What was the name of the game?

Published March 03, 2016

As I'm writing ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, making my way through the group's recording career , I'm sometimes fortunate enough to encounter one of my favourite ABBA tracks. This happened recently when the time came to write about The Name Of The Game. Even after having heard it a million times, I'm still knocked out by this song every time I hear it. If I have to choose one song that is my ABBA favourite I usually say The Winner Takes It All, but if I have to select one that best describes "the principle of ABBA", for want of a better phrase, then I would go for The Name Of The Game.

The thing, you see, is that for me ABBA is very much a group. It's not Agnetha and "the other one" or Frida and "the other one", it's not Björn the lyricist and Benny the musical genius. It's the four of them together that is ABBA, and I can think of no other recording that demonstrates this better. I really love the way that Agnetha takes some solo parts, Frida others, and at other times they sing together. And I love how Björn and Benny have managed to take all the different parts that make up the tune, cram them inside the format of a pop song, and make it all work: it's catchy, compelling, complex and simple at the same time. It shouldn't work, but it does. For me, this is the recording that totally and utterly justifies the four of them coming together in this magic pop group.

The background story of The Name Of The Game and every other ABBA song in full detail in the upcoming revised and expanded edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions. Pre-order your copy here: abbathecompleterecordingsessions.com