Signing Off was UB40's first album and it features a mix of reggae and dub material which was lyrically politically charged and socially conscious, while musically was reverb-heavy, doom-laden yet mellifluous, best exemplified in the hits "King" and "Food For Thought" as well as the searing "Burden of Shame".
"King" was a song written about the late Martin Luther King, questioning the lost direction of the deceased leader's followers and the state of mourning of a nation after his death. Perhaps the biggest success of the album was the song "Food For Thought", which charted high in the UK and subsequently was also a prominent feature of UB40's 2005 Live 8 appearance in Hyde Park, London - 25 years after the song had been first released. The original vinyl album included an additional 12-inch record with the tracks "Madam Medusa", "Strange Fruit" and "Reefer Madness".
Signing Off is considered by many to be by far UB40's best album, as well as one of the finest reggae albums by a British group. In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 83 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
With the original 1980 release was a 12" single containing the following tracks. These were added to the CD album.