War (What Is It Good For?) – Edwin Starr (1970)
Authored By Dale Nickey:
A spunky soul tune composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. The Vietman war was in full swing. With Vietnam, we not only saw the burden of the old man’s war fall on the shoulders of the young, but also the poor and the black. The “chickenhawk” concept started here.
The tune was originally intended for Motown kingpins The Temptations. However, Barry Gordy went all chickenshit and gave the tune to Edwin Starr rather than risk tainting his hit making machine with controversy. It went to Number One on Billboard in 1970 and became one of the greatest anti-war anthems of all time. Why? Because the brothers didn’t mince words on the subject. What is war good for anyway? “absolutely nothin’, say it again y’all.”