The Cisco Kid (song)

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"The Cisco Kid"
The Cisco Kid - War.jpeg
Single by War
from the album The World Is a Ghetto
B-side"Beetles in the Bog"
ReleasedFebruary 1973 (1973-02)
LabelUnited Artists
  • Thomas Allen
  • Harold Brown
  • Morris "BB" Dickerson
  • Charles Miller
  • Howard Scott
  • Lee Oskar
  • Lonnie Jordan
Producer(s)Jerry Goldstein
War singles chronology
"The World Is a Ghetto"
"The Cisco Kid"
"Gypsy Man"

"The Cisco Kid" is a song performed by War, and written by Thomas Allen; Harold Brown, Morris "BB" Dickerson, Charles Miller, Howard Scott; Lee Oskar and Lonnie Jordan, all members of War at the time. It is the first song on their 1972 album The World Is a Ghetto, and is the group's highest-charting song.

Song description[edit]

The song describes the adventures of Cisco and Pancho, two cowboys from the 1950s TV program The Cisco Kid. The song is known for having a different sequence of notes following each line. A distinct four-note phrase played by saxophone, harmonica, and flute punctuates the end of the first few lines, while a brief jam from the rhythm section follows the next couple. A completely different four-note phrase (this time played by guitar) follows some of the later lyrics, as well as lines of dialogue from the television show---and a three-note sequence repeated twice in a row is played by the harmonica and saxophone. These easy-to-remember hooks, along with the funk-driven rhythm section, make this song one of War's signature tunes, and the "most fun," according to lead vocalist and guitarist Scott.

Chart performance[edit]

In the US, "The Cisco Kid" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks at the end of April and start of May 1973, kept out of #1 by "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by "Tony Orlando and Dawn"[3] On the US R&B singles chart, it peaked at No. 5.[4] It reached No. 1 in Canada on the RPM 100 singles chart.[5] It was certified gold.


Date Chart (1973) Peak
May 19, 1973 Canada RPM Top Singles[6] 1
April 27, 1973 US Billboard Hot 100[7] 2
May 4, 1973 US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[8] 5


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Dave Armstrong (14 March 2013). Beatles, Motown, Beach Boys, Etc.: Classic Rock Discographies, Commentary, and Mono vs. Stereo Analysis. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-105-75588-0.
  2. ^ Vladimir Bogdanov; Chris Woodstra; Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Backbeat Books. p. 1206. ISBN 978-0-87930-653-3.
  3. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart".
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 608.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1973-05-19. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1973-05-19. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  7. ^ "War Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "War Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "American single certifications – War – Cisco Kid". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 21, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]