What Is It Good For?

Here is a fun fact about me - I was an American history major in college. I even took a class that the centered on the world between World War I and World War II. With the war happening in Ukraine, there is a song that has resonated in my soul. It actually resonates with me every time there has been a war in my lifetime. Here is the hook!

(War, huh) good God y'all
(What is it good for?) Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
(War, huh) Oh-ohh yeah, huh
(What is it good for?) Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War is a counterculture era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release War as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist. The label decided to withhold the Temptations' version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. I don’t believe that I have ever even heard the The Temptations version of the song before today. It’s also hard to think about The Temptations version being too controversial today.  

Starr’s version of War was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hit 100 chart in 1970. It is not only the most successful and well-known record of Starr’s career, but it is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. A live recording of the song performed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hit #8 in 1985. Another fun fact about me - I love the Boss!

This war in the Ukraine feels so senseless and good for absolutely nothing. Let’s pray for the end of the violence and for peace around the Ukraine, Russia, and all of eastern Europe. I am praying this war in the Ukraine is not the Vietnam War or World War of this generation. You are invited to lift up prayers in the comments.

In His Grip,
Mike Toluba

1 Comment

Gingir andrews - March 21st, 2022 at 8:15am

What A great song for this situation in Ukraine. This war is totally criminal.