70's Music Revisited

Remembering the Music of the 1970's

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Edwin Starr – War

October 5, 2009 | 1970, Male, Motown, Number 1

Two clips of Edwin Starr singing his 1970 war protest song War. One is from the 70′s. Not sure when the second one is from, but it’s obviously much later than the first.

The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It was Edwin Starr’s most successful song as well as the most successful anti-war song. It reached the number 1 spot in 1970.

The song was also recorded by the Temptations, although their version was slightly less intense than Starr’s. Motown was debating whether or not to release the Temptations version as a single when Starr volunteered to re-record the song. Motown had been afraid that it could hurt the Temptation’s career.

Starr’s version was more in a James Brown inspired Soul-Shout and the song instead of hurting his career gave him a successful one.

Bruce Springsteen had the song as part of his concert and it was recorded as part of the Live/1975-85 album. Springsteen released his live version as a single and once again it was a big seller, reaching Number 8 on the charts.

“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!” The line is just as meaningful in 2009 as it was in 1970. It’s surprising that someone hasn’t re-recorded it. At least the Starr and the Springsteen versions are still being played.

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