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Embed“What's Up?” by 4 Non Blondes on historicsweetsballroom.com
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“What’s Up” was the second single from the 1992 album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! by 4 Non Blondes. It shot the band into international stardom, topping the charts in seven countries, reaching #2 in three more (including the UK) and peaking at #14 in the US, making them the first openly lesbian group to reach the top 40 there.
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Bassist Christa Hillhouse recalled hearing Linda Perry working on the song for the first time:
For a short time, Linda had quit her job and she was living with me in this little 2-bedroom flat in San Francisco. She wrote the song when she was in a room down the hall. I was in my bedroom having sex, and I stopped because I heard her playing that song. I remember running down the hall and saying, ‘Dude, what are you playing? I like that.’ We had a lot of rock, thrashy stuff back then, but Linda always would pull her ballads out. I remember being struck by it. She kept looking at me, going, ‘Does this sound like something? Am I plagiarizing someone?“ I said, "Finish the song, it’s beautiful.’ It caught on at our shows right away, people really liked it.
The song was titled “What’s Up”, despite the phrase not appearing in its lyrics, to avoid confusion with the Marvin Gaye song “What’s Going On”.
In 1994, DJ Miko covered the song with British vocalist Louise Gard. His dance club version found its biggest success in Sweden and New Zealand. In the US, it peaked at #58.
“What’s Up” is both remembered as one of the “Top 100 One-Hit Wonders” of all time and conversely one of the “Worst Songs Ever”.
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It found new life in the 2010s thanks to a remake by SLACKCiRCUS titled “Fabulous Secret Powers” using characters from the 80s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.