The Game (Queen album)

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The Game
Studio album by Queen
Released 30 June 1980 [1]
Recorded June – July 1979, February – May 1980 at Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
Length 35:39
Label EMI (Europe)
Parlophone (Europe)
Elektra (US)
Hollywood (US)
Producer Queen, Mack
Queen chronology
Jazz
(1978)
The Game
(1980)
Flash Gordon
(1980)
Singles from The Game
  1. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
    Released: 5 October 1979
  2. "Save Me"
    Released: 25 January 1980
  3. "Play the Game"
    Released: 30 May 1980
  4. "Another One Bites the Dust"
    Released: 22 August 1980
  5. "Need Your Loving Tonight"
    Released: November 1980

The Game is the eighth studio album by 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[2] (an Oberheim OB-X).

The Game features a more pop 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 twelve million copies worldwide, including over 4.5 million copies in the US.

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 cover of 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.[3] The remaining songs were recorded between February and May 1980.[3]

Song information[edit]

"Play the Game"[edit]

Main article: Play the Game (song)

"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"[edit]

"Dragon Attack" was written by Brian May. The song has been a live favourite being performed from 1980 to 1982 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"[edit]

"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.

"Need Your Loving Tonight"[edit]

"Need Your Loving Tonight" was written by Deacon. The melody is very Beatles-influenced, although it has a more rock-inspired guitar riff, thus giving the song a power pop sound. 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"[edit]

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" was written by Mercury in just 10 minutes, while lounging in a bath in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich. 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" have became Queen's only #1's in the United States.

"Rock It (Prime Jive)"[edit]

"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"[edit]

"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 (To the Sister I Never Had)"[edit]

"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, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Coming Soon" and "Save Me" were recorded in 1979. The other songs on the album were recorded in February - May 1980. "Sail Away Sweet Sister" has never be 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"[edit]

"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"[edit]

Main article: Save Me (Queen song)

"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.

Queen comments on the record[edit]

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.

—Brian May[4]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Record Mirror 4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[7]
Smash Hits 3/10[8]

Record Mirror awarded The Game 4/5 stars, writing: "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."[6] 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."[9] 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."[10] 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".[8] 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."[5]

Creem readers voted The Game the seventh greatest album of 1980.[11] 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 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."[12] Allmusic would go on to name The Game as Queen's best album of the 1980s.[13]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Play the Game"   Freddie Mercury 3:30
2. "Dragon Attack"   Brian May 4:18
3. "Another One Bites the Dust"   John Deacon 3:35
4. "Need Your Loving Tonight"   Deacon 2:50
5. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"   Mercury 2:44
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Rock It (Prime Jive)"   Roger Taylor 4:33
7. "Don't Try Suicide"   Mercury 3:52
8. "Sail Away Sweet Sister"   May 3:33
9. "Coming Soon"   Taylor 2:51
10. "Save Me"   May 3:50

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel:

  • Mack - keyboards on "Rock It (Prime Jive)"

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[31] Gold 25,000x
Germany (BVMI)[32] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[33] Gold 50,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[34]
2008 Agora SA album reissue
Platinum 20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.queenonline.com/en/the-band/discography/game/
  2. ^ Baker, Theodore; Nicolas Slonimsky (1965). Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians: Centennial Edition (5th ed.). Schirmer Books. ISBN 0028655257. "The album yielded ... 'Play the Game,' which featured the group's first use of the synthesizer..." 
  3. ^ a b "Queen – The Game (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  4. ^ On the Record 1982
  5. ^ a b The Game. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  6. ^ a b Record Mirror review (archived at queenarchives.com)
  7. ^ "Queen: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Steve. "Albums". Smash Hits (July 10–23, 1980): 31. 
  9. ^ Rolling Stone review
  10. ^ Washington Post review (archived at queenarchives)
  11. ^ "Rocklist.net...Creem magazine selected readers". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "The 100 Greatest, Gayest Albums". Out. 2008. Archived at acclaimedmusic.net
  13. ^ The Miracle. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – The Game". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – The Game". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1980" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  18. ^ a-クイーン "– Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Queen" (in Japanese). 30 December 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – The Game". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – The Game". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – The Game". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  22. ^ "Queen – The Game". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Queen". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  25. ^ "Austriancharts.st – Jahreshitparade 1980". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  26. ^ "Top 100 Albums". RPM. 20 December 1980. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  27. ^ "日本で売れた洋楽アルバムトップ23 (Top-23 international albums on the Japanese Oricon Year-End Charts 1980". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  28. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. 26 December 1981. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  30. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1981". billboard.biz. 1981-12-31. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  31. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Queen – The Game" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Queen in the field Interpret. Enter The Game in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  32. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Queen; 'The Game')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  33. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Queen – The Game" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  34. ^ "Polish album certifications – Queen – The Game" (in Polish). Polish Producers of Audio and Video (ZPAV). 
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Queen – The Game". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Game in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Queen – The Game". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Best of by Roger Whittaker
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
12 July 1980
Succeeded by
Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones
Preceded by
Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones
UK Albums Chart number-one album
19 July – 1 August 1980
Succeeded by
Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple
by Deep Purple
Preceded by
Hold Out by Jackson Browne
Billboard 200 number-one album
20 September – 24 October 1980
Succeeded by
Guilty by Barbra Streisand
Preceded by
Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones
Canadian RPM Chart number-one album
11 October – 13 December 1980
Succeeded by
The River by Bruce Springsteen