Original Song: Marvin Gaye "What's Goin' On" (1971)


Cyndi broke through with cover versions, really good ones: Side One of her smash 1983 breakout She's So Unusual opened with the Brains (“Money Changes Everything), Robert Hazard (“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”), and pre-superstar-era Prince (“When You Were Mine.”) Creative choices, all.

But when she followed up with 1986's True Colors, she was clearly downplaying her “unusual” side. So she did a freeze-dried version of this canonizzzzed soul protest that completely drained out the groove that had made it move in the first place. It was always fairly vague (only the third-best current-events lesson on the Marvin Gaye album named for it); Cyndi made it vapid.