Essential ABC and UB40 3CD sets

Great value packages out this week

UMC continue with their popular ‘Essential’ series, with two new triple-CD sets featuring ABC and UB40 respectively.

These offer insane value, and actually, not bad packaging, coming in six-panel card wallets. The ABC set covers the years between 1981 and 1990 and includes all ten of the band’s top 40 singles, including ‘Poison Arrow’, ‘The Look of Love’ and ‘When Smokey Sings’. CD 2 and CD 3 also offer some remixes to keep things interesting.

The UB40 package spans an even longer period (1980-2003) and features more hits. In fact, the band scored 53 top 75 singles during this time and a whacking 49 of them are on Essential UB40, including their three number ones, ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘I Got You Babe’ (with Chrissie Hynde) and ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You’. There’s so many hits this collection doesn’t really allow room for 12-inch versions like the ABC offering, but no matter, at £5.99 a pop these are crazily good value and perfect for the car.

Essential ABC and Essential UB40 are released this Friday, on 9 October 2020.

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Essential ABC - 3CD set


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Essential UB40 - 3CD set


Essential ABC

CD 1

1 Poison Arrow ABC
2 Tears Are Not Enough ABC
3 Overture ABC
4 That Was Then But This Is Now ABC
5 Many Happy Returns ABC
6 Date Stamp ABC
7 Show Me ABC
8 Theme from ‘Mantrap’ ABC
9 The Night You Murdered Love ABC
10 Love’s a Dangerous Language ABC
11 The Power of Persuasion ABC
12 Hey Citizen! ABC
13 How to Be a Millionaire ABC
14 Tower of London ABC
15 15 Storey Halo ABC

CD 2

1 The Look of Love (Pt. 1) ABC
2 All of My Heart ABC
3 S.O.S. ABC
4 Be Near Me ABC
5 Vanity Kills ABC
6 Ocean Blue (Single Mix) ABC
7 Poison Arrow (Jazz Remix) ABC
8 Bad Blood ABC
9 Rage and Then Regret ABC
10 When Smokey Sings (The Miami Mix) ABC
11 The Night You Murdered Love (The Whole Story) ABC
12 King Without a Crown (Monarchy Mix) ABC
13 Vanity Kills (U.S.A. Remix) ABC
14 How to Be a Millionaire (Bond Street Remix) ABC

CD 3

1 When Smokey Sings ABC
2 One Better World ABC
3 The Real Thing ABC
4 I’m in Love With You ABC
5 North ABC
6 Paper Thin ABC
7 King Without a Crown ABC
8 Tears Are Not Enough (12″ Remix) ABC
9 Alphabet Soup (12″ Remix) ABC
10 The Look of Love (USA Remix) ABC

Essential UB40

CD 1

1 Red Red Wine UB40
2 Food for Thought UB40
3 One in Ten UB40
4 Kingston Town UB40
5 Breakfast in Bed (With Chrissie Hynde) UB40
6 Dream a Lie UB40
7 Sing Our Own Song UB40
8 If It Happens Again UB40
9 Please Don’t Make Me Cry UB40
10 Maybe Tomorrow UB40
11 Swing Low (With United Colours of Sound) UB40
12 Where Did I Go Wrong UB40
13 Tell Me Is It True? (Fugees Remix) UB40
14 Holly Holy UB40
15 Tyler UB40
16 The Train Is Coming UB40
17 The Way You Do the Things You Do UB40
18 Many Rivers to Cross UB40

CD 2

1 (I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You UB40
2 Don’t Break My Heart UB40
3 My Way of Thinking UB40
4 I Think It’s Going to Rain Today UB40
5 The Earth Dies Screaming UB40
6 Don’t Let It Pass You By UB40
7 Come Back Darling UB40
8 Kiss and Say Goodbye UB40
9 So Here I Am UB40
10 C’est La Vie UB40
11 Riddle Me UB40
12 Reggae Music UB40
13 Wear You to the Ball UB40
14 Watchdogs UB40
15 I Would Do for You UB40
16 Promises and Lies (Live in the UK, 1993) UB40

CD 3

1 I Got You Babe (With Chrissie Hynde) UB40
2 King UB40
3 Cherry Oh Baby UB40
4 Homely Girl UB40
5 Higher Ground UB40
6 Rat in Mi Kitchen UB40
7 Don’t Slow Down UB40
8 Until My Dying Day UB40
9 Bring Me Your Cup UB40
10 All I Want to Do UB40
11 Always There UB40
12 Here I Am (Come and Take Me) UB40
13 Dance With the Devil UB40
14 I Won’t Close My Eyes (Remix) UB40
15 I’ve Got Mine UB40
16 Love Is All Is Alright (Remix) UB40
17 Impossible Love UB40
18 Since I Met You Lady (With Lady Saw) UB40


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Brian Pietrewicz

Does anyone know if the UB40 Essentials has been remastered?


