Edwin Starr, RIP


He sang the song that launched a thousand headline references. In the midst of the latest (and sadly not last) attempt to answer his timeless musical question, Edwin "War! Good God, ya'all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again!" Starr has passed away.

NEXT: Tulia Update

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The first records I ever owned were a batch of 45s my uncle gave me when I was 10. “War” was one of them (along with “Crimson & Clover”, “Soul & Inspiration”, “Touch Me” (Doors), “Nowhere Man”, “Time Of The Season” and a few others. All through the late ’70’s and early ’80’s it seemed like I was the only gen X’er who knew that song (’til Springsteen covered it). As a songwriter–since the age of 12–I’ve always considered Edwin Starr an “early influence”.
    R.I.P. ol’ bean!

  2. “War” (the song, that is)is overrated. Capitalist that he was, Berry Gordy would never have allowed such a blatant anti-war message to be released if the war’s demise wasn’t a foregone conclusion.
    (Remember the other big “anti-war” screed of the time? Freida Payne’s “Bring The Boys Home.” Better song overall.)

    Starr’s other semi-hits, “Twenty-Five Miles,” “Agent Double-O Soul” and especially “S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight)” were much better records.

  3. While it doesn’t answer all cases, I have to say: ask the people liberated from Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Auschwitz, and other camps the value of war. Ask the slave owners that used to exist in America.

  4. I have to side with Casey’s adultish tounge-wagging to a certain extent. I can’t speak for this man’s musical talent, but I really despise the simplistic pap that passes for music sometimes. Another example: “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Lots of deep-thinking in that one too.

  5. Ok, guys, with that all said, let’s admit that war is a very, very bad thing, and even at the best of times is only the lesser of two evils.

    Students of American music will recognize the gospel elements in the song, and (hopefully) students of American culture will recognize there are legitimate anti-militaristic threads running through our society.

    Let’s not forget the old Websterian credo “We are the friends of liberty everywhere, and the guardian only of our own.”

    Lest someone misunderstand, I support the war effort. AND I think the song still rocks, despite being misused by dimwit pacifists who think a pop song “proves” something.

  6. Anyone who believes that war is “good for absolutely nothing” is an ignoramus ? musical facility notwithstanding.

  7. Well it’s good to see I’m not the only one having this reaction to Starr’s death. I’ve been trying to play the lyrics over in my head, but I keep getting hung up on the nonsense of the content. War is like having the courage to punch a bully in the nose…you can’t go around doing it everytime someone disagrees with you, but used with discrimination, it keeps a lot of bullies out of your hair.

  8. What is war good for? Well, limelight for one. Were we not at war, do you think anyone would even have noticed his passing?

  9. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com

    DATE: 12/10/2003 06:33:25
    God had some serious quality-control problems.

  10. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    URL: http://tip-for-penis-enlargement.nonstopsex.org
    DATE: 12/20/2003 10:20:50
    Perceptions do not limit reality.

  11. EMAIL: pamela_woodlake@yahoo.com
    URL: http://average-penis.drugsexperts.com
    DATE: 01/09/2004 04:38:14
    Only when we have nothing to say do we say anything at all.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.