From yesterday’s Chain of Fools, could there by be any more apt song to capture the flavour of our current troubling times? Co-penned by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, two of Motown’s most prolific and greatest writers, this psychedelic soul number heading up a greatest hits album came in 1970 in the shadow of the Vietnam War and Nixon, a decade of racial tensions, civil rights protests and the first moon landings, but it’s not stretch to apply it to the bewildering dangerous, corrupt and hate-filled chaos of today’s US administration. It's also an unusually political song for the Motown label and for a band who mostly sang about love.
It has been covered by an extraordinary variety of other artists, including The Neville Brothers, Tina Turner (a key moment in her resurgence in the 1980s) Duran Duran, Anthrax, Sandie Shaw, Paul Jones, Billy Mackenzie, Paula Yates and, er, Gary Glitter. But this remains the definitive version, influenced by the high-low voice styles of Sly and the Family Stone and a Jimi Hendrix-style guitar opening. Subtitled 'That’s What The World Is Today', nothing has changed much, has it? At least the music remains great.
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