"When the War Is Over" is a rock ballad originally performed by Australian band Cold Chisel on their 1982 album Circus Animals. The song was written by drummer Steve Prestwich and issued as the third single from the album, peaking at #25 on the national singles chart. Like many of the songs from that album that were deliberately written to be as different in style as possible from those on the pop-laced East that had preceded it, "When the War is Over" has a distinctly odd structure. The chorus is repeated at the beginning and end of the song, with the verses in the middle. It also deviates from traditional songwriting by featuring the instrumental break and guitar solo between the first and second verse, instead of the more usual arrangement between the second and third. Guitarist Ian Moss sings lead vocal on the first two verses, with the band's regular lead vocalist Jimmy Barnes singing the third, which rises to a crescendo before returning to the quiet, melodic refrain from the beginning of the song, underlined by more soloing from Moss. Despite this unusual arrangement, "When the War is Over" has become one of Cold Chisel's most popular songs and the one that has been covered by more artists than any other. At least five other versions of the song have been recorded, one of which attained #1 on the Australian music chart.
This song has been covered by both the Little River Band and Uriah Heep. The song's composer was Cold Chisel's drummer Steve Prestwich who later joined the Little River Band.
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