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Starr: War

Here’s a hint: protesting all the way to the top of the charts…

After his small label was absorbed by the corporate entity of Motown, Edwin Starr became a second-string hitter.

The Temptations, on the other hand, were one of Motown’s most profitable groups.

Although “War,” a blatant protest of the Vietnam War, became Edwin Starr’s biggest hit, it was first recorded by The Temptations on their 1970 album “Psychedelic Shack.”

This album was itself a little risky, business-wise. It was a striking departure from the signature “Motown Sound” that had always sold well to fans across a wide political spectrum.

At the time, record singles were far bigger business than albums, and when fans began to demand a single version of “War,” Motown didn’t want to alienate conservative listeners.

Playing it safe, the label recorded and released the single version with their less-bankable Starr.

Music Heard On This Episode

War
Edwin Starr — 20th Century Masters: The Best of Edwin Starr (Motown, 2001)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
War
Edwin Starr — 20th Century Masters: The Best of Edwin Starr (Motown, 2001)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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