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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Fronties

'Games Without Frontiers' is a hit 1980 single by Peter Gabriel, released on his third self-titled solo album. It features Kate Bush on backing vocals and became his first UK Top 10 hit, peaking at number 4. The song also peaked at number 48 in the U.S. It ties with 1986's Sledgehammer as his highest-charting song in the UK. The B-side to the single was two tracks combined into one: 'Start' and 'I Don't Remember'.

The song's title comes from a European game show, Jeux Sans Frontières, that featured teams competing for prizes while dressed in bizarre costumes. The British version of the show was called It's a Knockout, a phrase that also appears in the song. The teams represented towns and cities from each country, so the games had an inevitable element of nationalism. While some games were simple races, others allowed one team to obstruct another.

The lyrics are seen as a critique of nationalism and war, which the song portrays as essentially childish. The tag line of the song, 'Games without frontiers, war without tears' is a comment on the sublimation of the rivalries within Europe, caused by centuries of war, in a meaningless game.

The name Lin Tai Yu, which appears in the song, belongs to a character from the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

Chiang Ching, another name mentioned, refers either to the wife of Chairman Mao and a leader of the Cultural Revolution or to Chiang Ching-kuo, the son of Chiang Kai-shek, who was president of Taiwan at the time the song was written.

Additionally, the end of the first verse refers to Hitler and Enrico Fermi: "Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Brit; Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it." Hitler started World War II in Europe, while Fermi's nuclear reactor enabled the nuclear weapons which ended the war in Japan.

The album version of the song includes the line "Whistling tunes we piss on the goons in the jungle" before the second chorus. This was replaced for the single release with a more radio-friendly repeat of the line "Whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle" from the first chorus. The whistling is Gabriel along with producers Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham.

There is a misconception that Gabriel actually sings "coons" rather than "goons", but all the official lyric sheets for the song have always printed the word as "goons". It is possible to download the original raw, unmixed vocal tracks from the song from Gabriel's Real World Remixed website, and on listening to these without the distractions of the musical backing, it is clear that he sings "goons".

This song features the PAiA Electronics Programmable Drum Set, widely considered the first programmable drum machine (it is not the Roland CR-78, used by many of Gabriel's former Genesis bandmates on both Genesis and solo albums). It also features the Moog Model 15 small analog modular system for many of the synthesizer sounds.

Click the link below to dowload the following:
Single Version
Uncencored Version


Peter Gabriel - Games Without Fronties - Video

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