6 June 1980 – ‘Play The Game’ bw ‘A Human Body’ released in North America by Elektra records 🇺🇸
The Freddie Mercury penned Play The Game, saw a strong change of direction for the band – as it was their first released track to feature a synthesizer.
Many fans were shocked by the change of style, though Queen were gaining more fans than they were losing with their new direction. Their eighth album, ‘The Game’ was released a month later and immediately topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Billboard Magazine considered “Play the Game” to be a return to Queen’s traditional “epic, rather grand sound” after deviating from that sound with the rockabilly of their prior hit single “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
Brian May has recently revisited the singles “Play The Game” and “It’s a Hard Life” which both represent the same theme. Freddie Mercury was writing from the same lover’s perspective and reflecting on the memories of a failed relationship in both songs. They are both of a similar structure, revolving around Mercury’s piano playing and the band’s multi-layered harmonies.
This beautiful love song peaked at #42 on the US charts.
Another notable change was seen with Freddie Mercury’s image, he grew a mustache. Many fans disapproved of his new image and mailed letters to the Queen International Fan Club telling him to shave it off along with disposable razors. The beautiful mustache became his trademark. Freddie showed off his mustache for the first time in the ‘Play The Game’ video.
The B-side is the Roger Taylor penned track, ‘A Human Body.’ Roger provides lead vocals, drums, and guitar; Brian and Freddie assist Roger with backing vocals.
It has been rumoured that the song fell out of favor with Roger. As a result, it did not appear on subsequent CD remaster catalogue campaigns for Hollywood Records’ 1991 releases or the 1994 Digital Master Series from EMI. Finally, the track entered the digital age with 2009’s ‘The Singles Collection Volume 2’ and 2011’s Deluxe Edition of ‘The Game.’