Ball of Confusion

Highly Appreciated

“Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)”  is a 1970 hit single for The Temptations.  It was released on the Gordy (Motown) label, and written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.  Like “Psychedelic Shack” before it, “Ball of Confusion” delves head-on into psychedelia, this time with a strong political message.  The lyrics list a multitude of problems that were tearing apart the United States in 1970:  the Vietnam War, segregation, white flight, drug abuse, crooked politicians, and more.  The end of each section of the Temptations’ lists of woes is punctuated by bass singer Melvin Franklin’s line, “And the band played on.”   (More from Wikipedia)
Many other artists in the 1960’s also took a whack at psychedelia.  Kenny Rogers’ first band the First Edition had an early hit song with “Just Dropped in (to See What Condition My Condition was In)”; though the lyrics kind of miss the boat, they are still charmingly corny.  “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is one of many great psychedelic songs Donovan came up with.  The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Rolling Stones had Their Satanic Majesties’ Request.  Even Motown got into the act:  The Supremes hit with “Reflections”, while the Temptations had several psychedelic songs – “Psychedelic Shack”, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)”, “Runaway Child, Runnin’ Wild”, and others.  Many were on their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack; one of the biggest hits by the B-52’s, “Love Shack” was in part an homage to this record.
(March 2011)
Last edited: March 22, 2021