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"What's Up?" is a song by American rock group 4 Non Blondes from their 1992 debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More! It was released as the album's second single in 1993. It was successful in the United States and in several European countries, peaking at number one in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Background and writing
The title does not appear in the song's lyrics. However, the phrase "what's going on?" is prominently included in the chorus. The title was chosen to avoid confusion with Marvin Gaye's 1971 song "What's Going On". Linda Perry talked to Rolling Stone and said that she heavily disliked the song's production. Perry revealed on Behind the Music that she hated David Tickle's reworked version (with different lyrics) intended to be used for their album. She had told this to Jimmy Iovine, who agreed, preferring Perry's demo version over Tickle's. Tickle's instrumental (over the original vocals) could be heard on Perry's episode of Behind the Music; Tickle's version was never released. The final version was recorded in one day after Iovine allowed 4 Non Blondes to re-record Perry's demo version. The music video was directed by Morgan Lawley.
Critical reception and chart performances
"What's Up?" ranks number 94 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, and ranks 86 on the MuchMoreThe Top 100 One Hit Wonders.
The recording received considerable airplay success. It reached number 14 on the US 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.
Italian disc jockey DJ Miko covered the song as a dance track in 1993 (retitled without the question mark) with vocals provided by British singer Louise Gard. DJ Miko's version was a modest hit in Europe in late 1993 and early 1994, reaching number 5 in Italy and Spain and number 17 in Sweden. The song was then released worldwide in spring 1994, peaking at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart and number 8 on the Irish Singles Chart. On the Eurochart Hot 100, "What's Up" reached number 21. In the United States it reached number 58 on the BillboardHot 100 chart and number 19 on the BillboardDance Club Songs chart. In the Australasia region, "What's Up" was popular in New Zealand, reaching number 23 on the RIANZ Singles Chart, but it was a commercial failure in Australia, reaching number 92 on the ARIA Singles Chart. Although the song was released as a stand-alone single, it later appeared on DJ Miko's sole album, The Last Millennium, in 1999.
In 2015 it appeared in the fourth episode, "What's Going On?", of the Netflix Original series Sense8; the episode's title quotes the song's refrain. The song also appears in the 5th episode of the second season, "Fear Never Fixed Anything" as a remix performed by Riley. Since its feature on the show, the song has become an anthem for the fandom and is often sung by the fans to welcome the cast and crew of the show.