Birmingham music legends UB40 took a trip down memory lane when a special plaque was unveiled at the pub where they played their first gig.
It was on February 9, 1979, at the Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath that the reggae band made their live debut.
Dropping in at the venue on Tuesday, members of the band looked back on their debut gig.
They were joined by actor Keith Allen, kickboxing champion Kash “The Flash” Gill, and two fans who were there 32 years ago.
‘‘It was a private gig, a friend’s birthday party, but it was our first gig in front of strangers,’’ recalled guitarist Robin Campbell.
‘‘All I remember is being paralysed with fear and thinking we’d never get through it. And then being massively relieved that they actually loved us and it turned into a proper party.
‘‘The gig was brilliant and we played our entire repertoire which was about 10 songs, about a 40-minute set. It gave us confidence and we knew then that we were a band.’’
Saxophonist Brian Travers added: ‘‘It was billed as Suzy Varty’s birthday party. The songs we played were the songs from our first album. Steve Ajao, the blues guitarist who we went to school with, got up on stage and played with us.’’
The occasion has now been commemorated with a PRS For Music Heritage Award, which mark the first gigs of significant British acts.
Other recipients are Blur, Dire Straits, Jethro Tull, Squeeze, Elton John, Snow Patrol and Status Quo.
Unveiling the plaque at the Hare & Hounds, PRS For Music chairman Guy Fletcher said: ‘‘It gives us an opportunity to honour this great band but it also gives us an opportunity to say thank you to the venue that gave them their start.’’
The band, now fronted by Duncan Campbell, following the departure of his brother and original singer Ali Campbell, treated 150 fans and invited guests to a half hour, semi-unplugged show at the venue.
Keith Allen, currently starring in the BBC series The Body Farm, said he had followed UB40 for at least 26 years.
‘‘I first saw them playing on a float at Notting Hill carnival. They’re long lasting because they’re really good and people really, really appreciate what they do.’’
Kash said that during the 1980s the band had supported him in his kick boxing and he became good friends with them.
Members have even contributed to his biography which is due to be published next year.
Danny Ryan, aged 53 from Castle Vale, and David Moloney, aged 48 from Kings Heath, were at the 1979 show.
Danny, who was awarded an MBE for services to the community in 2001, was at Queensbridge school with UB40’s Norman Hassan.
‘‘We kept in touch and he persuaded me to attend the show, saying he hoped the band would be successful but needed to establish themselves.
"I’d not heard of them but I understand there was a bit of a vibe about them around Balsall Heath.’’
David, a construction manager, said he was persuaded to go to UB40’s debut gig by a school pal who had a copy of their first single.
‘‘I went because it was free entry but I felt I was part of something special,’’ he remembered.