Queen began the 1980's on a high note with their eighth studio album The Game released on June 30th, 1980.
Like all their previous albums, Queen explored different musical styles but in the end made them all sound like Queen. The Game produced two of the bands biggest pop hits with the funky "Another One Bites The Dust" and the rockabilly flavored "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." The success of both singles pushed The Game to the number one position on the Billboard album charts, making it Queen's only US chart topper. The album sold 4 million copies, which tied sales figures of their 1977 release New of the World.
The album opens with the very majestic and classic Queen-sounding track "Play The Game." Written by Freddie Mercury, "Play The Game" is as good as anything Mercury had written on previous Queen records and I would say is a very underrated song in their catalog. "Dragon Attack" follows and is one of Brian May's funkiest guitar riffs ever. Amazing guitar work from Brian is all over this track. Next up, two contributions from bassist John Deacon and they couldn't be more different from each other. "Another One Bites The Dust" is a funky disco- infused romp that became a worldwide success and the band's first number one single in America. "Need Your Loving Tonight" is Queen's attempt at power pop, maybe one of their catchiest tunes ever. John Deacon's importance in Queen is often overshadowed by the other three songwriters in the band but he wrote some amazing songs that have stood the test of time. Side one closes with a song that Mercury claimed to have written in five minutes, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." This rockabilly tip of the hat to Elvis Presley would become the albums second number one single.
Side two of The Game does not feature any hits but has some shining moments. The best song on side two would have to be Brian May's "Sail Away Sweet Sister." Brian takes lead vocals on this one and it sounds like something right off Queen's 1975 masterpiece A Night At The Opera. Mercury's "Don't Try Suicide" is another highlight on side two and probably one of the cheeriest anti-suicide songs ever recorded.
"Don't try suicide, Nobody's worth it, Don't try suicide, Nobody cares
Don't try suicide, You're just gonna hate it, Don't try suicide, Nobody gives a damn"
Drummer Roger Taylor delivers two strong tracks with "Rock It (Prime Jive)" and "Coming Soon," the latter sounding like a New Wave Beach Boys. Brian May's "Save Me" closes out the album and is a true Queen classic.
If I were ranking the Queen catalog, The Game would be very close to the top. Mercury and company never really made a bad record from their 1973 debut through to The Game. They covered a lot of ground during those years and always came out sounding like Queen. The Game is probably the last classic Queen record as a whole. While they definitely had some great material after The Game, the records became much less consistent.
Queen were a band in the truest sense of the word, every member vital to the sound that made them so unique and The Game finds them at their peak.
If anyone is interested, here are my Top Five Queen records......
1. A Night At The Opera
2. The Game
3. News of the World
5. Sheer Heart Attack
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps andReturning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.