I was recently placing songs into the mp3 we got my mom for her birthday. She likes all types of music, especially the 50s and 60s. One song she requested that was difficult for me to locate was called “Foolish Games” by The Monkees. Even though I am a huge fan of the group and their show, I had never heard of that song.
I eventually located the song on iTunes and loaded it into her mp3 player. I then started to think of other songs with the word game in their titles. I came up with a rather eclectic list, including one from perhaps the most famous songwriter in the last half century.
10. “The Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders: The catchy tune’s most remarkable feature is the deep backing vocal in the chorus. The band’s most remarkable contribution was guitarist Eric Stewart, who went on to form one of my favorite 70s bands, 10cc.
9. “Games People Play” by Joe South: This song is not the most famous written by South (“Rose Garden” and Hush” are both better known). This is, however, the most famous song that South himself recorded.
8. “Games” by The Grip Weeds: This was the first song I ever heard from the modern psychadelic band. It was so good that I logged on to Amazon.com and ordered the album Infinite Soul.
7. “It’s All in the Game” by Nat King Cole: Tommy Edwards sang the original, but I far prefer Cole’s version. The man had such a smooth voice that it’s hard to believe he’s not more appreciated than some of his white contemporaries.
6. “Guessing Games” by Hall and Oates: This song fits in very well with the other hits (“Family Man,” “Maneater,” and “One on One”) on H2O, the pop duo’s best album.
5. “Play the Game” by Queen: The opening track to The Game as the typical Queen beauty, complete with excellent backing vocals fronted by Freddie Mercury’s marvelous voice.
4. “Games People Play” by The Alan Parsons Project: This song captivates you right away with the unusual question, “Where do we go from here, Now that all other children are growing up?” Beneath the mellow sound lurk lyrics of discontent and an almost dangerous need for new adventure.
3. “Games without Frontiers” by Peter Gabriel: Immediately after leaving Genesis, and before the annoying “Sledgehammer,” Gabriel put out some great music. This gloomy futuristic song represents the artist at his very best.
2. “Games People Play” by The Spinners: The band kept Motown alive in the 70s as the Temptations and Four Tops were declining. The spinners wove a series of classic soul hits (“One of a Kind” and “Rubber Band Man”), but this one is their best. It has a unique three-tier rhythm, as the vocals move flawlessly from tenor to alto to bass.
1. “Mind Games” by John Lennon: Although the fade out seems dated (“I want you to make love, not war”), the song still seems magical almost forty years after its release. Lennon amazingly works war into a song of beauty, making it seem even more absurd. As far as I know, it is the only song to work the word “guerillas” into its chorus.