Queen – ‘The Game’ (1980) – Album Review (The Studio Album Series)

We are slap dab in the middle of the Queen Studio Album Series. We are on album #8. We’ve done 7 and have 7 more to go after this one. I can’t believe it is going by so fast. We are also in to a new decade…the 80’s. This was also the time where my musical taste started to develop on my own without input from my siblings. I remember a couple of these songs on the radio so this album is a little special for me, but yet still years away before I bought one on my own. In 1980, I was just starting middle school so had no job and no money.

The band started recording in June/July of 1979 and a few songs were done, but things were brought to a halt because Queen went back out on the road in late 1979 on the Crazy Tour. When that ended, they went back in the studio on February and finished up the album by March 1980. The album came out on June 30, 1980 and was a massive success. The album went to #1 in the US and sold well over 4 million copies in the US alone. There were 5 singles so we have a lot to discuss. The line-up is unchanged as we still have Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Not many bands make it this far without a line-up change and Queen wouldn’t for years and years to come.

The album kicks off with “Play the Game” which was the third single off the album. It didn’t do as well as a couple other singles on the album as it only went to #42 just missing the Top 40. The song is also famous because it is the first song to feature a synthesizer. Queen had notoriously put on their previous albums that they didn’t use synthesizers. People thought that it was a knock against synthesizers, but reality is they wanted to let the world know that all those cools sounds that they made were actually done by guitar. It really wasn’t a knock on that instrument. Anyway, the song was written by Freddie Mercury and it is Queen being Queen. They don’t do anything simple and it has to be huge and grand and that is what this song is. Freddie’s vocal range on this song is insane. It has Freddie on piano and synthesizer for this one with Brian laying down a great solo that was played for the song and not all showboaty. It is a killer opening track.

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My Sunday Song – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen

For My Sunday Song #225, we are going to dive in to the Queen classic, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” off the band’s 1980 album, ‘The Game’. The song went all the way to #1 on the US Billboard Charts and sold over a million copies making it a platinum selling single. Not too shabby.

The song was written by Freddie Mercury and was a tribute to none other than Elvis Presley. Freddie wrote the song in only about 10 minutes and he wrote it playing a guitar. Freddie also plays rhythm guitar on the song as well which if I’m not mistaken is the first time he had ever done that for one of the band’s songs. In a Melody Maker interview back in 1980, Freddie had this to say about the song…

‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think. (Freddie Mercury)

I would say he did. The song is so simple, yet it is amazingly catchy and bores into your brain where it lives like a welcomed memory. It is almost magical. Once you here those first few notes, you know you are in for a good time as it has that old school rockabilly rhythm that you can’t wait to get to the sock hop and dance your ass off.

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