The World is a Ghetto – War

War (originally called Eric Burdon and War) is an American funk band from California, known for the hit songs “Low Rider”, “Spill the Wine”, “The Cisco Kid” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”. Formed in 1969, War was a musical crossover band which fused elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin American music, rhythm and blues, and reggae. The band also transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up. The band has sold over 50 million records to date.

Although War’s lyrics are often socio-political in nature, their music usually had a laid-back, California funk vibe. A particular feature of War’s sound is the use of harmonica and saxophone playing melody lines in unison, sounding like a single instrument, for example in the melody of “Low Rider”. The music has been sampled and recorded by many singers and groups, ranging from R&B / pop singers such as Janet Jackson to nu metal band Korn and hip hop groups like TLC.

In 1962, Howard E. Scott and Harold Brown formed a group called The Creators in Long Beach, California. Within a few years, they had added Charles Miller,Morris “B. B.” Dickerson and Lonnie Jordan to the lineup. Lee Oskar and Papa Dee Allen later joined as well. They all shared a love of diverse styles of music, which they had absorbed living in the racially-mixed Los Angeles ghettos. The Creators recorded several singles on Dore Records while working with Tjay Contrelli, a saxophonist from the band Love. In 1968, the Creators became Nightshift (named because Brown worked nights at a steel yard) and started performing withDeacon Jones, a football player and singer.

The original War was conceived by record producer Jerry Goldstein (“My Boyfriend’s Back”, “Hang on Sloopy”, “I Want Candy”) and singer Eric Burdon (ex-lead singer of the British band the Animals). In 1969, Goldstein saw musicians who would eventually become War playing at the Rag Doll in North Hollywood, backing Deacon Jones, and he was attracted to the band’s sound. Jordan claimed that the band’s goal was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony, using instruments and voices to speak out against racism, hunger, gangs, crimes, and turf wars, and promote hope and the spirit of brotherhood.  Eric Burdon and War began playing live shows to audiences throughout Southern California before entering into the studio to record their debut album Eric Burdon Declares “War”. The album’s best known track, “Spill the Wine”, was a hit and launched the band’s career.

The World is a Ghetto

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Walkin’ down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin’ for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Wonder when I’ll find paradise
Somewhere there’s a home sweet and nice
Wonder if I’ll find happiness
Never give it up now I guess

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

There’s no need to search anywhere
Happiness is here, have your share
If you know you’re loved, be secure
Paradise is love to be sure

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

(The world is a ghetto)

  • Audio from the 1972 album, The World is a Ghetto:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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