Founded by Eric Burdon, who originally exploded on the scene as the singer of the British Invasion band the Animals (House of the Rising Sun, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood), the band enjoyed its first commercial success with 1970's "Spill the Wine". Burdon left War after collapsing on stage during a European tour in Spring 1971, just before the band's appearance at Celebration of Life. 

Pressing on without their frontman, War continued to tour and record, almost immediately producing their first hit in the post-Burdon period with "Slippin' into Darkness", released in late 1971. This kicked off a string of hit singles that would span the 1970s including "Cisco Kid", "Low Rider", and "Why Can't We Be Friends".