The Name Of The Game - it began 41 years ago

Published May 31, 2018

Just a moment ago I realised that today it's exactly 41 years since ABBA began recording The Name Of The Game, one of my favourite songs and recordings. To this day, I still marvel at the way ABBA managed to tie all those disparate elements of the song together to construct what to me is a pop masterpiece. It is unfathomable that anyone could have listened to this when it was first released and still dismiss ABBA as bubblegum.

I can remember vividly back in October 1977, being on a commuter train with my mother, and reading a news item in Swedish newspaper Expressen, stating that ABBA's new single would be played on the radio that night, in a programme called Skivspegeln ("The Record Mirror") and that Frida would be interviewed as well. Funny how these things stick in your mind, especially since the 12-year-old me wasn't really a fan of neither ABBA nor The Name Of The Game.

While researching and listening to alternate mixes of the track for ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com), I found that at one point Björn and Benny contemplated editing a section out of The Name Of The Game. This is what I wrote in the book:

'Intriguingly, the archives hold a rough attempt at an edit of the song, presumably made during the Bohus sessions. At 01:29, the 13-second section starting with “And you make me talk” and ending with “what I’m trying to conceal” has been deleted so that the song jumps straight to “if I trust in you”. The same section has also been edited out later in the song, after the line “beginning to grow”, again jumping straight to “if I trust in you”. Talking about ‘The Name Of The Game’ in an interview the following month, Björn admitted that they’d been “a bit worried about releasing it because it’s nearly five minutes long”; clearly, they tried making it shorter by editing these sections out of its four minutes and 50 seconds. Fortunately, Björn and Benny concluded that removing those bits would spoil the song, and so their new single came to feature ABBA’s longest A-side yet.'

These and many more facts and stories about ABBA's amazing songs are to be found in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. To learn more and to order your copy, please go to abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com.

 

The Swedish Polar Music sleeve for The Name Of The Game; the single peaked at number 2 in Sweden.