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America, World: ‘Ball of Confusion’

The song of 46 years ago, speaks broadly of America in 2017

Temptations soul group sang ‘Ball of Confusion’ with conviction in 1971; names, places, events have changed, but world, America remains the same

The Motown R&B group, the Temptations, strung together a spectacular slew of Top 10 hits in the 1960s and 1970s that cannot be denied. Along with the Beatles and Elvis Presley, the Temptations enthralled audiences like no other performers ever in the history of the music business.

One Temptations offering, the 1971 socio-consciousness smash, “Ball of Confusion,” clearly defined the swirling issues of the day — war, illicit drugs, social unrest…. The song of 46 years ago, speaks broadly of America in 2017. The opening two lines hit squarely on fraying race relations and gentrification in the inner cities — two current themes of today.

When the Temps sang, “Great Googamooga, can’t you hear me talking to you? It’s a ball of confusion,” they prophetically were speaking to America, today.

Read the song’s lyrics and you will find a remarkable reflection of Donald Trump, Afghanistan, probes to Mars, street drugs, and other issues of the here and now:

Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walking round with their heads in the sky
The cities a flame in the summer time
And oh, the beat goes on

Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul
Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
And the band played on

So, round and around and around we go
Where the world’s headed, said nobody knows
Oh, great Googamooga
Can’t you hear me talking to you?
Just a ball of confusion

Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.


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