I know Status Quo aren’t considered cool (they never have been) but they also have an “Essential” compilation out which has all 42 of their Vertigo singles from 1972-1994 plus 15 assorted B sides (some quite obscure). It’s widely available in supermarkets for a fiver which seems a pretty good deal to me.


It would be amazing to get Mantrap on DVD


I’m sure I read somewhere that the artists don’t get any royalties for these types of compilations – but I don’t know if that’s correct. But I tend to avoid them just in case.

Joe Atari

the issue with these types of compilation isnt the price obviously, or even the generic “essential’ title, which screams budget, or even the lack of all extended versions, its mostly the tracklisting order. i bought the Big Country one for a fiver, very complete collection, but just not sequenced in chronological order, and that’s annoying. traditionally “greatest hits” would put the biggest hits at the start even if they’d occurred mid career, but i think these don’t need to. a sequential tracklisting makes so much more sense, especially as most artists featured on these have the majority of their biggest hits early on. Human League being a good example. i’d do it by era, so for ABC it’d be 1982-1984 cd one 1985-1989 cd2 and 1990 onwards cd3 with space at the end of each disc for any notable extended mixes. with UB40 it just makes no sense having latter hits shoved up front. they could easily have kept it sequential and still had 1990s hits on cd3. just a small complaint. the 3cd is good value and respectfully packaged.


Prince Sign of the Times Cd super deluxe Edition now down to £121.33 on Amazon


Still waiting for the essentialbowie 3cd set but i’ve heard its pot luck whether you get 1,2 or 3cds in it, and the artwork is available seperately, but sold out before going on sale….


It is on eBay. £600 is the highest bid, get in there quick.


It is extremely annoying that they keep putting When Smokey Sings (The Miami Mix) instead of the Detroit Mix on these compilations. It has only appeared on CD twice first on a Japanese import then on So80s 6 where it’s brickwalled to hell.

Larry Davis

Ordered both…have the Human League one, which is great, but no liner notes or info to tell you the album sources, BUT after doing research, I saw some of the tracks are rare B-sides, and it’s a nice companion piece to the boxset…the UB40 will easily replace my US hits disc and that ABC looks good as well…will look into that Who collection…these go beyond the supermarket racks easily…


The sound quality on the ESSENTIAL Human League was a mixed bag. Some tracks low-volume, and some louder. It sounded as if each track were coming from different sources, in a bad way.

I’m not sure I am as enthusiastic about these. But I will probably get them.
Where is the BE NEAR ME (Munich Disco Mix)? I noticed that was missing straight away.


Be Near Me (Munich Disco Mix) is available on a lot of other ABC compilations and Zillionaire, so it is easy to pick up.


Nothing new that would not be available on the multiple previous ABC compilations: furthermore, nothing from their 1991 masterpiece Abracadabra…so even at a low price, not worth it.


I totally agree


love these because it’s convenient to get all the essential tracks in one place. as a side note – probably not gonna happen before i croak – i wish to see such a collection for Eurythmics. i’ve already given up hope on them ever doing proper deluxe editions of their albums.

Gary Hunter

Got the ABC set ordered, fantastic collection for the price, material from several of their albums too, highly recommend it.

Tim Joseph

Are the two remixes at the end of the UB40 disc single versions? Looking forward to this, as there are a lot of tracks to add to my Best Of 1 & 2 CDs, which are all I have.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of griping about The Who CD on another forum. Seems that many people don’t get the point of these CDs at all …

David Roest

Are the UB40 tracks the original single mixes or just the regular album tracks. As with ABC a lot of UB40 single mixes remained unreleased on CD. Especially the early ones (’80-’87).

Noel O Regan

I will probably get these – I would love to see more of this type of compilations from bands like nick hayward, Thompson Twins, the cars, nik kershaw, etc

They offer good value.


I have to say the UB40 collection is pretty comprehensive…love that I’ve Got Mine is included, arguably my favourite UB40 song.

What would have made this generous 3cd collection perfect is if they included “Come Out To Play” & their collaboration with Robert Palmer, “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” as well as the 808State collaboration “One In Ten (Remix)” – all three were big hits on US College Radio & modern rock stations like KROQ (Los Angeles), 91X (San Diego) & WLIR (NY).

Despite having several collections I’ll be buying this one. Cheers for sharing!


Has the Single Mix of “How to be a Millionaire” ever been released on CD ? Or is it on this compilation?


