The Name of the Game (ABBA song)

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"The Name of the Game"
ABBA - The Name of the Game.jpg
Single by ABBA
from the album ABBA: The Album
B-side "I Wonder (Departure)"
Released 17 October 1977 (Sweden)[1]
14 October 1977 (UK)[2]
14 October 1977 (US) [3]
Format 7" single
Recorded 31 May 1977
at Marcus Music Studio
Length 4:51
3:58 (US Promo Edit)
Label Polar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Stig Anderson
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"King Kong Song"
(1977)
"The Name of the Game"
(1977)
"Take a Chance on Me"/"I'm a Marionette"
(1978)
Music video
"The Name Of The Game" on YouTube

"The Name of the Game" is a 1977 song by Swedish pop group ABBA, and was released as the first single from the group's fifth studio album, ABBA: The Album. It became a UK number one, topping the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in November 1977.[4]

History[edit]

"The Name of the Game", first called "A Bit of Myself", was the first song to be recorded for ABBA's fifth studio album, following the band's European and Australian tour. It was their most complex composition yet – with Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad sharing the lead vocals but with solo passages from both women – and contained the influences of the laid-back California sound of the day.[citation needed]

The opening riff on bass and synthesizer is inspired by Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" from the 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, and both Andersson and Ulvaeus have acknowledged being inspired by Wonder's music during this part of ABBA's career.[citation needed]

A preliminary version of "The Name of the Game" was worked into the 1977 feature film ABBA: The Movie, for which it was written. When it was eventually finished, it was released as the lead single from ABBA: The Album in October 1977. Originally, another track entitled "Hole in Your Soul" was intended for release, but those plans were soon shelved. "The Name of the Game" was released with a live version of "I Wonder (Departure)" as the B-side. This B-side was one of several songs written for the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair, written by Ulvaeus and Andersson and originally performed by ABBA on their 1977 world tour. The recording used on the "The Name of the Game" single was recorded at Sydney Showground, Sydney, Australia on 3 or 4 March 1977. A studio recorded version of the song was included on ABBA: The Album.

"The Name of The Game" also marks the last time Stig Anderson helped with the lyrics of a single.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

"The Name of the Game" was not as successful as ABBA's previous singles since 1975. It was more of a Top 10 success, only topping the UK Singles Chart. It was the second of three consecutive UK No. 1 singles after "Knowing Me, Knowing You", and before "Take a Chance on Me".[5]

The song was a Top 5 hit in ABBA's native Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and Rhodesia, while peaking inside the Top 10 in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Mexico.[6] On the US Billboard Hot 100, "The Name of the Game" almost reached the Top 10, peaking at No. 12 on 11–18 March 1978.

An edited version of "The Name of the Game", which omitted the entire second verse of the song, reducing the length of the track from its original 4:51 to 3:58, was released on a promotional single in the US. The US Promo Edit of "The Name of the Game" then – apparently by mistake – found its way onto the 1982 Polar Music compilation The Singles: The First Ten Years,[citation needed] and then onto a number of hits packages issued on both vinyl and CD in the 1980s and early 1990s. This edit also appears on the original 1992 version of the group's Gold: Greatest Hits album. Not until the 1999 remastered edition of Gold: Greatest Hits did the song appear in its entirety on that compilation.[citation needed]

When PolyGram released the first digitally remastered CD version of The Album in 1997, the fact that one of the nine tracks was nearly a minute shorter than it was supposed to be somehow managed to elude the remastering engineers – the US Promo Edit was again used by mistake and the first edition was subsequently withdrawn.[7]

"The Name of the Game" was sampled in 1996 by the Fugees for their hit "Rumble in the Jungle", the first time that an ABBA song had been legally sampled by another act.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" by Baccara
UK Singles Chart number one single
5 November 1977 – 3 December 1977
Succeeded by
"Mull of Kintyre"/"Girls' School" by Wings
Preceded by
"Way Down" by Elvis Presley
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number one single
10 November 1977 – 22 December 1977

Music video[edit]

Like most of ABBA's videos, the video was directed and shot by Lasse Hallström. During the video, the four members of the group are shown playing the board game "Fia-spel", the Scandinavian version of the German board game "Mensch ärgere dich nicht", which is a variation of the English board game Ludo and American Parcheesi.

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/pos1234
  2. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/epc5750
  3. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/sepc5750us
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 345–6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: ABBA: The Name of the Game, page 122. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  6. ^ "Mexico". Home.zipworld.com.au. 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  7. ^ ABBA – The Complete Studio Recordings, Palm, Carl Magnus, pg126.
  8. ^ "News for Björn Ulvaeus". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  10. ^ Downey, Pat; Albert, George; Hoffmann, Frank W (1994). Cash Box pop singles charts, 1950–1993. Libraries Unlimited. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-56308-316-7. 
  11. ^ Hunter, Nigel; Scaping, Peter, eds. (1978). "Top 100 Singles in 1977". BPI Year Book 1978 (3rd ed.). London, England: The British Phonographic Industry Ltd. pp. 216–17. ISBN 0-906154-01-4. 
  12. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  13. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  14. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  15. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 209. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  16. ^ "Abbacadabra — The Name Of The Game — Almighty Records". Almightyrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

External links[edit]