Wednesday, November 12, 2014

War, The #58 Artist of the Seventies*

We're up to an innovator, a group that combined elements of rock, R&B, funk, jazz, Latin, and reggae, and included a lineup of many ethnicities.

War's roots go back as far as 1962, when Howard E. Scott and Harold Brown formed the group the Creators.  Charles Miller, Morris Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Lee Oskar and Papa Dee Allen all joined.  The Creators recorded several singles on Dore Records, then in 1968 changed their name to Nightshift.  They began performing with Deacon Jones, football player with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. 

Producer Jerry Goldstein and Eric Burdon, formerly with the Animals, took the group to the next level.  Goldstein saw musicians at the Rag Doll in Hollywood, California, backing Deacon Jones, and he loved their sound.  He approached them about joining Burdon in a new group, and War was born. 

The group began playing throughout Southern California, then recorded the debut album Eric Burdon Declares "War".  The single "Spill The Wine" became a huge hit at #3 and sold over one million copies. 

We also want to feature this solid cut--"Tobacco Road".

The group followed with the double album The Black-Man's Burdon, but Eric left the group in the middle of its European tour.  Burdon's name recognition had gotten War off the ground, but they proved themselves time and time again after he left.

The first album War recorded without Burdon, the self-titled War, did not achieve huge success, but another released in 1971 did.  The album All Day Music became War's first Gold album, thanks to the #16 million-seller "Slippin' Into Darkness".

The title song is another we want to feature from War.

In 1972, the group was at their best with the album The World Is a Ghetto.  It went to #1 on the Album chart and, according to Billboard, was the #1-selling LP of the year.  The first single was the title track, which reached #7.

War then scored the biggest hit of their career with the single "The Cisco Kid".  It reached #2 in 1973 and, like its two predecessors, sold over one million copies.

The band released Deliver The Word in 1973, which contained the single "Gypsy Man", the group's fourth consecutive Top 10 hit at #3.

Deliver The Word gave War a third straight Gold album.  The follow-up release was "Me And Baby Brother", a #15 song.

War released the album Why Can't We Be Friends? in 1975, and the title song went to #6.

The group landed another big hit with "Low Rider", #1 on the R&B chart and #7 overall.

War released their Greatest Hits album in 1976, which contained the new recording "Summer".  The single went Gold and peaked at #7.

War released six more albums in the decade, and attained Gold albums from sales to their loyal fans, but "Summer" was the last Top 20 hit they would have.  The group eventually changed their name to The Music Band, but the original version of War has reunited several times since.

War had 14 hits in the Seventies, with six songs reaching the Top 10.  They sold over 6.5 million records in the decade.

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