Their sound captured the heart and soul of America’s streets. From the late ‘60s all the way to the present day, Los Angeles-based WAR played the music that made people dance and think. Fusing rock, Latin rhythms, funk, blues, jazz and soul into a distinctive sound all their own, WAR, the self-described Afro-Cuban-rock-jazz-blues band, was a righteous force coming straight out of “the neighborhood.”
In what has become a Fair tradition, WAR will open the L.A. County Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series, presented by Toyota, Friday, Sept. 9. A long-time Fair favorite, the band’s sound is just as sharp as ever and can be heard weekly as their hit “Low Rider” is the theme song to ABC’s television hit “The George Lopez Show.”
The group was created in the late ‘60s by producer-songwriter Jerry Goldstein and British singer Eric Burdon, who was then living in Los Angeles and eager to seek out new collaborators after several years with The Animals. After Burdon moved away from the group, WAR’s career skyrocketed in the early ‘70s as their sound spoke to millions of Americans about troubled times of Vietnam, Watergate, racial strife and the tensions of the inner cities.
The World is a Ghetto, released in 1972, proved that WAR was a major musical contender by selling more than 3.5 million copies. In 1975, the album Why Can’t We Be Friends? went gold, selling more than two million copies. The song was even heard recently in interstellar space during the historic link-up of United States astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. Also in the recent past, the 1992 album Rap Declares WAR featured a variety of rap musicians sampling the sounds of WAR.
In 1998 WAR was honored by the Los Angeles City Council in front of a sold-out crowd at the Greek Theater for the group’s outstanding contributions and achievements. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers presented the band and producer Goldstein with the society’s award for the theme song for the George Lopez show as one of the top TV series of 2002. In 2003, the band released The Very Best of WAR, a triumphant collection of songs that resonate with the youth of today as well as those who can say they were there at the dawn.
General admission to see WAR is free with regular Fair admission. Reserved seats can be purchased for $15, box seats for $17.50. Stageside seating is $60. Tickets may be purchased at the Fairplex credentials office, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. or at any Ticketmaster location or online at www.lacountyfair.com or www.ticketmaster.com. The Fair runs Sept. 9 – Oct. 2, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Live thoroughbred horse racing returns Sept. 9 – 26, closed on Tuesdays only. For additional information about the Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series, visit the Web site or call (909) 623-3111.