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

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"Ball of Confusion
(That's What the World is Today)"
Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) (album cover).jpg
Single by The Temptations
from the album Greatest Hits II
B-side "It's Summer"
Released May 7, 1970
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville USA (Studio A); April 12 and April 14, 1970
Genre Psychedelic soul
Length 4:06
Label Gordy
G 7099
Songwriter(s) Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong
Producer(s) Norman Whitfield
The Temptations singles chronology
"Psychedelic Shack"
"Ball of Confusion
(That's What the World is Today)
"Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World)"
UK single cover
"Ball of Confusion"
Single by Tina Turner
from the album B.E.F.: Music of Quality And Distinction Volume One
  • "Ball of Confusion"
  • (instrumental)
Released 1982
Format 7"
Recorded 1982
Genre Pop
Length 3:50
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s) Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong
Producer(s) Martyn Ware
Tina Turner singles chronology
"Music Keeps Me Dancin'"
"Ball of Confusion"
"Let's Stay Together"

"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.

The song was used to anchor the 1970 Greatest Hits II LP. The song reached #3 on the US pop charts and #2 on the US R&B charts.[1] Billboard ranked the record as the No. 24 song of 1970.[2] It reached no. 7 in the UK Singles Chart.[3]


In popular culture[edit]

Randy Shilts named his award-winning journalistic account of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On, quoting the lyrics of Ball of Confusion. The repeated use of the phrase "and the band played on" (in the song) signaled that no one was paying proper attention to world problems, the same way the AIDS epidemic was initially ignored. [4][5]

Tina Turner version[edit]

The song "Ball of Confusion" plays an important part in the career of Tina Turner - if only indirectly. Her recording of the track was included on 1982 album Music of Quality And Distinction Volume One, a tribute by the British Electric Foundation featuring members of the new wave band Heaven 17, Love and Rockets and a number of guest vocalists covering 1960s and 1970s hits, among them Sandie Shaw, Paul Jones, Billy Mackenzie, Paula Yates and Gary Glitter.

Turner's synth-driven interpretation of "Ball of Confusion" opened the album and was also issued as a single and became a Top 5 hit in Norway, which led to Capitol Records signing Turner and Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh recording another 1970s cover with her in late 1983. The track was Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" which became a surprise hit single on both sides of the Atlantic and the starting point of Turner's comeback, with the following album Private Dancer going multi-platinum in 1984.[citation needed]

Versions and mixes[edit]

  • Album Version/7" Mix - 3:20
  • 7" Instrumental - 3:20
  • 1991 B.E.F. Remix - 4:11


Chart Peak
Norway 5[6]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 571.
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970
  3. ^ "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)". Official Charts. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) (lyrics by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong". 2 April 2017.
  5. ^ Engel, Margaret. "AIDS and Prejudice: One Reporter's Account of the Nation's Response." The Washington Post, December 1, 1987, p. Z10.
  6. ^ "Song Artist Tina Turner". Retrieved 4 February 2012.