Terence Wilson, the former member of Britain’s reggae-pop staples UB40 who was widely known as Astro, died yesterday (6) after a short illness. He was 64 years old.
The news only comes three months after death 62-year-old of UB40 co-founder, saxophonist and songwriter Brian Travers. A statement from the current version of the band that Astro played in with Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue read: “We are absolutely devastated and utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Astro passed away today after a very short illness.
“The world will never be the same without him. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family during this incredibly difficult time. »
Astro joined the charts regulars in 1979, soon after they formed in Birmingham, England, and remained until 2013, when he and his bandmates Campbell (who left in 2008) and Virtue formed an escaped version of the group. Worldwide sales of UB40 are estimated at 70 million, including two singles which topped the UK and US charts in Neil Diamondit is “Very red wine” and the evergreen romantic “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.
The band added a third UK bestseller when they teamed up with The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde to remake Sonny & Dear“I got you baby.” These were among UB40’s 17 UK Top 10 hits and 39 Top 40 entries. They also had two No. 1 albums in their home country, with 1983 labor of love and 1993 promises and lies.
Wilson, born in 1957, became a key part of the UB40 sound as a rapper and toaster, first on their politically charged indie-reggae sound and then in their transition to pop mainstays.
In an interview with reggaeville.com in 2014, Astro opened up about his enduring passion for reggae, saying that UB40 was “on a mission over thirty years ago to try and help popularize reggae music. And all these years later, we’re still on that same mission. Because personally, we don’t think reggae gets played enough on mainstream radio.
“There are a lot of specialty stations, but they just preach to converts,” he continued. “What we need to reach are people who have never listened to reggae before but who might be interested. They just need someone to show them the way. This is where we are.