Veterans of the Californian West Coast circuit, the core of War's line-up, at various times, were:
Leroy 'Lonnie' Jordan (b. 21st November 1948, San Diego, California, U.S.A.; keyboards)
Howard E. Scott (b. 15th March 1946, San Pedro, California, U.S.A.; guitar)
Charles W. Miller (b. 2nd June 1939, Olathe, Kansas, U.S.A., d. 1980; flute, saxophone)
Charles Green (trumpet)
Morris 'B.B.' Dickerson (b. 3rd August 1949, Torrence, California, U.S.A. d. 2nd April 2021, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.; bass)
Lee Oskar Levitin (b. Oskar Levetin Hansen, 24th March 1948, Copenhagen, Denmark; harmonica)
'Papa' Dee Allen (b. Thomas Sylvester Allen, 18th July 1931, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A., d. 30th August 1988, Solano County, California, U.S.A.; percussion).
Luther James Rabb (b. 1942. d. 2006. bass)
Pat Rizzo (saxophone)
Ronnie Hammon (drums)
Harold Ray I. Brown (b. 17th March 1946, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.; drums)
From California, War are best remembered for the Seventies hits, 'Low Rider', 'The Cisco Kid', 'The World Is A Ghetto' and 'Why Can't We Be Friends?', however, the group's roots were originally conceived a decade earlier.
In 1962, Howard E. Scott and Harold Brown formed a group called The Creators in Long Beach, California, alter enlisting Charles Miller, Morris 'B. B.' Dickerson and Lonnie Jordan to the group's ranks.
Further inclusions were recruited, namely, Lee Oskar and Papa Dee Allen, following a their later collaboration with Eric Burdon.
The Creators recorded several singles for the Dore Records imprint (including 'Too Far To Turn Around' b/w 'Hello There, Mister Grave Digger' in 1962), and collaborated with Tjay Contrelli, a saxophonist from the band Love.
In 1968, the Creators changed their name to Nightshift, working with with Deacon Jones, who was a football player and singer.
In 1969, whilst performing as an instrumental group, the band were asked to become to backing band for the ex-Animals lead singer Eric Burdon.
eric burdon declares war - 1970 / the black man's burdon - 1970
Their debut release, 'Eric Burdon Declares War', included the hit 'Spill The Wine', however, their association with Eric Burdon finalised and following a second album, War began recording under their own solo name.
war - 1971 / all day music - 1971 / the world is a ghetto - 1972 / deliver the word - 1973
In 1971, War released 'All Day Music' which included the singles 'All Day Music' and 'Slippin' into Darkness'.
The following year the group released 'The World Is a Ghetto', which featured 'The Cisco Kid', with the album reaching the number one spot on the Billboard chart.
In 1973 the group released 'Deliver The Word', which featured 'Gypsy Man', and 'Me And Baby Brother', which charted at number 8 and 15 respectively on the Billboard chart.
why can't we be friends? - 1975 / galaxy - 1977 / platinum funk - 1977 / youngblood - 1978
In 1975 'Why Can't We Be Friends?' saw the light of day, and included 'Low Rider', and the title track, both of which charted.
In 1977, the group released a one off album for the Island Records label, entitled 'Platinum Funk', which featured the dancefloor classic 'War Is Comin'.
War released the album 'Galaxy', also in 1977, whose title single was a huge dancefloor hit at the time.
the music band - 1979 / the music band 2 - 1979 / outlaw - 1982 / life (is so strange) - 1983
They then recorded a soundtrack album for the movie 'Youngblood' in 1978, after which they joined the ranks at the MCA imprint.
At MCA, they released the albums 'The Music Band', 'The Music Band 2', (both in 1979) and a live album ('The Music Band Live' in 1980).
War then left MCA for the RCA imprint, (after releasing the one-off single 'Cinco de Mayo' for LA Records in 1981), releasing 'Outlaw', (featuring 'You Got the Power') in 1982, and 'Life (Is So Strange)' in 1983, (the latter featuring the track 'U2').
Following this recording period, War didn't record another full album until a decade later.
papa dee allen (1931 - 1988)
Papa Dee Allen died of a heart attack which struck him onstage in 1988.
Lee Oskar said of him 'Papa Dee Allen does have one of my harmonicas in his grave. He died of a brain haemorrhage on stage. I dropped the last harp I used with him on stage into his grave'.
where there's smoke - 1985 / peace sign - 1994
In 1993, War reformed with most surviving previous members (including original members Brown, Jordan, Oskar and Scott), and released a new album, entitled 'Peace Sign' in 1994.
This album remains as War's latest full original album.
royal albert hall, london 2008
In 2008, Eric Burdon and War reunited for the first time in 37 years to perform a one off concert at the London Royal Albert Hall.
In 2010, the original band members Harold Brown, Lee Oskar Levitin, Howard Scott, and Morris Dickerson, as well as Laurian Miller, daughter of original band member Charles Miller, collectively sued the Pepsi Drinks Company.
The claim was that the group are entitled to compensation for Pepsi's use of the song 'Why Can’t We Be Friends?' in a commercial without permission.
B.B. Dickerson died in 2021.
with Eric Burdon
Eric Burdon Declares War (MGM Records 1970)
with Eric Burdon
The Black Man's Burdon (MGM Records 1970)
War (United Artists Records 1971)
All Day Music (United Artists Records 1971)
The World Is A Ghetto (United Artists Records 1972)
Deliver The Word (United Artists Records 1973)
War Live! (United Artists Records 1974)
Why Can't We Be Friends? (United Artists Records 1975)
with Eric Burdon
Love Is All Around (United Artists Records 1976)
Platinum Funk (Island Records 1977)
Galaxy (MCA Records 1977)
Youngblood (United Artists Records 1978)
The Music Band (MCA Records 1979)
The Music Band 2 (MCA Records 1979)
The Music Band - Live (MCA Records 1980)
Outlaw (RCA Records 1982)
Life (Is So Strange) (RCA Records 1983)
Where There's Smoke (Coco Plum Records 1984)
Peace Sign (RCA / Avenue Records 1994)
Don't Let No One Get You Down (Rhino Records 1995)
Grooves & Messages (BMG Records 1999)