Basic Background Info

Birth: March 17, 1946
Location: Long Beach, California
Band: War
Genres: Funk
Instruments: Drums, Violin
Occupation: Musician, Band Leader, Tour Guide


Harold Ray Brown, born in Long Beach, California, first pursued music through conga drums and then the violin before settling on the drums in junior high school. Together with school chum Howard E. Scott, Harold Ray Brown played his first professional gig while he still attended high school. Recognizing the potential for financial gain, Harold founded the Creators to perform at high school dances and car shows.

After a few years, Howard E. Scott again joined Harold Ray Brown and, along with bassist Peter Rosen and percussionist Thomas Sylvester Allen, they renamed the group Night Shift. After a performance in North Hollywood, vocalist Eric Burdon and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar jammed with Night Shift. The two joined up with Night Shift, and before long, Burdon took over the entire act and led them under another name: War.

War consistently performed eclectic funk music throughout the 1970s. They fused soul, Latin, jazz, blues, reggae, and rock to create their unique sound. Within their music, the band often discussed the sociopolitical climate of the era, but always with an optimistic twist. In a similar vein, the band was remarkably democratic with no musician indulging in solos. Instead, the entire group grooved and jammed as equals.

Although they struggled with their initial records and Burdon's waffling over whether he wanted to perform with the band or as a solo act, the 1971 All Day Music album became a top 20 hit and sold more than one million albums. Their next release, The World Is a Ghetto, was the best selling album of 1973.

When disco started pushing funk out of mainstream popularity in the late 1970s, War faded into the background. They tried to jump on the disco bandwagon and even went so far as to add new members to the band. But those efforts (The Music Band and The Music Band 2) proved entirely fruitless. Band members started leaving and by 1985, the group only occasionally toured and ceased recording new music altogether. However, modern hip hop and rap outfits frequently sampled War's funky beats, so their popularity and relevance never left the scene completely.

After Harold Ray Brown left War in 1983, he earned a college degree in computer science and a minor in music. Most recently, Harold served as a historian and tour guide in New Orleans. Harold Ray Brown performs in the Lowrider Band with Howard Scott, Morris Dickerson, and Lee Oskar, all former members of War.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1970 Eric Burdon Declares "War" Eric Burdon & War
1971 All Day Music War
1971 Black-Man's Burdon Eric Burdon & War
1971 Guilty Eric Burdon
1971 War War
1972 World Is a Ghetto War
1973 Deliver the Word War
1973 Live at the Watts Jazz Festival, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1973 War Live War
1974 Radio Free War War
1974 Live War
1975 Why Can't We Be Friends? War
1976 Greatest Hits War
1976 Lee Oskar Lee Oskar
1976 Love Is All Around Eric Burdon
1976 Love Is All Around War
1977 Galaxy War
1977 Platinum Jazz War
1978 Youngblood War
1979 Black & White Blues Eric Burdon
1979 Music Band 2 War
1979 Music Band War
1980 My Road, Our Road Lee Oskar
1980 The Music Band Live War
1982 Outlaw War
1983 Life (Is So Strange) War
1987 Welcome to My Dream Tawatha
1990 Sybilization Sybil
1992 Best of Lee Oskar Lee Oskar
1993 Doin' It Now! Sybil
1994 Anthology (1970-1994) War
1994 Peace Sign War
1994 Pick Up on This! Beau Jocque & the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
1996 Best of Eric Burdon & War Eric Burdon & War
1997 Reggae Crazy: Anthology, 1971-1979 The Meditations
1998 Loup Garou Bruce Sunpie Barnes & the Louisiana Suns
1999 Grooves & Messages: Greatest Hits of War War
1999 Music Band, Vols. 1-2 War
2002 Smokin' Christmas Smoky Greenwell
2003 Mardi Gras: Language of New Orleans, Vol. 7 Various Artists
2003 Very Best of War War
2004 Creole Bred: A Tribute to Creole & Zydeco Various Artists
2004 Retrospective The Animals
2006 Change in the Weather Eric Lindell
2007 Loose Grooves: Funkin' Live in England 1980 War
2008 Unconquered War


  • Harold Ray Brown was born the oldest of six children.
  • During his summers, Harold works with youth from the inner city in order to promote good citizenship.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Workshop

Pics & Clips