Battle of the Bands (BOTB): “Ball of Confusion”


It’s another Battle of the Bands! Today I’m featuring the song Ball of Confusion, an original by Motown greats the Temptations. Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

“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.

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.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Here is their politically charged song. This is NOT part of the contest. Just wanted you to hear the original, in case you’re not already familiar. (And for more Temptations music, you might want to check out my A-Z Musical Tour of My Life post that features the Temptations. There are a ton of great videos so it may take a minute to load…but it’s worth it!)



Today’s contest is between Duran Duran and Love & Rockets:

Duran Duran – Duran Duran is an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1978. They were a successful band of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States. Here is their version of Ball of Confusion:


Love & Rockets – Love and Rockets were an English alternative rock band formed in 1985 by former Bauhaus members Daniel Ash (vocals, guitar and saxophone), David J (bass guitar and vocals) and Kevin Haskins (drums and synthesisers) after the group split in 1983.

Despite their previous band’s status as gothic rock icons, Love and Rockets moved towards a slightly brighter and more pop-influenced sound, as demonstrated by their first minor hit being a cover of the Motown classic “Ball of Confusion.” (Source: Wikipedia). Here is their version of the song:


TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why?

And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

34 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands (BOTB): “Ball of Confusion”

  1. Interesting covers by groups that I wouldn’t have expected to cover a song like this, but it works for both of them.

    It’s a pretty close choice to my ears. I prefer Duran Duran’s cover. There seems to be more interesting things happening on their take of the hit.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, dear Michele! In my opinion, the Temptations’ best years were behind them by the time they recorded “Ball of Confusion.” The Motown men were at their peak in the mid 60s when they were singing love songs. I did not embrace their transiton into psychedelia, social consciousness themes and protest songs.

    I can’t get into Duran Duran’s New Wave interpretation of the song, either. “Ball of Confusion” doesn’t sound like a Duran Duran song and doesn’t benefit from their treatment of it.

    Love & Rockets gets my vote in this contest because their version is more dramatic, powerful, authoritative and credible. Thank you, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I value your opinion Shady. I really like the Temptations version of Ball of Confusion though. I can play it over and over. To me, there’s just something about it.
      Thanks for coming by today and voting: I have you down for Love & Rockets.
      See you ’round the blogosphere Shady!


  3. I was NOT a fan of the psychedelic years of music. But this song could still apply to the way things are today! I preferred the Temptations singing about love. I didn’t care for the Duran Duran version at all. Too “rocky” for my taste. I give my vote to Love and Rockets. Easier on the ears!! LOL


  4. I love the song and love The Temptations. Duran Duran has never done anything for me, and they still don’t. I was worried because I’ve never heard of Love and Rockets. Then I listened to their version, and I thought, Yes! That sound works with the words. A little bit robotic, just like society.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d never heard this song by anyone before today. So, I listened to The Temptations just for the purpose of familiarity with the original.

    In high school, I was a huge Duran Duran fan. Mostly I was a John Taylor fan (the bassist) and I loved Duran Duran by default. That is how 16 year old girls think I guess. sigh. Anyway, I had never heard this song by them (surprise!) and really didn’t like it (bigger surprise!). I also really liked Love and Rockets in college, but never heard this one (surprise again!). Anyway, I thought Love and Rockets nailed it. They get my vote:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Lots of surprises for you today! Yay! That was funny about how 16 year old girls think. Yes indeed they do! I remember those days… 🙂
      Gotcha down for Love and Rockets Robin! Thanks for your vote


  6. I was never one for Duran Duran and I know the version of Love and Rockets-I mean the 80’s was my fun time (half I don’t remember which means I had tons of fun:)) I enjoy the version of Love and Rockets because it seems more in keeping with the lyrics. i like the edgy music effects also

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh those days and nights we can’t remember!!! But somehow we knew we had fun!
      Thanks for your vote: Love and Rockets is racking it up!


  7. Difficult choice today. Trying to decide which I like more.
    Let me listen once more………
    Just listened to again. Still unsure about my vote. Both versions are good.
    I’m going with my gut on this. My gut is telling me to vote Love & Rockets.
    Hard to really pinpoint why I like this one over Duran Duran. There really is no definite reason for me. Just a gut feeling to vote for them.
    Fantastic battle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jeffrey. Yeah, I think both versions are really good too. But that’s a good thing though, I guess. I think I’m tending to lean toward Love & Rockets but it’s a toss up for me too. Thanks for your vote!


  8. I thought the original was very unusual for The Temptations and never really cared for it all that much. The Duran Duran version didn’t do anything for me, but the video was entertaining. I guess I’ll give my vote to Love and Rockets by default. Their version wasn’t bad, but it too, didn’t really thrill me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmmm… Well, I’m not sure I ever even heard the original by The Temptations. My Ma used to own the album ‘PSYCHEDELIC SHACK’, but I think that might be the only song I remember from their psychedelic era.

    I didn’t like any New Wave bands from the ’80s (except the first album by The Cars), but in this case I think I’ll vote for Flock Of Duran. (Oh, you know who I mean.)

    There should have been an ’80s band called ‘HAIR GEL AND SYNTHESIZERS’. Ha!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Lots of hair gel back then!! I never heard psychedelic shack but am playing it right now. It’s okay. I like Ball of Confusion way better.
      Okay, got ya down for Flock of Duran… 🙂
      Thanks for your vote Stephen.


  10. Michele, I don’t remember this song at all. I didn’t care for Duran, Duran’s cover — too much thumping of the base which makes me think of heavy metal for some reason. Love and Rockets, new-to-me, get my vote because it suited my listening pleasure better.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.