What’s Up ~ 4 Non Blondes

Bassist Christa Hillhouse knew guitarist Shaunna Hall for many years in San Francisco. They met drummer Wanda Day, and after witnessing Linda Perry sing solo at a club they convinced her to join the band. In an interesting coincidence, October 17, 1989 was the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake that hit San Francisco and was supposed to be their first day of rehearsal.

The band picked the name, 4 Non Blondes, after an incident in a San Francisco park where the band members were having pizza. Apparently, a family was walking by, and their little boy wanted to grab some left over pizza to feed the birds. He was told by his parents, “No, don’t touch that, that’s dirty from all the birds and people around here,  and they proceeded to give the band members a dirty look. The family was supposedly “very blonde”, so they decided to call themselves 4 Non Blondes. There are also some who believe the name was inspired by the band Concrete Blonde who is an influence to the band’s sound.

Wanda Day was fired from 4 Non Blondes because of drug use shortly before the making of the album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! (she died in 1997). While promoting the song “What’s Up”, lead singer Linda Perry, who wrote the song and had recently discovered she was a lesbian, displayed a “dyke” sticker prominently plastered on her guitar for a performance on Late Night with David Letterman.

Dawn Richardson replaced Day, after being introduced to the group by mutual friend Cherie Lovedog; but as the recording of their first album progressed, producer David Tickle replaced Hall with a session guitarist. Roger joined after the recording was completed.

What’s Up

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/four_non_blondes-whats_up.flv[/flv]

25 years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I realised quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made for this
Brotherhood of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning and I step
Outside and I take deep breath
And I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s goin’ on?

And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea
I said hey! what’s goin’ on?
And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea
I said hey! what’s goin’ on?

Oooh, oo! ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo
Oo-ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoooo
Oooh! ooo-aah-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo
Oo-ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoooo

And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time
In this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take deep breath
And I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s goin’ on?

And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea
I said hey! what’s goin’ on?
And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea
I said hey! what’s goin’ on?

And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea I said hey! what’s goin’ on
And I sing hey-yeah-yea-eah, eah hey yea yea
I said hey! what’s goin’ on?

Oooh, oo! ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo
Oo-ooh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoooo-ahh-haa

25 years of my life and still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination…

  • Audio from 1992 Bigger, Better, Faster, More! album:

(648)

About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

Got a comment?