What's Up? (song)

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"What's Up?"
Single by 4 Non Blondes
from the album Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
B-side Piano version
Released June 23, 1993
Format 7" single, cassette,
CD single, CD maxi
Recorded 1992
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:55 (album version)
4:15 (single edit)
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Linda Perry
Producer(s) David Tickle
4 Non Blondes singles chronology
"Dear Mr. President"
(1993)
"What's Up?"
(1993)
"Spaceman"
(1993)
Music sample

"What's Up?" is a rock song written by Linda Perry for 4 Non Blondes' 1992 debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More!. It was released as the album's second single in 1993. It was very successful in Brazil[1] and in several European countries, peaking at number one in Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Background and writing[edit]

Despite the title, the song does not contain the phrase "what's up?" Rather, the lyric "what's goin' on?" is prominently included in the chorus. The title was chosen to avoid confusion with the 1971 R&B song and album "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye.[2] The music video was directed by Morgan Lawley.[3]

Critical reception and chart performances[edit]

"What's Up?" ranks number 94 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders,[4] and ranks 86 on the MuchMore The Top 100 One Hit Wonders.[5] Conversely, it is ranked number 19 on Spinner.com's list of the "Top 20 Worst Songs Ever".[6] In September 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at number 20 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, calling it "[t]he sonic equivalent of those 'hang in there' posters with the cat on a tree limb, except much screechier."[7]

The recording received considerable airplay success. It reached number 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and went gold, but peaked higher in many other countries, reaching number one in Germany and Ireland, while reaching number two in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Track listings[edit]

7" single / CD single
  1. "What's Up?" – 4:16
  2. "What's Up?" (piano version) – 4:09
CD maxi
  1. "What's Up?" (edit) – 4:16
  2. "What's Up?" (remix) – 4:51
  3. "Train" – 3:47
  4. "What's Up?" (piano version) – 4:09
Cassette
  1. "What's Up?" (LP version)
  2. "Train" (LP version)
  3. "What's Up?" (LP version)
  4. "Train" (LP version)

Personnel[edit]

  • Written by L. Perry
  • Mastered by Stephen Marcussen
  • Recorded, mixed and produced by David Tickle

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"What Is Love" by Haddaway
Irish IRMA number-one single
July 18, 1993 – August 15, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Living on My Own" by Freddie Mercury
Preceded by
"Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat
Norwegian VG-lista number-one single
32/1993 – 42/1993 (11 weeks)
Preceded by
"Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
August 7, 1993 – October 9, 1993 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"It Keeps Rainin' (Tears from My Eyes)" by Bitty McLean
Preceded by
"(I Can't Help) Falling in Love with You" by UB40
Swedish number-one single
August 11, 1993 – September 15, 1993 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Life" by Haddaway
Preceded by
"(I Can't Help) Falling in Love with You" by UB40
"Life" by Haddaway
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
August 14, 1993 – August 21, 1993 (2 weeks)
October 16, 1993 (1-week)
Succeeded by
"Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat
"Living on My Own" by Freddie Mercury
Preceded by
"Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat
Swiss number-one single
August 15, 1993 – November 14, 1993 (14 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf
Preceded by
"(I Can't Help) Falling in Love with You" by UB40
Ö3 Austria Top 40 number-one single
August 15, 1993 – November 7, 1993 (13 weeks)
Preceded by
"Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat
German number-one single
August 20, 1993 – October 22, 1993 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Go West" by Pet Shop Boys

Cover versions[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1993–1994) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[38] 21
Canada Dance (RPM)[39] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[40] 22

In popular culture[edit]

YouTube user Slackcircus made a very popular cover of "What's Up?" (which also samples "Don't Cry Out Loud") set to scenes from the 1980s animated television series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe called "Fabulous Secret Powers", a reference to the show's opening narration.[41] A truncated version, titled "HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA", went viral on YouTube with over 43 million views as of July 2014.[42]

The song appeared in the 2011 film Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron.[43]

A cover of the song, performed by Lauren Tate, appeared in the ninth episode of the second season of sci-fi television series Defiance in August 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Linda Perry interview". Guitar Center. Retrieved February 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ Songfacts.com "What's Up?" entry
  3. ^ http://www.mtvmusic.my/artist/four_non_blondes/videos/46181/whats_up
  4. ^ VH1's "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders"[dead link]
  5. ^ "The Top 100 One Hit Wonders". MuchMore. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  6. ^ "Top 20 Worst Songs Ever"
  7. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (September 11, 2010). "100 Worst Songs Ever – Part Five of Five". AOL Radio. Retrieved December 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ "What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ Canadian peak
  12. ^ "Lescharts.com – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes" (in French). Les classement single.
  13. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  14. ^ Irish Singles Chart. Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved April 7, 2009. Chart can't be linked directly; you must search for What's Up? or 4 Non Blondes.
  15. ^ "Hit Parade Italia" (in Italian). Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – What's Up? search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ "What's up ? in GfK Dutch Chart". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Charts.org.nz – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes". Top 40 Singles.
  19. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes". VG-lista.
  20. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes". Singles Top 60.
  21. ^ "What's Up? – 4 Non Blondes – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  22. ^ UK Singles Chart. Chartstats.com(Link redirected to OCC website). Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  23. ^ a b c Billboard singles. Allmusic.com. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  24. ^ "4 Non Blondes awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "1993 Australian Singles Chart". aria. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  26. ^ "1993 Austrian Singles Chart" (in German). Austriancharts. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Single top 100 over 1993" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  28. ^ "1993 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  30. ^ Austrian certifications. ifpi.at. Retrieved April 4, 2009. Chart can't be linked directly; you must search for What's Up or 4 Non Blondes.
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('What's Up')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Gold/Platin" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  33. ^ Dutch certifications. nvpi.nl. Retrieved April 4, 2009.[dead link]
  34. ^ Swedish certifications. Ifpi.se. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – 4 Non Blondes – What's Up?". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 November 2012.  Enter What's Up? in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  36. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMlK2nR6hEg
  37. ^ http://www.homelesstunes.com/john-craigie-leave-the-fire-behind
  38. ^ "Ultratop.be – What's Up – Dance Version – Minnesota" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  39. ^ Canadian peak
  40. ^ "What's Up – Dance Version – Minnesota – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  41. ^ "Fabulous Secret Powers". 
  42. ^ "HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA". 
  43. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1625346/soundtrack?ref_=tt_trv_snd

External links[edit]