of and saxophone player with UB40 – has died aged 62.

In a statement, the band said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our comrade, brother, founding UB40 member and musical legend, Brian David Travers. Brian passed away yesterday evening with his family by his side, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with Brian’s wife Lesley, his daughter Lisa and son Jamie. We are all devastated by this news and ask that you respect the family’s need for privacy at this time”.

Travers was one of a number of Birmingham-based friends who came together to form UB40 in the late 1970s. By the time the band released their first album in 1980, UB40 had a line-up of eight, including Travers on saxophone. That line-up then stayed in place for the next thirty years, including on the band’s biggest album releases in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, by the late 2000s tensions had built within the band, with frontman Ali Campbell departing in 2008, soon followed by keyboard player Mickey Virtue and, five years later, vocalist and percussionist Astro. All three of those former members then started performing together, resulting in further tensions over their use of the UB40 name.

The main UB40, including Travers, continued to perform and record following the departure of Campbell and Virtue in 2008, with Campbell’s brother Duncan taking over on vocals. Duncan Campbell then announced he was standing down in June this year due to ill-health, with Kioko’s Matt Doyle being confirmed as a replacement.