|Single by Janet Kay|
"Silly Games" is a song written by Dennis Bovell that was first released in 1979 as a single by Janet Kay. The single was a hit not only in the UK, where it reached number 2 that summer, but throughout Europe. Kay's appearance singing on Top of the Pops made it the first lover's rock tune on BBC Television's flagship popular music show. The song appeared again in 1990 as a re-recording, billed as by Lindy Layton featuring Janet Kay, which reached number 22 in the charts. A remix version of Kay's original recording spent three weeks in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 62.
Explaining how he approached the composition, Bovell says: "There was an advert for Memorex where Ella Fitzgerald sang a note and broke a glass, and I wanted a song with a note like that; little girls always try to sing a high note, so when I wrote ‘Silly Games’ and put that high note in there, it meant that every female in the dance would try and sing that note." Now considered an anthem of its genre, "Silly Games" has been called "probably the most popular of the lover's rock songs from the '70s". Bovell has said: "...it was a song constructed with a verse and a chorus and a bridge and a 'tickling piece' at the end and an intro to catch you so you would have to sit up and listen to what was coming next.... To this day, that song is still on the radio constantly. But that song, it was constructed to be a hit."
The song features prominently in Steve McQueen's film Lovers Rock, the second film in his 2020 anthology series Small Axe. As described by The New York Times: "The lovesick kiss-off 'Silly Games' and its indelible high note play a pivotal part" in the film, and Bovell has a cameo role.
The Guardian said, "Everything about "Silly Games" is perfect: its gently rolling rhythm, its beautiful melody, Dennis Bovell's subtle production, Kay's vocal that goes from understated to indelible."
Lindy Layton version
|Single by Lindy Layton|
|from the album Pressure|
|Lindy Layton singles chronology|
|Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)||65|
|UK Singles (OCC)||22|
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