1970 / 125 Views

Eric Burdon was part of the 60's British Invasion with his group The Animals and their bluesy R&B songs like "House Of the Rising Sun" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". He left that band by the end of 1968 took a sabbatical. Around the same time a band first called Night Shift was playing the LA club scene and Burdon dropped by. He invited them to be his back up touring band. Then he met Jerry Goldstein and Steve Gold who agreed to manage the band and immediately renamed them War. They toured together for two years perfecting their unique sound that melded jazz, funk and latin music when they recorded "Spill The Wine" for their debut album "Eric Burdon Declares War". The song was released on May 23, 1970 and peaked at #3 in August. Eric was signed to MGM Records but the Gold Twins (sic) decided against War becoming one of their acts. That resulted in a song where War was an unsigned talent on a major pop hit. Also, Burdon wrote the song but due to contractural obligations was unable to add his name to the credits, meaning he would not receive any royalties for his War collaborations. The song came about while jamming, but it never gelled until Burdon accidentally knocked over his glass of wine at a picnic on a grassy knoll and he found his catchphrase, "Spill The Wine". Founding member Harold Brown relates this song celebrates women: "All ladies are beautiful. You've got to look at them. God, I believe, put all of us here and made us all different so we could be like the flowers, you know. Like women. I look at them as beautiful flowers. Even when they get older, the flowers and so on, and that's what it really boils down to, they can be skinny, big, fat, I've seen some fine voluptuous women. And then I've seen some that are skinny, and if you look at them, they could be beautiful, depending on personality and stuff." Burdon being Burdon, slipped a sexual reference into the chorus "Spill the wine, take that girl, spill the wine, take that pearl.", with the pearl being a part of the female anatomy. Interesting chart fact, while the band War was climbing the chart another "War" was dogging "Spill The Wine" on the charts, the Motown song by Edwin Starr that leapfrogged over it and took the #1 spot.

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