Grammy-winning singer Edwin Starr, the Motown soul man best known for the 1970 anti-war anthem ”War,” died Wednesday of a heart attack at his home in Nottingham, England, his manager announced. He was 61 and had lived in England since the 1980s.
A former soldier who had served in the U.S. Army for three years before signing with Motown, Starr (born Charles Hatcher in Nashville) scored such hits in the late 1960s and early ’70s as ”Agent Double-O-Soul” (for which he filmed a video with 007 Sean Connery) and ”25 Miles.” But he was best-known for ”War,” which topped the singles chart and won him a Grammy. The song was a hit again for Bruce Springsteen, who released a live version in 1986, and its lyrics were part of a memorable ”Seinfeld” episode, when a gullible Elaine repeated to a Russian author Jerry’s facetious claim that Leo Tolstoy’s ”War and Peace” was originally titled, ”War! What Is It Good For?”
Starr still sang regularly at oldies and soul concerts, most recently in Stuttgart, Germany, last weekend, the Associated Press reports. He was due to perform this July at the WOMAD Festival in Reading, England, where he would surely have performed his topical-yet-again hit.