Why Can't We Be Friends? (song)

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"Why Can't We Be Friends?"
War Why Can't We Be Friends single.jpg
Single by War
from the album Why Can't We Be Friends?
B-side "In Mazatlan"
Released April 1975
Format 7"
Recorded 1974
Length 3:50
Label ABC, United Artists
Writer(s) Papa Dee Allen, Harold Ray Brown, B. B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott
Producer(s) Jerry Goldstein
War singles chronology
"Why Can't We Be Friends?"
"Low Rider"

"Why Can't We Be Friends?" is a song by the band War. The song has a simple structure, with the phrase "Why can't we be friends?" being sung four times after each two-line verse amounting to over forty times in under four minutes. The song reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1975. It was played in outer space when NASA beamed it to the linking of Soviet cosmonauts and U.S. astronauts for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.[1] Billboard ranked it as the No. 23 song of that year.

Chart performance[edit]

Inclusion in media[edit]

The song is played during the freshman hazing scene in Dazed and Confused. It also plays over the end credits in Lethal Weapon 4 during the farewell montage (which shows flashback photographs from all four of the films), was covered in BASEketball and Bridge to Terabithia, and was played in The Final Destination. A clip of the song is played as Homer Simpson's entrance music in Season 8 Episode 3 of The Simpsons, "The Homer They Fall". The Smash Mouth version was used for commercials and TV spots for the film Ice Age. The song was also used in the intro video of the video game Operation Flashpoint: Red River. The opening of the song was used in a trailer for W. Kamau Bell's United Shades of America show on CNN.

Smash Mouth version[edit]

"Why Can't We Be Friends?"
Smash Mouth - Why Can't We Be Friends (single cover).jpg
Single by Smash Mouth
from the album Fush Yu Mang
Released April 7, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded 1997
Length 4:46 (Album Version)
3:17 (Radio Edit)
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Papa Dee Allen, Harold Ray Brown, B. B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott
Producer(s) Eric Valentine
Smash Mouth singles chronology
"Walkin' on the Sun"
"Why Can't We Be Friends?"
"The Fonz"

American pop rock band Smash Mouth covered the song on their debut album Fush Yu Mang on April 7, 1998, releasing it as their second single.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1998) Position
Australian Singles Chart[5] 67
Dutch Singles Chart 89
New Zealand Singles Chart 39
Swedish Singles Chart 29
U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs 28


  1. ^ Gabriel San Roman (December 23, 2010). "WAR Is the Answer (and the Question) for Lonnie Jordan". OC Weekly. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1975/Top 100 Songs of 1975". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  4. ^ "Music — Why Can't We Be Friends? - Single by Smash Mouth". Amazon. Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart Week Ending 24 May 1998". ARIA. Retrieved February 4, 2016.