As I was only 10 in 1980, there would have been no way that I could have bought the original single, so as you can see, I cheated with this one!
The original track was released in 1980 and was taken from Gabriel’s eponymous solo album. The song recounts a series of games between a group of children. It is clear that they are not all playing altogether nicely – a series of arguments and alliances is reported. Perhaps the most obvious sign that this is an anti-war song is the line about the child Adolf…
Then there is the reference to the extremely popular pan European TV show of the late 70s / early 80s – Jeux Sans Frontières, which, of course, the title of the track is a literal translation. Gabriel even references the domestic UK vesion, It’s A Knockout.
In a precursor to their 1986 collaboration, Kate Bush sings backing vocals – listen out for the repeated refrain of “Jeux Sans Frontières” especially.
It is perhaps forgotten but Games’ is Gabriel’s joint top performing track in terms of UK chart singles position. Along with 1986’s Sledgehammer, it made number 4 in the chart.