“Low Rider,” “Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” “The World is a Ghetto” “Slippin’ into Darkness” “Spill the Wine” WAR’s long-hailed musical virtuosity and influences, which include, jazz, rock, funk, soul, R&B, and Latin, have impacted their fans, as well as other musicians, regardless of race, generation, or genre. Founding member, Lonnie Jordan, states that this is one “WAR” that has truly brought people together for peace, love, and harmony.
WAR is not a band. WAR is a Movement!
In the late 1960’s, WAR was created by producer-songwriter Jerry Goldstein and British singer Eric Burdon. In the members of the band that would become known as WAR, Burdon found musicians who were able to back his improvisational flights-of-fancy with the ease of jazz masters. A reviewer from Headline, England’s New Musical Express, called WAR “the best live band I ever saw” after their first UK gig in London’s Hyde Park. In 1971, Eric Burdon and WAR’s second album, a two-disc set titled The Black-Man’s Burdon, was released. Eric Burdon and WAR are best known for their jamming style on their hit singles “Spill the Wine” and “Tobacco Road.” Their albums together, Eric Burdon Declares WAR and The Black-Man’s Burdon, soon became cultural touchstones of the ’60s and early ‘70s.
WAR’s career skyrocketed in the early 1970’s with the release of “Slippin’ into Darkness” and “Me and Baby Brother as their exhilarating sound spoke to millions of Americans about the troubled times of Vietnam and Watergate as well as the tensions of the inner cities and racial strife. Long before the late Eazy-E and NWA released their multi-platinum selling album Straight Outta Compton, WAR’s lead singer and founding band member Lonnie Jordan was already putting Compton on the musical map. From his home base in Los Angeles, he recorded an international string of chart-topping songs, hit after hit.
In 1972, they released The World Is a Ghetto which was very 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. In 1975 when the Russians and Americans hooked up together in space, NASA played their gold anthem “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Jumping ahead 38 years later, WAR was invited to play the theme song, “Why Can’t We Unfriend?” for National Facebook “Unfriend” Day on Jimmy Kimmel Live! WAR’s music and history transcends generations of pop culture and has a universal appeal to parents, grandparents, and children across the world.
WAR has had many great accomplishments lately to add to their immense career. They continue to reach a wide audience and have played an eclectic array of festivals including the Capital Jazz Festival in 2007, the Capital Jazz Cruise in 2009, and the Summer Sonic Festival 2009 in Japan, which featured other artists such as Beyonce and Lady GaGa. They have also performed at various events including: the Alma Awards in 2007, the Latino Inaugural with George Lopez in 2009 for Obama, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in 2009, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, pre-game for the Kansas City Royals, The George Lopez late night show in 2009, and USC Half Time Show with the Trojan Marching Band.
On April 21, 2008, WAR reunited with Eric Burdon and took the stage for one very memorable night at Royal Albert Hall in London.
While staying current with the digital market, WAR released their catalogue on iTunes in 2008. Since then, WAR has had over 500,000 downloads and sold over 200,000 ringtones. The digital release added to the 100,000 physical copies of CD’s sold per year. WAR continues to be downloaded at a rate of 6,000 to 8,000 downloads per week and approximately 2,000 ringtones per week.
WAR released their first ever live DVD/CD combination, WAR’s Greatest Hits Live in 2008 which added a great new way for fans to see their amazing performance. The DVD/CD was recorded at WAR’s concert at The Grove in Anaheim, California, and captured Lonnie Jordan’s electrifying stage presence as well as the rest of the band’s ability to really let loose on stage. The DVD was so well received that in 2009 the show was made into a PBS special. WAR signed with American Public Television for PBS pledge drives all over the country. Following the DVD/CD release, WAR released a box set, which became a great way for old fans to rediscover, and for new fans to get into WAR.
WAR has had a profound influence on contemporary American music been embraced by media around the world. A brief highlight of their extensive discography includes:
Commercials: Pepsi, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Chevy, Nokia, Kodak, Miller Genuine Draft, Pizza Hut, and Burger King.
Television: George Lopez Show, Beverly Hills 90210, Entourage, Suddenly Susan, My Name is Earl, MTV’s Rock the Vote, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, America’s Most Wanted, and Bernie Mac.
Movies: Lethal Weapon 4, Boogie Nights, Remember the Titans, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Dazed and Confused, Gone is 60 Seconds, and Beverly Hills Ninja.
Videogames: Playstation3 and XBOX games including: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockband 3, MLB 08: The Show, Driver: Parallel Lines, Skate 2.
To date, WAR has sold nearly 50 million records and has been honored with 17 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, which include: triple platinum The World Is A Ghetto, multi-platinum Why Can’t We Be Friends?, All Day Music, and Deliver the World, and gold singles from their four times platinum Greatest Hits Album. Also, “Summer” from WAR’s Greatest Hits Live set a new record as the first single from a greatest hits package to become a USA best hit and go gold. Today, WAR is a permanent part of America’s pop cultural landscape and has profoundly impacted the music industry.
Currently, when WAR is not on tour playing their music to sold out audiences across the country, they can be found in the studio working on their first release of new material in over 14 years which is scheduled to be released in summer of 2011.
WAR Hit Songs
- All Day Music
- Slippin’ Into Darkness
- World is a Ghetto
- Cisco Kid
- Gypsy Man
- Me and Baby Brother
- Low Rider
- Why Can’t We Be Friends?
- You Got the Power