War (Edwin Starr song)Posted 7 years ago under Uncategorized
It’s original release was the single “War” / “He Who Picks A Rose” – Gordy 7101 (1970).
About the song
It has been referred to the archetype of the anti-war song and likened to a shout of pain. Ref, Ref The lyrics “War, huh, yeah, What is it good for, Absolutely nothing” show that war hasn’t solved anything. The song is a focus on the negative aspects of war and what is lost. A section of the song “When their sons go to fight, And lose their lives.” Ref gives the listener something to think about. The obvious !
The song which was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was originally recorded by The Temptations and appeared on their album Psychedelic Shack which was released in 1970. Motown Records didn’t want the song released as a single as they didn’t want to risk the Temptations career by such a controversial song. The song had potential in the anti-war movement back then. Because Edwin didn’t have a large fan base at the time and the risk to his career due to offending certain people wouldn’t have caused as much to Motown and Berry Gordy, Starr was able to release it. Ref
For Starr, it was a number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for three weeks. Ref
It was later a hit for Bruce Springsteen in 1986 was a no 8 hit in the US and no 16 in the UK. .
In film it has appeared in the Ron Howard directed film Backdraft in 1991 that starred Kurt Russell and Rush Hour with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Ref
The BBC banned it’s playing during the 1991 Gulf War?. Also the US network Clear Channel Communications made sure it wasn’t on the air following the 911 atrocity. Ref It was again banned by the BBC in the 2000s because of the fear that it might offend the government. Ref
In 1993, Starr recut the song in a rap version that was released on Peter Stringfellow’s Hippodrome label. Ref
Around late 2006, early 2007, a group of anti-war musicians called Ugly Rumors?. The video clip for the song The featured Respect MP George Galloway and Journalist Lauren Booth who happened to be Tony Blair’s sister in law. In an article in the Socialist Worker, she said she had been a supporter of Stop the War for several years ever since it became apparent that we they going to go into Iraq. She also said that England’s Middle East policy was nonsense. In the video, Booth and Galloway take Blair away after George Galloway says …. “they have been responsible for ‘ugly rumors’ that have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.” Ref
- Workers’ Liberty – Searching for a more tolerant England, Solidarity 194, 23 February 2011, Solidarity 3/194
- Inside the Vietnam War – War Edwin Starr, Lyrics
- Dear Kitty. Some blog – BBC so scared of Blair that they ban Edwin Starr pro peace song
- Blues & Soul – Feature, Edwin Starr: Motown’s 40th Anniversary of the Release Of “WAR”
- SongFacts – War by Edwin Starr
- Detroit Sounds Like This – Edwin Starr’s “War” Tops The 1970 Billboard Chart
- The Independant 04/04/03 – Edwin Starr, Stentorian soul singer best known for his controversial hit ‘War’
- Socialist Worker 06/01/2007 – Lauren Booth backs Ugly Rumours’ anti-war single