|Released 30 June 1980|
Producer Queen, Mack
Label Elektra Records
The Game (1980) Flash Gordon (1980)
Release date 30 June 1980
|Recorded June – July 1979, February – May 1980|
Studio Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
Genres Rock music, Hard rock, Progressive rock, Pop rock, Rock and roll, Funk rock
Awards Juno Award for International Album of the Year
Similar Queen albums, Rock music albums
Queen play the game
The Game is the eighth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 30 June 1980. It was the only Queen album to reach #1 in the US and became their best selling studio album in the US with four million copies sold to date, tying News of the World's US sales tally. The album received very favourable reviews. Notable songs on the album include the bass-driven "Another One Bites the Dust" and the rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", both of which reached #1 in the US. The Game was the first Queen album to use a synthesiser (an Oberheim OB-X).
- Queen play the game
- Queen play the game official video
- Band appraisal
The Game features a different sound than its predecessor, Jazz. The album's style would be augmented on Queen's next release Hot Space, and future Queen albums. At approximately 35 minutes 39 seconds, The Game is the second shortest of Queen's studio albums, with their subsequent soundtrack for the film Flash Gordon being shorter by 39 seconds. It is estimated to have sold 4 million copies worldwide.
Reissued on May 2003 on DVD-Audio with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and DTS 5.1. The 5.1 mix of "Coming Soon" features an alternate backing track, because the final master tapes were not found when mixing the album to 5.1.
The photo on the cover of the EMI CD is different from that originally used on the LP and cassette even though the Hollywood CD still has the original photo. The original photo (with Roger Taylor having folded arms and Brian May not having a hand resting upon his exposed hip) is shown in the article. This alternate photo was also used on the cover of the album in the Crown Jewels box set released in 1998, and on the DTS DVD-Audio edition of the album released in 2003.
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Sail Away Sweet Sister", "Coming Soon" and "Save Me" were recorded from June to July 1979. The remaining songs were recorded between February and May 1980.
Queen play the game official video
"Play the Game"
"Play the Game" was written by Freddie Mercury. The song was released as a single in 1980, reaching #14 in the UK and a more modest #42 in the US. The song was played live from 1980 to 1982.
"Dragon Attack" was written by Brian May. The song has been a live favourite being performed from 1980 to 1985 and recently Queen have included the song on their set lists with Adam Lambert. On the UK release of "Another One Bites The Dust" it was featured as the B-side. Two remixes of the track were scheduled to feature on the cancelled BASIC Queen Bootlegs 1992 album. The first by Jack Benson and R.A.K. featured as a bonus track on 1991 reissues of The Game. The second was an instrumental remix by Dave Ogilvie.
"Another One Bites the Dust"
"Another One Bites the Dust" was written by John Deacon. The song is known as a disco song and was released as a single at the suggestion of American singer Michael Jackson, who was a huge fan of the group and would often see them in concert whenever they came to Los Angeles. "Another One Bites The Dust" was a worldwide success reaching #1 in America and many other countries and in the UK it reached #7. After the success of the song, Queen recorded Hot Space, which was a more disco album. It is credited as Queen's best selling single, having sold 7 million records worldwide. The song was played live since 1980 till the last tour with Freddie in 1986. The part of this song was performed during Queen medley songs by Extreme on The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.
"Need Your Loving Tonight"
"Need Your Loving Tonight" was written by Deacon. The song was released as a single in November 1980 and reached #44 in the United States. The song was also played scarcely during The Game Tour in the early 1980s - it only lasted this tour.
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" was written by Mercury while lounging in a bubble bath in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, where Queen were staying during the making of "The Game". In addition to playing guitar on the record, Mercury also played guitar in concert for the time. The song peaked at #2 in the UK and #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States for four consecutive weeks. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" has also peaked at #1 in Australia, Canada, Mexico and Netherlands. The song has been covered by many artists. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Another One Bites The Dust" were Queen's only #1 singles in the United States. Rumor has it that Mercury finished writing the song in just 10 minutes.
