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Edwin Starr’s War

Edwin Starr's War

Psychedelic Soul

The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as an anti-war, and especially an anti-Vietnam War song in 1969. It was first recorded by The Temptations an included on their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack.  Whifield re-recorded it with Edwin Starr, so as not to involve the fans of The Temptations with the politics.

In 1970, the intense Edwin Starr version went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the U.S. R&B Chart, #3 in the UK, #9 in Germany and Norway, and #14 in The Netherlands. It was not only his most popular song and his signature song, but it was also a very popular protest song. On the track, there were the lead vocals by Edwin Starr and background vocals by The Originals (i.e, Freddie Gorman, Walter Gaines, Hank Dixon, and C.P. Spencer) and The Undisputed Truth (i.e., Joe Harris, Billie Rae Calvin, and Brenda Joyce Evans). Instrumentation was by The Funk Brothers, the fabulous Motown session musicians.

In 1971, Starr earned a Grammy nomination for best R&B Male Vocal. His recording of “War” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

There have been other versions by Bruce Springsteen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Jam, Joan Osborne, the Beastie Boys, Black Stone Cherry, and Boyz II Men to mention a few.

Here are the lyrics to “War” by Edwin Starr:

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh, uh-huh
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y’all

War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

Ohhh, war, I despise
Because it means destruction
Of innocent lives

War means tears
To thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh
Good God, y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing
But a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker
Ooooh, war
It’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die
Aaaaah, war-huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, uh-huh yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, it’s got one friend
That’s the undertaker
Ooooh, war, has shattered
Many a young man’s dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much too short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away

Ooooh, war, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

Ooooooh, war, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
You tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it

War, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it
Nothing

For More 70s Tunes

The System has daily featured music from all sorts of genres of 1970s music. You’re welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections in The System. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed “War” by Edwin Starr.

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