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Red Red Wine: Neil Diamond's Classic Song and UB40 Hit!

Updated on October 27, 2014

Red Red Wine: Drowning Our Sorrows Over Lost Love!

``Red Red Wine, Go to My Head.''

It's the opening lines of a song that has been covered many times, by many artists, because so many of us have reached for a bottle to help us forget a lost love.

Neil Diamond wrote the song and first recorded it in 1967. It became a mainstay of country singers in the 1970s, and a huge No. 1 hit for the British band UB40 in the 1980s. Here are some of the versions that have been recorded.

The intro image is from freefoto.com here.

Neil Diamond's 1967 Version

From His Second Album ''Just For You''

Neil Diamond wrote ``Red Red Wine'' and first recorded it for his second album, ``Just For You,'' in 1967. The song reached No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 after being released as a single in April 1968.

His version is more an acoustic ballad. I like the more upbeat UB40 version better.

Neil Diamond Sings ``Red Red Wine''

UB40's Smash Reggae Hit

With a New Verse by Terence Wilson

UB40 may not have been the first to record the song but it certainly had the biggest success with it, topping the charts in the U.K. in 1983 with its reggae version of the song. A later version released in 1988 reached No. 1 in the United States.

Amazingly, UB40 members are on record as saying they were unfamiliar with Neil Diamond's original version, and didn't even realize he had written the song! Instead, they knew ``Red Red Wine'' because it had been covered in 1969 by Timothy Tribe with a reggae feel.

UB40 member Terence Wilson added a verse to the song that starts ``Red red wine you make me feel so fine, You keep me rocking all of the time,'' and it is this extended version that reached No. 1 in the U.S. in 1988.

UB40's Original Version of ``Red Red Wine''

UB40's Extended Version of ``Red Red Wine''

Have You Ever?

``Red Red Wine'' is so popular because the feeling is so universal -- I think many people have wanted to drown their memories of a lost love and ease their aching heart. I know I have at times.

Have You Ever Turned to Red Wine to Ease The Pain of a Lost Love?

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More Versions of ``Red Red Wine''

Jimmy James, Tony Tribe and Charlie Mann

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds were the first to cover ``Red Red Wine,'' reaching No. 36 on the U.K. charts in 1968. The following year Tony Tribe released a reggae-influenced version, which charted No. 46

The song was provided minor hits for other artists, with Vic Dana's 1970 version reaching No. 74 on the charts and Roy Drusky hitting No. 17 on the country chart in 1972.

Following are videos of these covers, as well as a few more by singers who have sung ``Red Red Wine''

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds Sing ``Red Red Wine''

Tony Tribe's Version of ``Red Red Wine'' - The first reggae-influenced version!

Charlie Mann's Swamp Pop Version of ``Red Red Wine''

Vic Dana Sings ``Red Red Wine''

Roy Drusky's Country Version of ``Red Red Wine''

Johnny Duncan's Version of ``Red Red Wine.''

Dutch Singer Peter Tetteroo's Version of ``Red Red Wine''

UB40 or Neil Diamond? Or Maybe Vic Dana? Tony Tribe?

Which version of ``Red Red Wine'' is Your Favorite?

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We hope you liked this tour of the many versions that artists of sung of ``Red Red Wine'' over the years.

Now it's your turn! Let us know what you think of the song, this article or anything related to ``Red Red Wine.''

Thanks for visiting!

Now It's Your Turn!

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    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      Woo. Didn't know there were so many versions of this song!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I've been a big fan of Neil Diamond for a long time, since my college days. Thanks for the listening opportunity.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 3 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Many years ago I played this song (the Neil Diamond version of course), and sang along, over and over and over again. Ad nauseum. How my neighbours must have suffered!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 3 years ago

      My daughter is a huge Neil Diamond fan (odd for an 11 year old) but she laughs when he sings this... we both prefer UB 40.

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 3 years ago

      I love red red wine :) especially on Friday night

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 3 years ago

      I never knew this was a Neil Diamond song! WOW! Love his version! Thanks for this.

    • stanger66 profile image

      stanger66 4 years ago

      I always remember UB40 when I first starting going into pubs

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Haven't heard most of the other versions, but I'm a Neil Diamond fan anyway!

    • profile image

      Elastara 4 years ago

      I just love this song!

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      Really cool song!

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

      Never knew Neil Diamond was the one who wrote and first recorded this song! I like the version of UB40 better as well.

    • mechanicaleye profile image

      Eda Ċ kulj 4 years ago from Bosnia and Herzegvina

      Didn't know there were so many versions - thanks for showing me! Now I have some good things to add to my playlist. I personally find this song excellent - but this is mostly because my choice of drink is always red wine. ~blessed~

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      A great song, I like several versions. Great lens about this song

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 4 years ago

      I just love this song!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image
      Author

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      @webmavern: The funny thing is that the first version I remember was a country cover -- but not either of the ones here! I haven't been able to find the version of my youth anywhere...Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      I didn't realise so many different versions of this song had been recorded, my favorite is by UB40.