War Bass Player B.B. Dickerson Dies at 71
His low end famously drove the band's classic "Low Rider"
Published Apr 05, 2021Morris "B. B." Dickerson — a founding member of the band War — has died. A representative confirmed to Billboard that the bassist and vocalist passed away last Friday (April 2) at a hospital in Long Beach, CA, after a long, undisclosed illness. He was 71.
Born in Torrance, CA, in 1949, Dickerson began playing bass guitar at age 12. In the early 1960s, he performed and recorded with pre-War bands the Creators and the Nightshift, ahead of the latter becoming Eric Burdon and War. The band made their debut with 1970's Eric Burdon Declares "War," which included early hit "Spill the Wine."
Following the group's split with Burdon, Dickerson had a hand in subsequent hits like "The Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends" and "Summer" as bassist, vocalist and co-writer. His lead vocals can be heard on War's 10-minute song "The World Is a Ghetto," while his low end drives 1975's "Low Rider."
Dickerson would leave War in 1979 and go on to form the Lowrider Band in the 1990s with fellow core group members Harold Brown, Lee Oskar and Howard E. Scott.
This group took their name from the hit song of their former band, after a court ruled that the name "War" remained under trademark to producer Jerry Goldstein and his Far Out Productions. Both the Lowrider Band and War — the latter fronted by original keyboardist Lonnie Jordan — have both actively toured in recent years.