Edwin Starr’s plea for peace

Almost fifty years ago, Edwin Starr belted out an anthem simply called “War.” Written by Barret Strong and Norman Whitfield, Starr’s disdain for war and its aftermath comes through in his powerful rendition.

As I thought of this song, I mentally included it with two others – John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son” he sang with CCR and Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the Flowers gone,” sung so well by Peter, Paul and Mary. These three songs come at this topic with sadness, skepticism and disdain.

But, for now, here are the lyrics to “War.”

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing

Truly, what is it good for? Starr asks an excellent question, one we must ask before we send our young men and women into harm’s way.

A Simple Song of Freedom – Bobby Darin’s Most Endearing Legacy

Bobby Darin is more known for songs like “Beyond the Sea” which was the title of the movie starring Kevin Spacey as Darin, “Mack the Knife” and “Splish Splash.” The latter song actually was out of character from most of his songs as he was more of a Frank Sinatra ballad type singer. Yet, to me the song that resonates over time is the one he wrote later in his career and sang during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights push in the 1960’s, “A Simple Song of Freedom.” Here are the lyrics.
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war
Hey there, Mister Black Man, can you hear me?
I don’t want your diamonds or your game
I just want to be someone known to you as me
And I will bet my life you want the same
So come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war
Seven hundred million are you listening?
Most of what you read is made of lies
But speaking one to one, ain’t it everybody’s sun
To wake to in the morning when we rise?
So come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung, before
Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here don’t want a war
Brother Solzhenitsyn are you busy?
If not won’t you drop this friend a line?
Tell me if the man who is plowing up your land
Has got the war machine upon his mind
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here don’t want a war
Now no doubt some folks enjoy doin’ battle
Like presidents, prime ministers and kings
So let us build them shelves
Where they can fight among themselves
And leave the people be who like to sing
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here don’t want a war
I say, let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere
We, the people here don’t want a war

Freedom
Freedom
Freedom

To me, this song has two meanings. One is we are all the same and wake up under the same sun. The other is war is about leaders talking and sending young men off to die. I like the line about building shelves for the leaders to fight upon and leave us alone. As we scroll forward to 2014, things do not change.

We, the people, see leaders talk about everything but what is important. Around the world, we see religion often used as a weapon to divide and rule. We see poverty, because of war and corruption where leaders make themselves rich and others suffer. We see women treated as possessions far too many times. We will not gain a wider peace until women are treated better and, at least closer to equals, if not equal around the globe. Call out injustices when you see it. That is our only hope.

Please join with me to listen to a version of Darin’s simple song of freedom.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=bobby+darin+simple+song+of+freedom+lyrics&FORM=VIRE6#view=detail&mid=FAC643BD4D82B22509B8FAC643BD4D82B22509B8