"War" as written by Barrett Strong and Norman J. Whitfield....
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why'all

War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

Oh, war, I despise
'Cause it means destruction of innocent lives

War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh good god, why'all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again

War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

(War) it ain't nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it's an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why'all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me

(War) it ain't nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it's got one friend that's the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can't give life
It can only take it away

Oh, war, huh good god why'all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again

(War) whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me

(War) it ain't nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there's got to be a better way

Oh, war, huh good god why'all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it

(War) huh good god why'all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing


Lyrics submitted by Hype3001

"War" as written by Norman Whitfield Barret Strong

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

War song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentObviously protesting the vietnam war!
    Pretty much what it says.. what is war good for? Killing loved ones and causing destruction
    Seanzy333on March 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is amazin' and so true of the times
    1000_bongson March 28, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNo one has to fight for their freedom. There IS another way. And the more people refuse to go to war, the better off humanity will be. I take my hat off to all of those brave souls who refuse to participate in the conflicts of the nations. Those who realize that there is a better way, that war is not inevitable, and that there is no such thing as a "just war." Violence only perpetuates violence. A nation founded by bloodshed only guarantees the continuation of warfare - until enough brave souls stand up and refuse to participate.

    I'm reminded of a quote: "When you kill a man to defend an idea, you don't defend an idea. You kill a man." Whether that idea is freedom, democracy, or anything else, it's true. You cannot justify the murder of another individual, and there is ALWAYS another way to stop tyranny. The alternative often seems more difficult - but it's worth it. Contrary to popular perception, pacifism is the harder route - but it's also the far more humane, and moral. And just.

    Anyways -

    This is an absolutely fantastic song, and one of my favorite of all protest/anti-war songs. And unlike some of the songs from the Vietnam era, this is absolutely timeless. I also really like the versions by The Temptations and Bruce Springsteen.
    Timecon March 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOh, war has shattered many young man's dreams
    Made him disabled, bitter and mean
    Life is much too short and precious
    To spend fighting wars these days
    War can't give life, it can only take it away

    Excellent lyrics, they really just send chills down my spine.
    degree7on September 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhich times? or is that moot, for is it true for all times?
    Rider_of_the_Sunon April 15, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits true for pretty much all occasions in war, both sides can say rightfully that anytime this song is right.
    Yakuza Warlordon June 19, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy does anyone have to fight for freedom? You don't have to waste your brain cells on God. Maybe it would be possible for people to just decide to treat each other with respect and dignity and not attempt to control each other with stupid BS religion and live in peace and have freedom without any wars.
    jiggscaseyon December 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel like all War is about is greed and taking over other Countries natural resources these day's, while putting the ideology out there that dying for your Country means something and that it's for a cause (Patriotic) when really it's just the elite playing a game with peoples lives.

    This is a protest song about the Vietnam war, although it makes a broader statement of the need for harmony in our everyday lives. This was one of the first Motown songs to make a political statement. The label had always been focused on making hit songs, but around this time Motown artists like The Temptations and Marvin Gaye started releasing songs with social commentary, many of which were written by Whitfield.

    Jesse Ventura made a great quote one time, he said that everybody that is pro war in politics should have to nominate somebody from within their family to go to war, and everybody should have to pay a war tax and also bring back the draft.....Then maybe more people will wake up, like they did when this song came out.
    AbsentMindedon July 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWAR HUH YEAH! god i love that line so much. the lyrics are so true. protesting the vietnam war. can basically be used for any war, there is a better way, maybe, i dunno if u guys were taught this, but i was taught that fighting doesnt get you anywhere, its better to talk and resolve the problem, i think all world leaders fighting deserve a good whipping, mainly bush.
    petetheeliteon December 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song! It definitely blows away the stereotype that pacifists are wimpy, especially after hearing those vehement grunts in the chorus. I totally agree with the lyrics. Too bad they are just as applicable today as they were during the Vietnam war. I'd love to rally a group and go sing this to President Bush, as well as any young man under 30 who's thinking of joining the army (including my boyfriend, too bad he probably wouldn't listen). All war does is damage people's psyches, leaving those who fight with physical injuries that may never heal, as well as nightmares and paranoia for the rest of their lives. Edwin's got it right.
    goddesscarolineon September 25, 2006   Link

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