These and the Gold 3 discers are pretty good value for casual fans, as already stated. I only have one ABC album, but do have a lot of the remixes included here on 12″ singles, so this is a no brainer for me. Hopefully it’ll end up in the supermarket so I’m not forced to use the tax dodgers. I got the Thin Lizzy one whilst food shopping the other week and spotted an Eath, Wind and Fire one that appealed, but I put it back in the end. The UB40 isn’t so interesting without any 12″ mixes included.

I really want to get the Heatwave Gold collection but that’ll have to be an Amazon purchase…


I have a question about the UB40 CD. Is it the first time that “I’ve Got Mine” is released on CD ?


No…its been isswd a few times now, most recently on the deluxe edition of Labour Of Love.

Its also on 1980-1983 and Greatest Hits 1&2: The Dutch Collection.



Thanks for your reply & answer. I thought that this was the first time that “I’ve Got Mine” was released on CD.


It looks like it. They have also included Love Is All Alright and I Won’t Close My Eyes as single remixes which have never appeared on any singles compliation. So kudos to the compiler for adding them in!


@ RobC: neither of those are the 7″ edit. Won’t find out if this is an exclusive until Friday…


I believe the two remixes are the versions taken from the 1982 album ‘UB44’ rather than the 12” single versions.

David Roest

It was released on CD for the Best Of UB40 Volume 1 and 2 (The Dutch Collection).

Steve W

I’m a big fan of ABC (ie Martin Fry latterly) so the greatest hits cd is of little interest but the remixes & b-sides is very good and I’m not sure I’ve got all on cd so this is a no-brainer – great price!


I’ve only brought one of these essentials so far. The BIG COUNTRY one. It compliments my 5 CLASSIC albums set. I hope they do an Essential CRANBERRIES in the future. I might well buy that one.

Gareth Jones

These budget collections usually generate several negative comments from diehard fans, but of course these are not aimed at diehard fans! I picked up the 3-CD Human League one in a supermarket for £5 and I think it’s brilliant. I’m not a diehard HL fan, and in fact I never owned anything by them until I took the plunge on their over-priced boxset a couple of years ago which goes for around £80, although I got it for £40 when HMV had a half-price boxsets offer on. And I have to say, I much prefer the tracks on the budget £5 comp than the material on the boxset CDs!

I’m not a UB40 fan, but I’ll deffo take a punt on the ABC one, based on how pleased I was with the Human League collection.


Disappointed to UB40…..
Still waiting for expanded 80ˋs albums with the fantastic 12“ !!!


80’s and 90’s 12″ versions, Yes! Still waiting too :)


Well said. A 12″ compilation is needed.

Philip John Birtwistle

I have got quite a few of these for a fiver from my local Sainsburys. They fill a gap in my collection without causing “financial fallout” with the missus. ABC might be coming my way!

John MC cann

Well you better get another 99p together my friend, the price has shot up,! The estates of ABC and UB40 have no respect for their fans!,,,,all the best,disgusted,,, Glasgow

Philip John Birtwistle

As of last week the “catalogue” was still £5 in Sainsburys, so will remain optimistic!


ABC and IB40 are £5 in the big T.


I think people on here miss the point. These are supermarket 3cd for £6 fodder. Great for the casual fan and not targeted at a collector looking for an obscure “bonus beats” remix.

Dan Glaser

Apparently, The Essential WHO coming mid-October too, with quite an interesting track listing!


Thanks for the heads-up on the Essential Who collection, Dan – that looks great. 49 tracks for around £5/£6 – two discs of hits & album cuts and disc three is all live. Also a good partner for the (now similarly priced) Who Hits 50 set as I only counted about 17 duplicate titles, some of which may be different edits.

** Also of note – Amazon UK has a FULL track listing with sources for the live tracks! :)


Still waiting for the Blank & Jones 2CD set for a 12 inch collection of ABC… is that ever going to happen ?!

Neil Parr

Great stuff, didn’t order the ABC one as it’s similar if not nearly identical to The Ultimate Collection. However having grown up with UB40 but not actually owning any of their material anymore that truly is a bargain. It also helps with COVID doing the rounds I’m bombarding my neighbours from Hell with constant 80’s bands to stop their excess noise and silly parking. So far they’ve had Chas & Dave, Hot Chocolate let alone Right Said Fred on constant repeat. With a good and loud pair of speakers you can truly change the world. Although word of advice, make sure the noise levels are just a decibel below the accepted Public Protect local Council guidelines lol!

Steven Roberts

Good to see ABC getting some attention, although would prefer it if the news included the words ‘Lexicon of Love Super Deluxe set for release, including a 5.1 blu-ray of the album together with associated remixes and b-sides’.

