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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 Diamond'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.

"Red Red Wine"
Red Red Wine label.jpg
Single by Neil Diamond
from the album Just for You
B-side"Red Rubber Ball"
Released1967 (1967)
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond singles chronology
"New Orleans"
"Red Red Wine"
"Brooklyn Roads"

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 Diamond'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 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.

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1968) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 62

UB40 versionEdit

"Red Red Wine"
Single by UB40
from the album Labour of Love
  • 8 August 1983 (1983-08-08)
  • 1988–2000 (re-releases)
GenreReggae fusion
Length5:20 (album/12" version)
3:01 (shortened version)
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
UB40 singles chronology
"I've Got Mine"
"Red Red Wine"
"Please Don't Make Me Cry"

UB40 recorded their rendition for their album of cover versions, Labour of Love. According to UB40 member Astro, the group's former vocalist and trumpet player, they were only familiar with Tony Tribe's version and did not realise that the writer was in fact Neil Diamond. Astro told the Financial Times, "Even when we saw the writing credit which said 'N Diamond,' we thought it was a Jamaican artist called Negus Diamond."[1]

UB40's version features a lighter, reggae-style flavor compared to Diamond's somber, acoustic ballad. The UB40 version adds a toasted verse by 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.[2]

Neil Diamond has stated that it is one of his favorite covers of his songs.[3] He frequently performs the song live using the UB40 reggae arrangement, as opposed to the original version.


Chart (1983–2001) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 2
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 5
Canada (RPM)[6] 1
Denmark (Hitlisten)[7] 2
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 12
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[11] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 14
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[13] 8
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[17] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Platinum 1,245,324[18]
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Other cover songsEdit

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,[21] this became Trojan Records first chart hit[22] and has been included in numerous reggae compilations since. The song was also covered in 1969 by singer Charles Mann.

In 1969, a Jamaican rocksteady group called the Painted Garden released a version on the US Steady label. The group's lead singer is probably American reggae singer Eddie Lovette.[23]

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.

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.


  1. ^ Lisi, Brian. "The untold story behind UB40's hit reggae song 'Red Red Wine' - NY Daily News".
  2. ^ Moss, Liv (22 September 2014). "Now That's What I Call A Million tracklisting revealed!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Singer/songwriter Neil Diamond here, AMA!". Reddit. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 316. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  5. ^ " – UB40 – Red Red Wine" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  6. ^ "RPM Weekly February 18, 1984".
  7. ^
  8. ^ " – UB40 Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  9. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 39, 1983". Archived from the original on 14 September 2008.
  10. ^ " – UB40 – Red Red Wine". Top 40 Singles.
  11. ^ " – UB40 – Red Red Wine". VG-lista.
  12. ^ " – UB40 – Red Red Wine". Singles Top 100.
  13. ^ " – UB40 – Red Red Wine". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "UB40 Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Canadian single certifications – UB40". Music Canada.
  17. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart – 20 November 1983". Recorded Music NZ.
  18. ^ Copsey, Rob (19 September 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "British single certifications – UB40". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type UB40 in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – UB40". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  21. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 565. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  22. ^ "History - Trojan Records".
  23. ^ YouTube - The Painted Garden - Red Red Wine (Neil Diamond Cover)