WAR is an American soul-funk ensemble from Los Angeles that collaborated with ex-Animals vocalist Eric Burdon on two albums for MCA in 1970, scoring a hit with the whimsically inebriated “Spill the Wine.” After the two camps parted ways, WAR released six proper albums and a soundtrack on United Artists between 1971 and 1978. Further albums appeared on RCA and MCA over the subsequent 10-year period.

Members: B.B. Dickerson (bass, percussion, vocals, 1969-78), Lee Oskar (harmonica), Lonnie Jordan (vocals, keyboards, guitar, percussion, timbales), Papa Dee Allen (percussion, bongos, vocals), Harold Brown (drums), Charles Miller (saxophone, flute, clarinet, 1969-78), Howard Scott (guitar), James Montgomery Baker (guitar), William Bergman (saxophone), Sandro Albert (guitar), John Berry (trumpet), Rick Braun (trumpet), Kerry Campbell (saxophone), James Coile (saxophone), Jason [J.B.] Eckl (guitar), Charles Green (flute, horn, saxophone), Ricky Green (bass), Ronnie Hammond (percussion, drums, vocals), Fernando Harkless (saxophone), Kenny Alvin Hudson (percussion), Larry Klymas (saxophone), Willie Loya (percussion), Richard Marquez (percussion), Debbie Moman (backing vocals), Milton Myrick (backing vocals), Tetsuya Nakamura (harmonica, backing vocals), Charles Owens (saxophone), Tiki Paccius (percussion), Donald Phillips (bass), Luther Rabb (bass, vocals), Marcos Reyes (percussion), Pat Rizzo (flute, saxophone, vocals), Papo Rodriguez (percussion), Sal Rodriguez (percussion, drums, backing vocals), Peter Rosen (bass), Sharon Scott (backing vocals), Alice Tweed Smith (percussion, backing vocals), Lee Thornburg (trumpet), Francisco “Poncho” Tomaselli (bass), Rae Valentine (organ, percussion, backing vocals), Moses Wheelock (congas), Stewart Ziff (guitar)

WAR had its roots in a Long Beach R&B band called The Creators, formed in 1962 by guitarist Howard Scott and drummer Harold Brown. With keyboardist Lonnie Jordan, they cut two 1966 singles behind singer Little Johnny Hamilton on the Hollywood-based Dore label: “Keep On Movin'” (b/w “Mudpie”) and “Oh How I Love You” (b/w “Go”).

The Creators morphed into Señor Soul with the addition of reedist Charles Miller, bassist Morris “B. B.” Dickerson, and percussionist Papa Dee Allen. In this iteration, they released the covers-heavy 1968/69 albums Plays Funky Favorites and It’s Your Thing on Double Shot Records. Concurrently, they moonlighted as Nightshift behind NFL sportsman and singer Deacon Jones.

In 1969, the band was spotted backing Jones by record producer Jerry Goldstein. He was taken by their message of brotherhood and harmony; antidotes to the strife of their ghettoized upbringings. Meanwhile, Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar and English vocalist Eric Burdon (recently free of The Animals) caught the band live while scouring the LA clubs for collaborators. Oskar joined the lineup, forming an odd “brass section” with saxist Miller.

Joining forces with Burden, the band renamed itself WAR and entered San Francisco’s Wally Heider Studios in January 1970. Eric Burdon Declares “War” was released that April on MGM.


  • Eric Burdon Declares “War” (1970 • as Eric Burdon and War)
  • The Black-Man’s Burdon (1970 • as Eric Burdon and War)
  • War (1971)
  • All Day Music (1971)
  • The World Is a Ghetto (1972)
  • Deliver the Word (1973)
  • Why Can’t We Be Friends? (1975)
  • Platinum Jazz (1977)
  • Galaxy (1977)
  • Youngblood (1978)
  • The Music Band (1979)
  • The Music Band 2 (1980)
  • Outlaw (1982)
  • Life (Is So Strange) (1983)


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