Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Queen - The Game

Today (June 30th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Game, the eighth studio album from Queen. It went to number 17 in France, number 11 in Australia and New Zealand, number 10 in Italy, number 7 in Sweden, number 5 in Austria and Japan, number 2 in Germany and Norway, and number 1 in Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK. Here in the US, it went to number 8 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Album chart. It spent forty-three weeks on that latter chart, with five weeks at the top spot.

Side one begins with "Play the Game", a tutorial on the game of love. As the third single, it rose to number 85 in Australia, number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 40 in Germany, number 15 in the Netherlands, number 14 in the UK, number 9 in Ireland, number 8 in Switzerland, and number 6 in Norway. The song has a cosmic synthesizer opening, followed by a piano portion, before the full band joins in.

"Dragon Attack", featured on the B-side of the UK version of the fourth single, has a grinding guitar groove that I like a lot.

"Another One Bites the Dust", the fourth single, broke during the hot months of the summer of 1980. This smash hit peaked at number 24 in France, number 12 in Sweden, number 11 in the Netherlands, number 10 in Italy, number 9 in Belgium, number 8 in Switzerland, number 7 in the UK, number 6 in Austria, Germany and Ireland, number 5 in Australia, number 3 in South Africa, number 2 on the US Billboard R&B and Dance charts, and number 1 in Canada, Israel, Spain and on the US Billboard Hot 100 (for three weeks). The song was nominated for both a Grammy and an American Music Award. I have fond memories of this one, blaring from radios for much my sophomore year of high school. The senior class that year (my cousin Joan's class) even used it for their homecoming theme, complete with a dance skit with gangsters and tommy-guns. The memorable bass line (clearly Chic inspired) and big drum-claps made it a school dance favorite too.

The fifth single was "Need Your Loving Tonight"; it hit number 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This one has a pop-rock sound that feels like it would be right at home next to the Raspberries.

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love", the first single, actually was released in October of 1979. It reached number 13 in Germany, number 9 in Austria, number 8 in Norway, number 5 in Switzerland, number 2 in New Zealand, Ireland and the UK, and number 1 in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the Netherlands and on the US Billboard Hot 100 (for four weeks). It has a high energy, rock-a-billy sound with Freddie Mercury channeling the ghost of Elvis Presley. Again, this was another high school dance favorite.

Side two opens with "Rock It (Prime Jive)", a song written by and featuring lead vocals by Roger Taylor. It was released as the B-side to the fifth single. It starts out like a slow-jam but quickly explodes into a rock/new-wave extraganza.

"Don't Try Suicide", while not a single, got a lot of airplay on the local album-oriented rock stations (usually as part of Rock Block Weekends). This was likely due to it being on the B-side to the US version of the fourth single. The song was a celebration of life and an anti-suicide message.

"Sail Away Sweet Sister" was written by Brian May and features him on lead vocals. The subject matter here was inspired by a friend of May’s who was going through a divorce.

"Coming Soon" bounces back with another rocker that sounds like it came straight off one of Sweet’s albums from the 70’s.

"Save Me", the closing track, was also the second single. This big and bold ballad peaked at number 96 in Japan, number 76 in Australia, number 42 in Germany, number 11 in the UK, number 10 in France and Italy, number 8 in Ireland, number 7 in Norway and number 5 in the Netherlands. It ends with one of May's signature guitar solos.

While I did not own a copy of The Game, my older brother who was a Queen fan did. I owned the forty-fives for both of the big world-wide number one hits from the album. I think the rest of the album is pretty solid too; clearly the guys from Queen were mixing it up a bit for a new decade and the experiments work fairly well.

For more from Queen, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

I named The Game my favorite Queen album from before 1981 and I used to play the crap out of it, so I know all the songs inside and out. I remember it most as Queen's Purple Rain, the album that won the band a ton of fairweather fans who abandonded them the very next album, which in this case (if you don't count the Flash Gordon soundtrack and the Greatest Hits album) was Hot Space, my 25th favorite album of 1982.

Even after all these years, my favorite track remains "Need Your Loving Tonight" with "Dragon Attack" running a close second. All of Side One is a winner.