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Edwin Starr

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Nashville, United States (1942 – 2003)

Edwin Starr (January 21, 1942 – April 2, 2003) was an American soul music singer. Born Charles Edwin Hatcher in Nashville, Tennessee, Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit War.

Edwin Starr was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1942. He and his cousins (soul singers Roger and Willie Hatcher) moved to Cleveland, Ohio where they were raised.

In 1957 Starr formed a doo-wop group The Future Tones and began his singing career. Starr lived in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s and recorded at first for the small record label Ric-Tic, and later for the famed Motown after it absorbed Ric-Tic in 1968.

The song which began his career was “Agent Double’O’Soul” (1965), a take-off on the James Bond films which were popular at the time.

He recorded more soul music for the next three years before having an international chart-topper in “25 Miles” (1968). As of 2005 it is one of only two Starr songs on oldies radio.

The biggest hit of his career, which cemented his reputation as a great soul artist, was the anti-Vietnam War protest song “War” (1970). A rousing tour-de-force, the vocals to “War” were - according to Starr - recorded in one take: an accomplishment which might make modern artists quail with apprehension. In explanation, Starr remained characteristically modest, explaining that he’d been allocated little studio time, so had to give each song his best shot.

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