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Edwin Starr: The Legendary Soul Singer

Starr's song "Agent Double-O-Soul," which made reference to the well-liked James Bond movies of the time, launched his fame.

Edwin Starr
Edwin Starr

The early life of Edwin Starr

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 21, 1942, Charles Edwin Hatcher was a talented American singer and songwriter better known by his stage name Edwin Starr. He relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where his cousins Willie Hatcher and Roger Hatcher grew up. Hatcher began his musical career in 1957 by founding the Future Tones, a doo-wop group. He barely had one single out before he was enlisted for three years in the American Army. He joined the Bill Doggett musical ensemble after deciding to pursue music as a career after serving in the military. Doggett’s manager, Don Briggs, proposed that he take the name Edwin Starr. Starr’s first solo album was released in 1965 by the Detroit record label Ric-Tic.

Starr’s song “Agent Double-O-Soul,” which made reference to the well-liked James Bond movies of the time, launched his fame. While at Ric-Tic, he continued to have a number of other singles, including “Headline News,” “Back Street,” and “Stop Her on Sight (S.O.S. ).” He created the song “Oh, How Happy” while working for Ric-Tic, which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. In the Holidays’ R&B song “I’ll Love You Forever,” which peaked at number 12 in the charts, Starr also sung lead.

He recorded a few hits after joining Motown before becoming famous around the world with “Twenty-Five Miles,” which he co-wrote with producers Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua. In 1969, it reached its highest position of six on both the Hot 100 and R&B Charts.

Protest Song

In 1970, he achieved his greatest success with the song “War,” a Vietnam War protest song that went on to become a cultural touchstone and an anthem for the anti-war movement. Almost three million copies were sold, and it spent three weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard charts. It received a gold disc and is still utilised in hip-hop samples and movie soundtracks. Starr’s fame was solidified by the success of “War,” which was included on both his War & Peace album and

The success of “War” helped cement Starr’s reputation, and it appeared on both his War & Peace album and its follow-up, Involved, produced by Norman Whitfield. Involved also featured another song of similar construction titled “Stop the War Now,” which was a minor hit in its own right.


Starr relocated to England in the 1970s and remained there until his passing on April 2, 2003. He has had several major hits throughout his career, including “Time,” “Hell Up in Harlem,” and the disco singles “(Eye-to-Eye) Contact” and “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio” in 1979. The former reached its peak at positions 6 on the UK Singles Chart, 65 on the US Pop Chart, 13, on the R&B Chart.

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