The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


War broke out in the late 60s, when interracial Los Angeles audiences welcomed the band’s steamy mix of blues and soul, rock and R&B, built on a strong Afro-Latin foundation, similar to Santana’s recipe. With its six African-American founding members – Papa Dee Allen, Charles Miller, Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and Howard Scott – War gigged around L.A. for nearly a decade, first as the Creators, later as Nightshift. In 1969, they hooked up with Eric Burdon (ex-Animals), producer-manager Jerry Goldstein and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar. The partnership with Burdon lasted less than two years, but gave War their signature debut hit “Spill The Wine.” Unlike their Bay Area counterparts, War nurtured an enthusiastic urban following on R&B radio. They were a solid Top 10 pop/R&B crossover presence throughout the 70s, starting with the breezy “All Day Music.” Each hit carried a timely social message grounded by their familiar Southern California vibe: “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “The World Is a Ghetto,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” “Low Rider,” “Summer,” “L.A. Sunshine.”  Into the 80s and 90s, rappers and DJs (from Beastie Boys and 2Pac to Ice-T and De La Soul) discovered choice samples and beats in War’s music. Personnel shifts have altered the lineup, but War continues to please loyal fans with their unique West Coast fusion.