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War Biography


Home > Music > W > War > Biography


Birth Place: Long Beach, California, U.S.
Years Active: 1969–present
Genres: Funk, Rock, Funk Rock, Jazz Fusion, Reggae, Soul, Latin American


War (originally called Eric Burdon and War) is an American funk band from California, known for the hit songs "Low Rider", "Spill the Wine", "The Cisco Kid" and "Why Can't We Be Friends?". Formed in 1969, War was a musical crossover band which fused elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, and reggae. The band also transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up. The band has sold over 50 million records to date.

Eric Burdon and War began playing live shows to audiences throughout Southern California before entering into the studio to record their debut album “Eric Burdon Declares ‘War’.” The album's best known track, "Spill the Wine", was a hit and launched the band's career.

A second Eric Burdon and War album, a two-disc set titled “The Black-Man's Burdon” was released in 1970, before Burdon left the band in the middle of its European tour.

“War” (1971) met with only modest success, but later that year, the band released “All Day Music” which included the singles "All Day Music", “Get Down” and "Slippin' into Darkness". The latter single sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in June 1972. In 1972 they released “The World Is a Ghetto” which was even more successful. Its second single, "The Cisco Kid" shipped gold and the album attained the number one spot on Billboard, and was Billboard magazine's Album of the Year as the best-selling album of 1973.

The next album, “Deliver The Word” (1973) contained the hits "Gypsy Man," and a studio version of "Me And Baby Brother" (previously issued as a live recording), which peaked at number 8 and 15 respectively on the Billboard chart. The album went on to sell nearly two million copies. The next album, “Why Can't We Be Friends?” was released in 1975. It included "Low Rider", and the title track, which were among the band's biggest hits.

In 1976, War released a greatest hits record which contained one new song "Summer", which, as a single, went gold and peaked at number 7 on the Billboard chart. Also released that year were “Love is All Around” by Eric Burdon and War, containing mostly unreleased recordings from 1969 and 1970, and “Platinum Jazz,” a one-off album for jazz label Blue Note Records.

They went on to released several more albums in the late 1970s and 1980s while continuously going through changes to the band’s lineup. On 21 April 2008, Eric Burdon and War reunited for the first time in 37 years to perform a one-time-only concert at the London Royal Albert Hall.