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Games People Play

by

Joe South



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

Written by Joe South, this song is about how people can go through life preoccupied with negative thoughts. Instead of living lives of service and accomplishment, they deceive others in an effort to get ahead, which ultimately leads to unhappiness.
The Games People Play album was one of the first to be multitracked. Joe South performed all the vocal and instrumental parts himself, and some consider it the first ever Country-Soul album. It was originally released in 1968 as Introspect before being reissued as Games People Play when the title track became a hit.
Joe South won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Contemporary Song for this.
South was originally a session man, and among the hits he played the guitar on are Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools," Tommy Roe's "Sheila" and Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound Of Silence." He also played on Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde album.
Joe South did not record any more hits but he did write and record the original version of "Rose Garden," which 3 years later became a hit for the Country artist Lynn Anderson.
Mel Tormé recorded a notable cover version of this song later in 1969 which appeared on his A Time for Us album. The prominent bass in his version was performed by Carol Kaye, who was one of the studio musicians behind hits for The Monkees, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker and many others. Telling us about this session, Carol said, "There was one time when I overplayed on bass to try to wake up a drummer. The drummer was in on tour and he was sleeping. You could tell that. And it was a big band. He was slowing down in the parts and the part that I was playing was slow according to the tune. The tune required just a few notes on my part. So somebody in the band said, 'Do something, Carol.' And so I played a lot of notes and it woke up the drummer. And I walked in the booth after the take, and I said, 'Now we can do a take.' And they looked at me and laughed and said, 'That was the take.' I said, 'Oh, no, that's a bass solo. The bass part that I invented is a test now at schools around the world. And he's just going, 'La di da' and here's all this bass and stuff coming in. I thought, That'll never be a hit. And it was a big smash hit for him."
Joe South
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Comments (8):

On December 28th, 1969, "Games People Play" by Joe South entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 8th, 1970 it peaked at #12 (for 2 weeks) and also spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
Between 1958 and 1971 he had eight Top 100 hits; with "Games People Play" being his biggest hit...
R.I.P. Mr. South (1940 - 2012).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
The Squires ‎– Games People Play / Funky Bayswater
Label: Vega ‎– 3.511
Format: Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single
Country: France
Released: 1969

Billy Preston, Tom Jones & Engelbert Humperdinck on the unknown TV show in 1970(?), perform fantastic version of this hit... see on Youtube.
- dimges, Skopje, Macedonia
The lyrics of this song are just as pertinent today as they were when they were written.
- Linda, Inland Empire, CA
Joe played a Danelectro electric sitar on this record to give it the strange opening intro. South also played guitar on "Sweet Pea" by Tommy Roe!
- coy, Palestine, TX
Joe also wrote and recorded "Don't it Make You Want to Go Home," a staple in my Ipod.
- Rob, Detroit, MI
Joe was one great song-writer, including hits for other artists, like: "Down in the Boondocks" a #9 hit for Billy Joe Royal; "Hush" Deep Purple's first american hit, a #4 Billboard hit; The Osmonds' "Yo-Yo", charted #3
- bill, atlanta, GA
Joe South did have one additional U.S. hit song called "Walk A Mile In My Shoes".
- Ken, Louisville, KY
This was covered by the band Tesla on their 1994 album Bust A Nut. Unlike Joe South, Tesla didn't bother editing out the word "damn" from the final verse.
- Joshua, Twin Cities, MN
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