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Edwin Starr was an American soul and funk singer who rose to fame in the 1960s and 70s. He had a powerful and distinctive voice that perfectly matched the socially conscious themes of his music. Starr’s most famous song, “War,” was a massive hit in 1970 and became an anthem for the anti-war movement. The song’s message, that war is not the answer, still resonates strongly today. Starr had other hits as well, including “Twenty-Five Miles,” “Stop Her on Sight (SOS),” and “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio.”
Starr began his career as a member of several doo-wop groups before signing with Motown Records in 1968. He quickly became known for his energetic live performances and his ability to engage with audiences. Throughout his career, Starr remained committed to social justice and often used his music to comment on issues such as poverty, inequality, and racism.
Sadly, Starr passed away in 2003 at the age of 61. However, his music lives on as a testament to his talent and his commitment to making the world a better place. His influence can be heard in the music of many contemporary artists and his songs remain a vital part of the soul and funk canon.
The song “War” by Edwin Starr is a powerful protest anthem that was released in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War. With its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus, the song uses music as a vehicle to deliver its anti-war message. The lyrics express the singer’s frustration and anger towards the senseless violence and destruction caused by war, while urging listeners to question the motives of those in power. The song has become an iconic symbol of the anti-war movement and a timeless reminder of the human cost of conflict. Its message still resonates today in a world plagued by ongoing conflicts and political unrest.
2. Twenty-Five Miles
“Twenty-Five Miles” is an upbeat and energetic soul song by Edwin Starr, released in 1968. The song features powerful vocals, accompanied by a driving beat and brass section. The lyrics tell the story of a man who is willing to travel 25 miles every day just to be with the woman he loves. The song’s catchy chorus, “Twenty-five miles from home, girl / My feet are hurting mighty bad / Now I’ve been walking for three days / And two lonely nights, you know that I’m mighty mad”, has become a classic in the soul genre and is sure to get listeners up and dancing.
3. Stop Her on Sight (S.O.S.)
“Stop Her on Sight (S.O.S.)” is a classic soul track by Edwin Starr that was released in 1966. The song features an upbeat and energetic tempo, with Starr’s soulful vocals driving the melody forward. The lyrics tell the story of a man who has been mistreated by a woman and urges his fellow men to “stop her on sight” to prevent her from causing any more damage. The song became a hit for Starr, reaching the top 20 on the Billboard R&B chart and cementing his reputation as one of the leading voices of the soul music genre.
4. Agent Double-O-Soul
“Agent Double-O-Soul” is a classic soul and R&B song by Edwin Starr that was released in 1965. With its infectious groove, funky horns, and catchy lyrics, the song quickly became a hit on the dance floors of the time. The song’s lyrics tell the story of an undercover agent who is smooth, cool, and always in control. The song’s upbeat tempo and lively instrumentation perfectly capture the energy and excitement of the era. “Agent Double-O-Soul” has remained a beloved classic, a testament to the enduring popularity of Starr’s soulful sound and the timeless appeal of great dance music.
“Time” is a soulful ballad by Edwin Starr, released in 1970. The song showcases Starr’s powerful and emotive vocals, set against a lush arrangement of strings and horns. The lyrics are introspective and reflective, exploring the passage of time and the importance of making the most of every moment. The chorus, “Time, time, time / Ain’t it funny how it slips away / Slip, sliding away”, is both melancholic and hopeful, urging listeners to seize the day and appreciate the present. “Time” is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences today, reminding us of the fleeting nature of life.
6. Back Street
“Back Street” is a soulful and funky track by Edwin Starr, released in 1970. The song tells the story of a man who is in love with a woman from the wrong side of town, the titular “back street”. Starr’s vocals are powerful and emotive, backed by a groovy rhythm section and punchy horns. The song features a catchy chorus that invites listeners to sing along, while the lyrics express the pain and frustration of a love that is not meant to be. “Back Street” is a standout track in Starr’s catalog, showcasing his soulful voice and his ability to deliver a memorable and powerful performance.
7. Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On
“Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On” is an upbeat and funky soul track by Edwin Starr, released in 1971. The song features a groovy bassline, horn section, and Starr’s energetic vocals, urging listeners to get up and dance. The lyrics celebrate the power of music to uplift and bring people together, with the catchy chorus proclaiming, “Funky music sho nuff turns me on / I want to get down and boogie”. The song’s infectious energy and lively instrumentation make it a classic in the funk and soul genres, and a testament to Starr’s dynamic vocal abilities.
“Contact” is a disco and funk-inspired song by Edwin Starr that was released in 1978. The song is characterized by its upbeat tempo, infectious bassline, and catchy hook that invites the listener to “make contact.” The lyrics speak to the excitement and anticipation of meeting someone new, urging the listener to take a chance and make a move. The song’s lively instrumentation and funky grooves perfectly capture the carefree spirit and disco culture of the time. “Contact” remains a beloved classic and a testament to Starr’s ability to evolve and adapt his sound to the changing times.
9. Adios Senorita
“Adios Senorita” is a soulful track from Edwin Starr’s album “25 Miles”. The song is filled with emotion as Starr sings about saying goodbye to his love. The backing vocals add a touch of nostalgia and heartache to the track, while the slow and steady rhythm creates a melancholic mood. Starr’s powerful voice is at its best as he expresses his feelings with intensity and passion. The arrangement of the song is simple yet effective, with the piano and strings building up to the chorus. “Adios Senorita” showcases Starr’s ability to convey raw emotions through his music, making it a standout track in his discography.
10. H.A.P.P.Y. Radio
“H.A.P.P.Y. Radio” is an upbeat disco and funk track by Edwin Starr that was released in 1979. The song features a catchy bassline and a lively horn section that perfectly capture the exuberant and celebratory spirit of the era. The song’s lyrics urge listeners to “get up, get out, and get into something” and to “dance to the beat of the H.A.P.P.Y. Radio.” The song became an instant dance floor classic and remains a beloved party anthem to this day. With its irresistible groove and positive message, “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio” is a testament to Starr’s ability to create music that lifts the spirits and brings people together.