Red Red Wine 1967

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“Red Red Wine” is a song originally written, performed, and recorded by American singer Neil Diamond in 1967. It is included on Neil’s second studio album, Just for You. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of a person who finds that drinking red wine is the only way to forget his woes.

When Neil left the Bang Records label in 1968, Bang continued to release Neil Diamond singles, often adding newly recorded instruments and background vocals to album tracks from the two Neil Diamond albums that Bang had issued. For the “Red Red Wine” single, Bang added a background choir without Neil’s involvement or permission. Diamond’s version reached number sixty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. A live version was released on Diamond’s The Greatest Hits (1966–92) but the 1968 single version has never been issued on a vinyl album or CD.

The song was covered by several artists shortly after Diamond’s recording was released. In 1968, the Dutch singer Peter Tetteroo (from the band Tee Set) had a hit with a cover of the song in Netherlands. Tony Tribe covered the song in 1969 in a reggae-influenced style. In 1983, UB40 recorded perhaps the best known version of the song, in a lighter reggae style. The UB40 version topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. Diamond later performed a UB40-inspired version of the song while on tour.

UB40 recorded their rendition for their album of cover versions, Labour of Love. According to the band, they were only familiar with Tony Tribe’s version (they apparently didn’t realise that the writer, credited simply as “Diamond”, was in fact Neil Diamond), and their version featured a lighter, reggae-style flavor compared to Diamond’s somber, acoustic ballad. The UB40 version adds a toasted verse by UB40 member Astro, opening: “Red Red Wine, you make me feel so fine/You keep me rocking all of the time”, which was edited from the single that reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in August 1983 and number 34 in the United States in March 1984 but not from the version that reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 a few months after being performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert in 1988. In September 2014, the Official Charts Company announced that sales in the UK had reached one million.

Songwriter Neil Diamond has stated that it is one of his favorite covers of his songs. Diamond frequently performs the song live using the UB40 reggae arrangement as opposed to the original version.

Other cover songs[edit]
Swedish group Tom & Mick & Maniacs released their version of the song in 1967. This appears to be the first recorded version of the song.

Jimmy James and The Vagabonds released a cover version the same year as Diamond’s version (1968), for the UK market. It charted at number thirty-six.

In 1968, singer Peter Tetteroo, of Dutch beat group Tee Set, released a cover version that reached number six on the Dutch top-40 chart.

Tony Tribe, a Jamaican singer, recorded a reggae-influenced version in 1969 which reached number forty-six on the UK Singles Chart,[14] this became Trojan Records first chart hit[15] and has been included in numerous reggae compilations since. The song was also covered in 1969 by singer Charles Mann.

In 1970, a remake by Vic Dana became a minor Billboard Hot 100 hit, peaking at number 72 and reached number 30 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In early 1972, singer Roy Drusky enjoyed a top 20 hit with his version, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number 16 on the Canada Country chart.

The Hobos included the song on their 2004 double studio album, Radio Jah Jah. “Red Red Wine” was also performed by Peter Tetteroo, former singer of Tee Set, a Dutch band, in 1968. The song has also been performed by Cas Haley along with UB40 on the last episode of the season two show America’s Got Talent.

In 2001, singer Elan Atias released a dancehall version on the Buy Out Riddim instrumental, best known performed by Sean Paul, with the song entitled, “Like Glue”. This was the first time the song was performed on a totally different instrumental tracking. The lyrics were also re-written. In 2008, Sizzla also released a dancehall single (“No Time To Gaze”) based on the UB40 version.

In August 2012, Ballyhoo!’s lead singer was requested to perform an acoustic version based on the UB40 version, and posted it on SoundCloud.

In March 2017, Andrew Bogut posted the UB40 version on his Twitter to signify he was joining the Cleveland Cavaliers – the team’s colours include the darkish red “wine”.