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(They Just Can't Stop It The) Games People Play

by

The Spinners



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The Spinners scored their fifth #1 R&B hit with this song. Here, the singer is bemoaning how people manipulate others to get what they want in matters of love, while observing that the honest, open approach never seems to work. The game playing theory was originally made popular by psychologist Eric Berne in his best-selling book, also called Games People Play.
The female vocalist on this song was Barbara Ingram, who was a very popular backup singer, appearing on recordings by Lou Rawls, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and many others. (thanks, Mike - Santa Barbara, CA, for above 2)
The first pressings of this song were issued as simply "Games People Play," but the title was changed to avoid confusion with the song of the same name by Joe South. The awkward title ensured that publishing royalties wouldn't be misappropriated to South's song.
Joseph Jefferson, Bruce Hawes and Charles Simmons wrote this song. They worked for Thom Bell, who was The Spinners producer. Other Spinners tracks this trio wrote were "One of a Kind (Love Affair)" and "Mighty Love."
All 5 Spinners get a turn on lead vocals here, including bass singer Pervis Jackson. Thom Bell explains in The Billboard Book of #1 R&B Hits: "Basses are not usually designed to do anything but hold the root. He's the bottom and they're not really known for being soloists. So I said I'm going to come up with something for that guy. And from the moment I gave him that part, his whole personality, his whole everything changed."
The Spinners
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Comments (4):

On July 23rd 1976, the Spinners performed "They Just Can't Stop It The (Games People Play)" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special', they were also the show's host...
Almost one year earlier on August 3rd, 1975 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and on October 19th, 1975 it peaked at #5 (for 2 weeks) and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
And on October 12th, 1975 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
It peaked at #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
Between 1961 and 1983 the quintet had twenty-nine Top 100 records, six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Then Came You" (a duet with Dionne Warwick) for 1 week on October 20th, 1974.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I just saw The Spinners appearance on an old Soul Train episode, and when they "sang" Games People Play, Ms. Barbara Ingram couldn't make it,
so one of them just lip synched her part! And the camera focused on it each time. It was so funny looking.
- Bill, pensacola, FL
Pervis Jackson got the nickname, "12:45" based on his famous opening line of his solo in the song.
- T, Boondocks, AR
Fabulous, classic song, fabulous voices, every single one of them.....bass singer Pervis Jackson's deep deep voice makes the tune very memorable!!!!
- Camille, Toronto, OH
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