Maybe ready in time for the 1982 40th?


Why oh why does the ABC compilation not include versions that are not yet on CD including:

How To Be A Millionaire [Single Remix]
How To Be A Millionaire [Nickel & Dime Mix]
How To Be A Billionaire
Tower Of London [Extended Version]
King Without A Crown [Mendelsohn Mix]
The Look Of Love ’90 [Full 12″ Mix]
Be Near Me [Ecstasy Mix]
The Real Thing [Frankie Knuckles Remix]

There are also acapellas, bonus beats, etc., but I would be happy with the above.

Prince Fan

You’re missing the purpose of these releases. They’re just supermarket crowd pleasers, not an excuse to gather up rare or previously unreleased on CD content.

Jon M


The Mendelsohn mix of King without a crown is available on a recent Blank and Jones so80s 4 compilation, remastered. Definitely look for that.

As for the others you mentioned, they have all never been released on cd or digital. A real shame. Plus there is an accapella of how to be a millionaire.

There were also some promo remixes for the Real thing by Bruce Forest that have not appeared on cd and several of those 12” mixes of One better World as well. One of my favorite songs.

Add to that list the 7” edits from Alphabet City:

Night you murdered love (Uk promo 7” edit)
King without a crown (us promo 7” edit)


King Without A Crown [Mendelsohn Mix] is on So80s (Soeighties) 4 if you are willing to pay £900 for it https://www.discogs.com/Blank-Jones-So80s-Soeighties-4/release/2644109


The Mendelsohn Mix of King without a Crown was released on CD in 2011, on So80s Volume 4.


Michel Breuker

In 2004 “The Ultimate Collection” by ABC and in 2013 “Collection” by UB40 were released in the Netherlands. Not many changes‼️


Still patiently waiting for a CD version of ABC’s The Look Of Love (Parts II and III). I believe Part II saw once the light of day on a budget compilation, but it is hard to find. Why is the track order on these 3CD releases (also on most of the Crimson Gold series) so randomly? If you compile that many tracks… why do not do the job properly? CD1 with the hits, CD2 with a selection of b-sides and albumtracks and CD3 with the remixes for instance. Now we have to tripple check to make sure if all the singles we love are on it.


@dazzler, check out the 2011 ‘Blank & Jones ‎– so80s 5’ for part 1 & 2, and the 2007 compilation ‘Never More Than Now – The ABC Collection’ for part 3. Part 4 is of course the last track of the album.

What? ABC? Worry?

Or be patient and wait for Lexicon Of Love 40th in 2022.


“The Look Of Love (Parts I, II, III & IV)” is available in full on ZTT’s “The Art Of The 12”, Volume Three” double CD from 2014. Lots of other great mixes on that collection as well.

Robert Atkin

The Look of Love Parts I, II, III and IV is available on The Art of the 12″ Volume 3 which unfortunately is deleted. This is a Compilation of ZTT label artists and related artists tracks to the label or people that were involved with ZTT. You can download the full album on Amazon for £7.99 as the track is over the ten minute mark. Alternatively, there is a seller in France selling on Discogs for around £81.52. Postage may be extra. Looking on eBay, Music Magpie are selling for £29.99. I assume this includes postage which is second class.

David H Richards

ZTT had parts 1-4 on the last Art of Remix series (or whatever it is called, cannot be sussed this early to look it up)


The track listing for ABC disc 2 & 3 look a bit odd. Why are all the remixes not on the third disc? Surely track 10-14 on disc 2 should be on the third one with 1-7 moving the other way???


Problem from an ABC collectors’ perspective (a small section of the population!), it doesnt look like this offers anything that hasnt been on the previous 20+ compilations – they have to be the most compiled band ever in budget compilation terms. However occasionally they have located different versions when ‘mistakenly’ using different master tapes, so hoping there is a loose version.

John MC cann

Brilliant Paul,its even got the only UB40 song I ever bought,,iv got mine on it, although I was sweating a bit as it’s almost at the end of the listing,yes indeed great for car! ,But it’s that old chestnut again,,,,no cd player in most cars theas days sadly,

adam shaw

I’ve got a few of these already , Lizzy , Big Country and The Human League and they are really are great value . You won’t need another greatest hits from any of these artists .


Well the ABC set looks good although I’m sure they could of crammed more tracks on to all three discs. Compare this to the 5 Star set I have and there are 19 tracks on the first two discs and 12 on the third which was entirely made up of 12″ mixes. Without checking up on an ABC discography I’m not sure whether the compilers have stripped that ABC goldmine completely bare. However I shall probably grab this; hopefully it will turn up in Sainsbury’s this week as the others always have!