Games People Play

Album: The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980)
Charted: 16
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Songfacts®:

  • This is one of the most high tempo, rock-style songs that this progressive group recorded. It's also unusual in that it was fronted by Lenny Zakatek - most of their songs featured Eric Woolfson as lead singer.
  • The song examines the strategies people use to get what they want from others, while also contemplating the fact that they're not getting any younger. Interestingly, there is a book on the former theme by psychiatrist Eric Berne, also called Games People Play. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA, for above 2
  • In a 2019 interview with Alan Parsons, he told Songfacts: "I think it would be fair to say that that was inspired by the fact that we were living in Monte Carlo. It's very linked to the content of the album, The Turn Of A Friendly Card, which was all about gambling, gamblers, the problems of gamblers, and games people play. It's just a gambling theme. We literally lived 10 paces from the Monte Carlo Casino - we were right there."
  • Parsons used an instrument he invented called a Projectron on this track. Similar to a mellotron, it used tape loops to play back samples. A studio boffin with high technical acuity, Parsons cut his teeth doing engineer work at Abbey Road Studios, where he worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

    Other personnel on this song are:

    Vocals: Lenny Zakatek
    Backing Vocals: Chris Rainbow
    Bass: David Paton
    Drums: Stuart Elliott
    Keyboards: Eric Woolfson
    Guitar: Ian Bairnson

Comments: 15

  • George Pope from Vancouver BcAn old standard from 1980; I turned 13 in February & only just began noticing popular music. Our Top-40 rock stations played this one heavily. . . A pleasant background song with just enough beat & clearly heard lyrics to whet the interest to play it yourself, in the quiet, to focus on the entire song. Still like that 42 years later. Ive, of course, noticed it in supermarkets often -- supermarkets like to play music that's upbeat, recognizable, & inoffensive to most. I don't recall any noise about this song being about sex (one interpretation, if you don't know the back story); was the back story on the liner notes, anyone know? I didn't have the album)
  • Mary B from AlabamaLove this song. Where do we go from here after all of our children are grown up and how do we spend our life basically saying that all your responsibilities and lifetime goals have been achieved. So now the rest of your life is yours to do with As you want.
  • Suzu from UsaThe song was written in Monte Carlo. The song regards gambling. So people lie when they gamble or they tell the truth. Basically, as far as I can see, life is a crap shot and gamble.
  • It Is "honor Bright" Not "are Not Right" from DenverThe expression "honor bright" is a british expression meaning "i swear its true". So "Things that that they say, "Honor Bright!"" People are liars. Just like when you go home and you say "I was just having a couple of drinks with my mates, honor bright!"
  • Deb from Plymouth MaMaybe I am taking it too literally. Sounds like a mid life crisis. Hubby doesn't know what his purpose is after raising kids. " "Where do we go from here?" Games people play, you take it or you leave it ... if I promised you the moon and the stars , would you believe me....Games people play in the middle of the night. " Could be interpreted as vows and promises we make to one another when getting married or promises of I love you 4eva after sex.
  • The Road Twitch from Appalachia HONOR BRITE.. WTAF... the line before should tell you--the things that they say **Are not right** what is a honor brite anyway? Sounds like a kids cartoon animal.
  • Emi Channel from Buenos AiresVictoria, you're wrong. Inner Circle does have a song called "Games People Play" but it's adifferent song. The phrase is also the name of a well-known pshychology best seller by Eric Berna that many people read so "games people play" is an expression they are familiar with.
  • Jack from RussiaI really love the Eric Parsons stuff and hope he will bring some music for games Nintendo-like - Zelda, Metroid or something like that. It will especailly cool sound for the sequel of Link's adventure. Anyone think something about that?
  • Demetrios "meter" Pappas from Atlanta , Ga"Are not right".... HONOR BRIGHT??? REALLY
  • Anton from EarthNot only a great pop tune, but a noteworthy music video that depicts a plausible studio recording. I have no idea if it was shot during the session that actually produced the song, but it's kind of refreshing to see the musicians sitting down, no live performance theatrics - you can actually see the way they play their instruments. I agree with others who are puzzled why the singer, Lenny Zakatek, didn't hit it big. He also sang on anothar favorite APP song of mine, "It's Too Late".

    It seems like I gain a greater appreciation for Alan Parson as I get older, much more so than when this song & album were hitting the airwaves.
  • Mike from Norwalk, CtThis song reminds me of.......well..... 1981 and things I was going thru back then. I was a teenager and lyrics meant something even if you didn't really "get" it.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaI'd say literally it may well be about gambling, but as an allegory to the "headgames" people play
  • Johnfrusciante from Sofia, BulgariaI signed up only to be able to inforom you how false the lyrics interpretation for the song are. In fact (its not my opinion) the whole "The turn of a friendly card" album focuses only on gambling (an exception is "time"). The lyrics for "Games people play" touch on the topic of gambling and how people attempt to ellude from mundane life lured by the "promised moon and the stars". And, by the way, the correct lyrics interpretation for a song might be only one if the lyrics are logically cohered and irrelevant details are thrown out. I agree that the lyrics for "Games people play" are somewhat vague but they add up to a perfect meaning when in the context of the album. The most lucid lyrics are for "I dont wanna go home" where it is made clear what all this stuff is about. They touch on the topic of how "blinded by diamonds and all the money that money can buy" people are and how they seek an easy way to furtune, yet one on which they inevitably fail to succeed (go home, you damn fool, surely you know you cant win)- its no secret that in casinos everything is arranged so that you always lose.
  • Larry from Munster, InThe interpretation of this song is left to the listener. No one person can say they know what the lyrics mean. Its a personal thing, however many of us may share the same view.
    It strikes me as what do the parents do now because all the children have grown up(and left home) and now there is no more direction to be given from home or time together. The sons and daughters could even be nearby, working, school, (but not living at home) etc., but now with the last one gone, the realization sets in...What do we live for now? Each other? The house becomes empty with no sounds from refridgerator doors,bathroom, bedroom doors, meals to plan, no friends of your kids dropping by, events to go to. Kids rarely appreciate their parents until they have their own kids and similar resposibilities.
    Some couples may lie to each other but I'm not sure why they would have to at this point. Its now an empty house not a home with the last one gone....
  • Victoria from Port Of Spain, Trinidad And TobagoThe Reggae Band "Inner Circle" also did a maginificent reggae cover version of this song. - Victoria Trestrail, Trinidad
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