Play The Game

Album: The Game (1980)
Charted: 14 42


  • Freddie Mercury wrote this song for his lover Tony Bastin after they broke up. The topic for the song, with the narrator taking the perspective of someone looking back on past memories of an old relationship/former love, is one Mercury would revisit on "It's A Hard Life" (The Works) and "You Don't Fool Me" (a song made up of sections of lyrics Mercury recorded before his death, and included on the posthumous Made in Heaven album in 1995).

    All four members of Queen contributed songs, resulting in a constantly changing sound.
  • The song starts with a series of rushing noises played on an Oberheim OB-X synthesiser. The Game album was a significant turning point for the band - for many years, they proudly noted on their album sleeves that no synthesizers were used on their records - many would assume that to be the case due to the complex instrumentation and sounds the band would achieve via recording tricks and guitar effects/overdubs.

    From The Game onwards, the band started to experiment more explicitly with synths, starting with this song and the likes of "Another One Bites The Dust." Session musician Fred Mandel, who played the famous solo in "I Want To Break Free" on a Roland synth keyboard, joked about this in the Days of Our Lives documentary: "The old records used to say prominently 'no synthesizers'. And then I come in like another schmuck and put synthesizers on everything!"
  • The cover of the single was the first time Mercury displayed his soon-to-be-famous moustache, which would become a huge part of his look for many years - although at the time hardcore Queen fans didn't like the change of image, even going as far as to send him disposable razors to shave it off.
  • The B-side to the single for "Play The Game" was "A Human Body," one of Queen's rarest compositions for many years - only being available on the original vinyl releases until it was finally included on the Singles Collection Volume 2 and on the bonus disc to the 2011 CD re-issue of The Game.
  • This song was covered by Jon Brion for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rachel - South Point, OH

Comments: 18

  • Alexandra from Zagreb, CroatiaI turn on the speakers, light a cigarette and join Freddie (to the chagrin of the other tenants of the building). I love this song. Great melody, and great synth.
  • Stefano from Rome, ItalyThe Game is reportedly the first Queen album in which a synth appears. A spot on the cover says something like "This album inculdes the first appearance of a Synthesizer (an Oberheim OBX) on a Queen album".
    According to Brian May (interview to the magazine "Guitar Club", 1984), they changed their mind about synths because synths themselves had changed, having reached a more ductile sound rather than the one of a "rude" keyboard.
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlI like the sounds at the beginning. It's a soothing song, I suppose.
  • Rosa from Reading, Englandlove it. its one of those yep world is on my shoulders but just chill kinda songs great just relax, play the game. interesting fact, when freddie dumped that cheating tony bastin, he kept his cat oscar, go freddie
  • Gnome from Hollywood, FlWhenever I'm depressed i seem to end up listening to this song... subconciously i guess... but its great. all of Queen's songs are great. And i like them, especially Freddie, because you can tell that he was going through all the things that happen in the song. He sings so emotionally.
  • Bryan from Melbourne, FlPlay the Game is one of Queen best.
  • Jameson from Lexington, KyI believe "The Game" was Queen's first album to NOT sport the "No Synthesizers" label. Before this, I'd say they really didn't have much need for one -- Brian's "Red Special" guitar was able to sound vaguely like other instruments (and could harmonize with itself better than most), but when they tipped over into synth-land, this song really shows what they were able to do with one.
  • Jake from Newport, NhGreat song. #42 on the US charts I believe. But this is my favorite from their US #1 album 'The Game'... the piano work, the vocals, all so nice. It's such a seducing song, isn't it? "Open up your mind and let me step inside"...
  • Alicia from Tamaqua, PaLOL, yea I guess you can say that!! But anything with Freddie's voice is increadible.... in my opinion
  • Randall from Dallas, TxMost bands write plenty of bad songs... you just never get to hear them. It's more fair to say, "Queen never RELEASED a bad song..."
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai love this song! the guitar is great in the middle! this song is so awesome! :D
  • Alicia from Tamaqua, PaI agree Freddie, Orlando, FL....... Freddie never wrote a bad song. Some are more difficult to understand than others. If you're like me and love to anilize things down to the bone, you can get quite frustrated when listening to songs of that criteria. But still, i love this song, I cant' say its one of the best considering all Queen songs are the BEST!!!!
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InThis to me is Queens best work. The Game has it all, and I remember as a eleven year old boy going to my buddies house and listening to this on vinyl along with the sound track to Xanadu. ELO and Queen were doing stuff that no one else has ever been able to duplicate, which is a good thing. To bad Freddie is no longer around to belt out great tunes, but he left a wonderful legacy.
  • Freddie from Orlando, Flyou dont have to imagine darling! whats to imagine? they BOASTED about not having them-- for a very long time.
  • Chris from State College, PaI can't even imagine Queen without synthesizers, but maybe that's just an illusion in their pre-"Play the Game" days.
  • Freddie from Orlando, FlNot too much to read into I think, a lovely melody though, Freddie never made a bad song.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaQueen started using synthesizers roughly a decade after everyone else did. I guess they were the last great hold outs.
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaThis song makes love into a game which is really all it is...
see more comments

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