The year was 1969, and these “kids” had the nerve to carry the name WAR at a time when peace was the slogan in an anti-Vietnam America. “Our mission was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony. Our instruments and voices became our weapons of choice and the songs our ammunition. We spoke out against racism, hunger, gangs, crime and turf wars, as we embraced all people with hope and the spirit of brotherhood.” With classics like, “Cisco Kid,” “Low Rider,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and “Slippin’ Into Darkness” their musical message is just as relevant today as it was more than 50 years ago.
The Rascals, along with the Righteous Brothers, Mitch Ryder and precious few others, were the pinnacle of ’60s blue-eyed soul. The Rascals’ talents, however, would have to rate above their rivals, if for nothing else than the simple fact that they, unlike many other blue-eyed soulsters, penned much of their own material. They also proved more adept at changing with the fast-moving times, drawing much of their inspiration from British Invasion bands, psychedelic rock, gospel and even a bit of jazz and Latin music. They were at their best on classic singles like “Good Lovin’,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “Groovin’,” and “People Got to Be Free.”
Sly & the Family Stone harnessed all of the disparate musical and social trends of the late ’60s, creating a wild, brilliant fusion of soul, rock, R&B, psychedelia and funk that broke boundaries down without a second thought. Led by Sly Stone (no longer in the group), the Family Stone was comprised of a racially diverse ensemble of men and women, making the band the first fully integrated group in rock’s history.