BB Dickerson, Bassist and Vocalist for War, Dies at 71

Funk rock band topped the charts with their 1973 album “The World Is a Ghetto”

Last Updated: April 4, 2021 @ 3:50 PM

Morris “B.B.” Dickerson, one of the founding members of the legendary funk rock band War, died on Friday at a Long Beach hospital after a long battle with an undisclosed illness, according to Billboard.

Born in Southern California, Dickerson was one of the seven musicians — along with his uncle Howard E. Scott — who teamed up with band creator Eric Burdon to form War. They released their first album “Eric Burdon Declares ‘War'” in 1970 and swiftly won over fans with their groundbreaking, genre-defying sound. The band reached new heights in 1973 with their fifth album, “The World Is A Ghetto,” which became the top-selling album of the year while its single, “The Cisco Kid,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1975, War hit the top 10 again with the single “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” which was broadcast to Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts who teamed up that year for the joint Apollo-Soyuz test mission. Dickerson left the band four years later during the recording of War’s 12th album, “The Music Band.”

Dickerson later reunited with Scott and original War members Harold Brown and Lee Oskar in 1996 to perform some of the band’s classic songs, though due to lengthy legal disputes with the band’s producer Jerry Goldstein, they were unable to use the War name. While War continued on with keyboardist Lonnie Jordan as the sole remaining original member, the quartet performed live as The Lowrider Band, named after another one of War’s most famous hits, “Low Rider,” which was made famous by an iconic bass line from Dickerson.

Dickerson is survived by his mother, his uncle and his children.