The Cisco Kid
by War

Album: The World Is A Ghetto (1972)
Charted: 2
Play Video


  • The Cisco Kid was a popular TV show that ran from 1950-1956, and also a series of movies. The title character, played by Duncan Renaldo in the TV show, was a Mexican cowboy who embarked on various adventures in the Old West.
  • War guitarist Howard Scott came up with the idea for this song. Drummer Harold Brown told us how it came together: "Howard has always been a major contributor. He was in Compton, he had this apartment. I came up there and when I got up there he was sitting on his amp. He said, 'Harold, I got this idea. Cisco kid was a friend of mine.' That idea came about because there were no ethnic heroes at that time. Mainly, we were seeing people like Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers. There wasn't really anybody to relate to except Cisco Kid. He was like the total different kind of person.

    We wanted to give kids, people, another alternative besides the ones that were right in our face, obvious heroes. And it worked out really good, because it had the right kind of hook, it was a fun song. People at that time didn't want to be hearing about no more wars or anything, they just wanted fun music. And the tonality was brilliant."
  • Brown's drumming was inspired by a Sam & Dave song called "I Thank You." He used a technique where he played on the rim.
  • The band got to meet Cisco Kid star Duncan Renaldo. Says Brown: "We went up to his house, and his wife made sure to let everybody know, 'He don't drink. He don't drink no wine.' I remember that to this day. They were beautiful, warm people. We sat there with him. He lived up in Camarillo, up outside of Santa Barbara, California."
  • During War's live shows, they sometimes used a Cisco Kid movie clip to open the show. In the clip, The Cisco Kid would say, "See you later, amigo," and War would go into this song. (Thanks to Harold Brown for speaking with us about this song. Along with 3 other original members of War, Brown formed The Lowrider Band in 2007. Check out their website at

Comments: 6

  • Kelley G. from DmvWhat kind of Whistle does Harold Brown uses in the band War songs
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 20th 1929, the western movie 'In Old Arizona' opened in theaters across the U.S.A.; it was the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors...
    Warner Baxter starred as the Cisco Kid; and he won the Academy Award in the 'Best Actor' category, the film was nominated for three other Oscars...
    And a little over forty four years later on February 25th, 1973, "The Cisco Kid" by War entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #79...
    {See next post}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 25th 1973, "The Cisco Kid" by War entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #79; and on April 22nd it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #5 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    The two weeks it was at #2 on the Top 100, the #1 record was "Tie A Yellow Ribbob Round The Ole Oak Tree" by Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando...
    Was track one of side one on the group's fifth studio album, 'The World Is a Ghetto', and on February 11th, 1973 the album reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Top 100 Albums chart...
    Was the second in a string of three straight Top 10 records by the group; started with "The World Is A Ghetto" (#7), then this one, and finally "Gypsy Man" (#8).
  • James from Diamond Bar, CaThe Cisco Kid- War's Greatest Record- Yes Better than Spill The Wine But Both Are Great It's That Bass Line- Unforgettable- This Song- Cisco Kid Heard Everywhere From East LA To East Side Chicago To Lower Manhattan - Thanks Guys
  • Constance from Dallas, TxWAR legendary great band! Very talented
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaI was a white boy up in Seattle, but we "got it" enjoying this song for it's funky fun beat, but also recognizing that it was making a point about our heroes needing a little diversity. Things get better, but it's always a struggle/
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.

The Fratellis

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillian

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About Transgenderism

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.