The Most Ridiculous Item of the Week – 7.27.07

A man who used to work as an undercover police officer for the county of West Midlands in England, recently claimed that the police department had cooked up a scheme in the ’80s to frame reggae group UB40 on drug charges. According to the memoirs of Ronnie Howard (no relation to Richie Cunningham), the department “needed a high-profile bust” and were ready to pin it on the Birmingham-based band (Birmingham being in West Midlands County), who at the time were at the height of their fame.

Howard, who worked on the force for over 23 years, claims that the project was very close to coming to fruition, and the operatives involved even went as far as to give it a name, dubbing it “There’s a Wrap in My Kitchen”—a play on the band’s song “There’s a Rat in My Kitchen”. “They needed a high-profile bust,” Howard wrote, “and I was disgusted because all they were interested in was [setting] people up. … I told them I wanted nothing to do with it.”

I understand they’re a reggae band and all, so it’s only logical to try and bust them by planting drugs (presumably pot), though I’d be remiss not to point out that perhaps a better thing to accuse the band of is making a name for themselves almost exclusively by releasing covers as singles. Yes, “Red Red Wine” is a great song, and it’s a great interpretation of the Neil Diamond track, but after follow-up covers of “I Got You Babe”, “Kingston Town”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” and “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You” were all released as singles, you’d have to be blind as bat not the see it. Blind as bat with a bag over its head. The three Labour of Love albums were their best-selling albums, and even the hit non-cover album Promises and Lies was mostly driven by the aforementioned Elvis cover. I still like the band, but they’re kind of like Alien Ant Farm, except they’ve released much more material and don’t suck. And nobody in the band has a stupid haircut.

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