"Rock It (Prime Jive)"
"Rock It (Prime Jive)" was written by Roger Taylor. The song begins with Mercury singing the intro and then Taylor sings the rest of the song. The song was only performed live in North and South America, and in Japan, during The Game and Hot Space Tours respectively.
"Don't Try Suicide"
"Don't Try Suicide" was written by Mercury, and is Mercury's third and final song on the album. The song has never been performed live. The song was the B-side on the American release of "Another One Bites The Dust". In 1992, DJ Muggs remixed the track for inclusion on the later cancelled BASIC Queen Bootlegs compilation.
"Sail Away Sweet Sister"
"Sail Away Sweet Sister (To the Sister I Never Had)" was written by May and features him on lead vocals. The bridge was sung by Mercury. The song was recorded in June/July 1979. It has never been performed live by Queen, but has been by Guns N' Roses. The song was sampled by Das EFX on their 1998 track "Change" from the album Generation EFX.
The song has also been on compilation albums Deep Cuts, Volume 2 (1977-1982) and Queen Forever.
"Coming Soon" was written by Taylor. Mercury and Taylor share lead vocals. The song had been started during the Jazz sessions. Like a few songs on the album, this song has never been performed live.
"Save Me" was written by May, after the relationship of a friend with his wife had ended. May played most of the instruments on the track including acoustic and electric guitars, piano and synthesizer. The song was performed live from 1979 to 1982. When live the song features a short piano entrance absent from the studio version. The song peaked at #11 in the UK Singles Chart.
Record Mirror wrote in a contemporary review, "After Zeppelin and even before The Scorpions, Queen are the most exciting band I've ever seen or heard. And I'm sure all you lovers of quality music will agree." Rolling Stone felt that it was "nice to hear a Queen album with songs, not 'anthems'," but opined that "these guys know how this music should sound and feel, but they can't bend enough to get with it." The Washington Post gave a scathing review, writing: "After five years of unchallenging, dismal albums, this was supposed to be Queen's comeback. But no such luck." Steve Taylor, writing for Smash Hits, was equally as dismissive, writing "sandwiched between two slabs of Queen's usual symphonic and/or choral pomp-rock [...] lies a filling of utterly unoriginal corn".
Creem readers voted The Game the seventh greatest album of 1980. At the Grammy Awards in 1981, Queen and Mack were nominated for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) while "Another One Bites the Dust" was nominated for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Queen received an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group, while "Another One Bites the Dust" received the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single.
In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that the album's "disco rock blends" showed a band that has "turned away from rock and toward pop", "turning decidedly, decisively pop, and it's a grand, state-of-the-art circa 1980 pop album that still stands as one of the band's most enjoyable records." Allmusic would go on to name The Game as Queen's best album of the 1980s. Evan Sawdey of PopMatters called The Game a "regular ol' rock album". In 2008, Out ranked the album #28 of 100 in a poll of "more than 100 actors, comedians, musicians, writers, critics, performance artists, label reps, and DJs, asking each to list the ten albums that left the most indelible impressions on their lives."
Yeah, that was when we started trying to get outside what was normal for us. Plus we had a new engineer in Mack and a new environment in Munich. Everything was different. We turned our whole studio technique around in a sense, because Mack had come from a different background from us. We thought there was only one way of doing things, like doing a backing tracks: We would just do it until we got it right. If there were some bits where it speeded up or slowed down, then we would do it again until it was right. We had done some of our old backing tracks so many times, they were too stiff. Mack's first contribution was to say, "Well you don't have to do that. I can drop the whole thing in. If it breaks down after half a minute, then we can edit in and carry on if you just play along with the tempo". We laughed and said "Don't be silly. You can't do that". But in fact, you can. What you gain is the freshness, because often a lot of the backing tracks is first time though. It really helped a lot. There was less guitar on that album, but that's really not going to be the same forever; that was just an experiment.
Adapted from AllMusic.
1Play the Game3:32
3Another One Bites the Dust3:36