In 1970 Motown masterminds Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong (Money, among many others) wrote a song called War for the Temptations that was not released because it was deemed to be too radical.)
Whitfield and Strong then wrote Ball of Confusion, which is psychedelic and strong (like Sly Stone’s stuff), but politically ambiguous. Certainly radical, but hard to pin down. The Temps had a No. 3 hit with that.
At the same time, Motown released a version of War sung by Edwin Starr (who coincidentally wrote Shades of Blue’s great song, Oh How Happy!), that went to No. 1 on the Billboard chart.
Whitfield then recorded a version of Ball of Confusion with his younger and more political group, the Undisputed Truth. Not that Ball of Confusion is a radical song, but Whitfield and Strong, two of the greatest songwriters of the pop era, were always trying to do something bigger. Good for them. What’s interesting is that all three groups, the Temptations, Edwin Starr, and the Undisputed Truth, were signed with Motown. It’s like Berry Gordy knew he could channel Whitfield and Strong’s creative energy into more sales and profits! Different strokes, and all that.