#3 hit single by The Temptations in 1970< read all 1 reviews
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. "Round and around and around we go", the Temptations sing, "where the world's headed/nobody knows." 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."
"Ball of Confusion's" lyrics are delivered over an up-tempo instrumental track with two drum tracks (one for each stereo channel), multitracked wah-wah guitars, and an ominous bassline by Funk Brother Bob Babbitt that opens the song. Norman Whitfield's dramatic count-in, always recorded at the very start of a recording for synching purposes only, was left in the mix for this record.
Despite its strong political themes, the record consciously avoids implying a definitive point-of-view or a defiant stance. This is because the Temptations song "War", which Norman Whitfield intended as a spring 1970 single release, was not released due to Motown's concern the song's ...