War - Spill the Wine

War - Spill the Wine

‘Spill the Wine’ is the debut single by singer Eric Burdon and the band War, released in May 1970. It was backed by the non-album track ‘Magic Mountain’, and was War's first Billboard chart hit. The song was War's first hit of two with Eric Burdon as vocalist. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked the single the number 20 song of 1970. It was also a top 3 hit in Canada and number 2 in Australia in mid-November 1970.

‘Spill the Wine’ first appeared on the album Eric Burdon Declares War and runs 4:51. Its writing credits include the members of War: Papa Dee Allen, Harold Brown, Eric Burdon, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, and Howard E. Scott. The song was inspired by an accident in which keyboardist Lonnie Jordan spilled wine on a mixing board. It features a prevalent flute solo, and the sound of a woman speaking Spanish is heard in the background. The lady speaking Spanish in the background was Eric Burdon's girlfriend. Says Brown: "We went back there and we put up a little tent, candlelight, and some wine back there. They were behind there, and Eric was doing things to her and making her talk." An edited version, released as a promo single for radio stations and subsequently included on most compilations, omits the middle-spoken recitation, plus one chorus. The song was re-released as a single in 1996, after a remix by Junior Vasquez.

Harold Brown, who was the drummer and a founding member of War, said in an interview, that record executive Steve Gold arranged for War and Eric Burdon to record together. Says Brown: "Steve wanted first to see what we could do. So for about a year we just kept going in and out of studios. And then one day we were up in San Francisco, just playing and stuff. Lonnie (Jordan, War keyboard player) came in acting all drunk and stuff and out. They had a bottle of wine, and some of that wine got spilled in the console. Lee (Oskar, War harmonica player) says he felt that the song didn't have anything to do with the wine going into the console, but all I know is after that they moved out of the A studio, they moved us into the B studio, and then we were playing a Latin thing, and even if Eric had been writing 'Spill The Wine' all along, and writing the concepts, that's when it all came together. I think that Eric was already working on an idea about leaking gnomes waking up in a grassy field, and then when the wine inadvertently got knocked over, whether it was part of the song or not, it all just came together right at that moment."

This is widely believed to be about, or at least heavily influenced by drugs. According to Brown, this song celebrates women: "All ladies are beautiful. You've got to look at them. God, I believe, put all of us here and made us all different so we could be like the flowers, you know. Like women. I look at them as beautiful flowers. Even when they get older, the flowers and so on, and that's what it really boils down to, they can be skinny, big, fat, I've seen some fine voluptuous women. And then I've seen some that are skinny, and if you look at them, they could be beautiful, depending on personality and stuff."

Label –  MGM
Songwriters – Charles Miller, Howard E. Scott, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Harold Ray Brown, Thomas "Papa Dee" Allen, Lee Oskar, Eric Burdon
Producer – Jerry Goldstein


[Instrumental Intro]
[Verse 1]
I was once out strolling
One very hot summer's day
When I thought I'd lay myself down to rest
In a big field of tall grass
I lay there in the sun
And felt it caressing my face
As I fell asleep and dreamed
[Verse 2]
I dreamed I was in a Hollywood movie, yes I did
And that I was the star of the movie
This really blew my mind, the fact that me
An overfed, long-haired leaping gnome
Should be the star of a Hollywood movie, hmm
But there I was, mmm
[Verse 3]
I was taken to a place
The hall of the mountain king
I stood high up on a mountaintop
Naked to the world
In front of every kind of girl
There was long ones, tall ones
Short ones, brown ones
Black ones, round ones
Big ones, crazy ones
[Verse 4]
Out of the middle
Came a lady
She whispered in my ear
Something crazy
She said
"Spill the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl"
[Verse 5]
I thought to myself
What could that mean?
Am I going crazy
Or is this just a dream?
Now wait a minute, I know I'm lying
In a field of grass somewhere
So it's all in my head
And then, I heard her say
One more time
"Spill the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, and take that pearl
Spill the wine, and take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl"
[Verse 6]
I could feel hot flames of fire roaring at my back
As she disappeared, but soon she returned
In her hand was a bottle of wine
In the other, a glass
She poured some of the wine
From the bottle into the glass
And raised it to her lips
And just before she drank it
She said
"Take the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl
Spill the wine, take that pearl
Come on, come on
Spill the wine, take that pearl"
Take that pearl, yeah
It's all yours
All you gotta do is
Spill that wine, spill that wine
Let me feel, let me feel funky
Yeah, ow! Come on
Spill the wine, spill the wine
Spill the wine, spill the wine
Spill the wine, spill the wine
Spill the wine, take that pearl
Ooh! It's all yours...
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