Still, a Ball of Confusion

They say a generation can be defined by its music. I spent my teenage years in the late 60's and the early 70's. I bailed out of being a typical teen by joining the Navy at age 17, but still there was a lot of good music during my "formative" years. Yes, some of the music was 'poppy'. Current teens have Justin Bieber, we had 1910 Fruitgum Company. But there was some awesome music and there was also a lot of protest music. For us naive teens (most teens were naive since there was no cable TV and no Internet), the music was just tunes. The words were interesting but didn't have as big of an impact on us as it did on the college students of the time, who were just coming into their "I know everything and all adults are stupid" age.

Hippies were everywhere and the Summer of Love was still fresh in everyone's mind. Vietnam was still raging and most of the youth were either protesting or at least non-supportive, probably as much out of fear of the draft as they were of the inhumanity of the war. Another interesting feature of the counter-culture of the 60's was that they were pretty much against ALL government. Compare that with our current counter-culture which is primarily against conservative government. (I think that the love of liberal, progressive government by radicals is a marriage of convenience... the enemy of my enemy syndrome, but that is the subject of another blog post.)

What got me thinking about the juxtaposition of a great song with strong, protesting lyrics is the song Ball of Confusion by the Temptations. It was a huge hit from Motown when Motown actually released good music. I am currently listening to the book Return to Prosperity by Arthur Laffer where he is listing all of the ways that recent administrations have meddled with the economy to the point where it is almost a basket case. That song immediately popped into my mind. Here are the lyrics:


Ball of Confusion

People movin' out
People movin' in
Why, because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vote for me, and I'll set you free
Rap on brother, rap on
Well, the only person talkin'
'Bout love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems,
Nobody is interested in learnin'
But the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration,
Integration, aggravation,
Humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball of Confusion
That's what the world is today

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walk around with
Their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time
And, the beat goes on

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,
Sound of soul
Shootin' rockets to the moon
Kids growin' up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on
So round 'n' round 'n' round we go
Where the world's headed, nobody knows
Just a Ball of Confusion
Oh yea, that's what the wold is today

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast,
The Beatles' new record's a gas
And the only safe place to live is
On an indian reservation
And the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand,
Population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills, hippies movin'
To the hills
People all over the world, are shoutin'
End the war
And the band played on.

Copyright 1970 Jobete Music Company, Inc.


Here is the video:



Recognizing that the more things change, the more things stay the same, I thought I would modify the words to bring the song up to date, especially for the chilluns that may not know the nuance of some of the original phrases (especially since most of this year's American Idol contestants didn't know any Beatles songs.)


Listen to the video while you follow these lyrics


Ball of Confusion (redux)

People movin' far
People movin' wide
Why, because of the name of their tribe
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vote for me, and I'll give it for free
Rap on brother, rap on
Well, every one's talkin'
'Bout love thy brother but the Imam
And it seems,
Nobody is interested in learnin'
But the home school teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration,
Integration, aggravation,
Humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball of Confusion
That's what the world is today

Patriotism's at an all time high
Young folks walk around with
Their celly close by
Cities aflame while they Tweet and die
And, the beat goes on

Global warming, coarse speech warning, gun control,
Sharia law
Shootin' teargas in the crowd
Kids chanting way to loud
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on
So round 'n' round 'n' round we go
Where the world's headed, nobody knows
Just a Ball of Confusion
Oh yea, that's what the world is today

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast,
Bieber's new record's a gas
And the only safe place to live is
In a bunker in Montana
And the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, bill collectors
iPhones in demand,
Population out of hand
Foreclosure, too many bills, old folks movin'
To the hills
People all over the world, are shoutin'
Start the war
And the band played on.


Copyright 2011 The-Asterisk (with apologies to the Temptations)

Great Googa Mooga!


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