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Recruited by Eric Burdon, War first hit the charts with "Spill the Wine," an instantly recognizable soul/rock hit that opened the door for what was coming. After one record, Burdon left to focus on his personal fade from public view. This freed up War for more success with their hybrid of soul, rock, jazz and Latin rhythms. Distinctly Southern California, their multi-ethnic lineup served as a cross section of the Los Angeles area that they represented. The horn-spiked Chicano anthems "Low-Rider" and "The Cisco Kid" spoke to an audience poorly represented in popular music. Laced with a certain street logic, War predated Rodney King with their feelgood hit "Why Can't We Be Friends?" The barrier-breaking continued until the late 1970s, when they began taking themselves too seriously. Their loose grooves had the hip-hop community paying attention, which spurred a reunion in the mid-1990s.
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