As July turned to August in the summer of 1970, a 13-year-old kid who lived a few blocks from Lake Michigan was starting to figure out that although there were many wonderful songs pouring out of his Panasonic AM-FM radio, not all of them were wonderful.
It was a time when that 13-year-old kid listened and, roughly every three hours, thought:
“Hmmm. The Carpenters. Bread. Do not want.”
Not when the Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” is blowing your mind.
When producer Norman Whitfield died two years ago, I thought back to that 13-year-old and what ran through his head when he heard that scorching protest number:
“What should I think about everything referenced in that song?”
“Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation” … and that’s just the flash point.
“Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today,)” the Temptations, from “Greatest Hits II,” 1970. The LP is out of print but the song is available on “Psychedelic Soul,” a 2003 compilation of the Tempts’ heavier, more funked-up tunes.
“Ball of Confusion” was released as a single, and then on the “Greatest Hits II” compilation instead of a conventional studio LP.
The Wisconsin kid’s mind-blowing summer will continue another day …