Space Invaders (Player One song)

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"Space Invaders"
Space Invaders (Player One single, cover art - Australian version).jpg
1979 Australian 7" sleeve
Single by Player One
from the album Game Over
A-side "Space Invaders"
B-side "A Menacing Glow in the Sky"
Released 1979
Format 7-inch single
Genre Space disco
Length 3:08
Label WEA
Songwriter(s) Russell Dunlop, Bruce Brown
Producer(s) Russell Dunlop, Bruce Brown

"Space Invaders" is a song by Australian songwriters Russell Dunlop and Bruce Brown, recording under the band name Player One (commonly stylised as Player [1]) in 1979. The song is based on the hugely successful 1978 video game Space Invaders. It was a novelty hit in Australia,[1] peaking at No. 3 on the Kent Music Report charts, and ending up as the fourth best selling single in Australia for 1980.[2]


The arcade game of the same name, Space Invaders, was released by Japanese company Taito in 1978 and had become a global phenomenon by 1979. The Warner Music office in Sydney had its own arcade cabinet of the game, which prompted the idea of a song cashing in on the game's popularity. They took the project to Sydney producer duo Russell Dunlop and Bruce Brown, who took inspiration from the Space Invaders game to create the song's bassline. According to Brown: "We actually went out with a machine before we did the record and recorded all the sound effects of it and had a little fiddle around with it".[3]

Dunlop and Brown also released an album as Player One, Game Over. Dunlop recalled: "We sat down and wrote a bunch of space songs, but instead of sticking to the concept of the hit, we wandered off into the 'clever' musical genre with fancy time signatures, radical chord progressions and so on. The reply came back for the States that this was intended for 13- to 14-year-olds: 'You've lost us.'"[1]

The single and album were released in the US under the band name Playback, which Brown and Dunlop had used for other projects, to avoid confusion with the US band Player. The US version of the album was titled Space Invaders.

The song was released internationally but failed to chart outside Australia. It was, however, influential in the history of electronic dance music, being sampled by Jesse Saunders for the bassline of what is commonly held to be the first Chicago house record, "On and On" (1984).[4][5] The "Space Invaders" bassline was thus influential in the early history of house music.[3]

Player One discography[edit]

  • Australia: Space Invaders (3:08) / A Menacing Glow In The Sky (3:13) (7", WEA 100114)[6]
  • Australia: Game Over (LP, WEA 600061)[7]
    • Space Invaders (4:12) / We're All Players (2:28) / Under Control (3:00) / My Babe Is A Cool Player (3:02) / Fire (3:00) / Space Suite (2:22) / Red On The Bottom Line (3:47) / Microprocessor (3:20) / Play Me (1:17) / Game Over (4:12)
  • US: Space Invaders (4:05) / Red On The Bottom Line (3:20) (12", Ariola OP-2201)[8]
    • released under band name Playback
  • Germany: Space Invaders (5:50) / A Menacing Glow In The Sky (3:13) (12", WEA 70004)[9]