Games People Play (Joe South song)

"Games People Play" is a song written, composed, and performed by American singer-songwriter Joe South, released at the end of 1968, that won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.[1]

"Games People Play"
Games People Play - Joe South
Single by Joe South
from the album Introspect
B-side"Mirror of Your Mind"
ReleasedDecember 1968
GenreFolk rock, Country rock
Songwriter(s)Joe South
Producer(s)Joe South
Joe South singles chronology
"Birds of a Feather"
"Games People Play"
"Don't It Make You Want to Go Home"


"Games People Play" is a protest song whose lyrics speak against various forms of irresponsibility, hatred, hypocrisy, inhumanity, and intolerance in both interpersonal and social interactions between people. It was released on South's debut album Introspect and as a single, reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] It was also a #6 hit in the UK in 1969, #4 in Ireland, and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.[3]

The distinctive guitar in the opening is played on a Danelectro electric sitar, which can be seen in a video recorded to support South's album "Introspect." Concurrent with South's version of the song on the pop charts, Freddy Weller, guitarist for Paul Revere and the Raiders, released a country version of the song in 1969 as his debut single; this rendition reached #2 on the country charts.[4]

Chart history

Weekly charts

Chart (1968-69) Peak
Austria[5] 6
Belgium[6] 16
Canada RPM Top Singles 7
Germany[7] 11
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 4
Netherlands[9] 8
Norway[10] 5
South Africa (Springbok)[11] 1
UK (OCC) 6
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 12
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 10

Year-end charts

Chart (1969) Rank
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[13] 85
South Africa [14] 15
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 79
U.S. Cash Box[16] 93

Inner Circle cover

"Games People Play" was covered by Inner Circle on their 1994 album, Reggae Dancer. It reached #84 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #51 on Cash Box. It reached the Top 10 in parts of Europe, but did best in New Zealand, where it peaked at number four.

Chart history

Weekly charts

Chart (1994) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 97
Austria 11
Belgium (Flanders) 12
Germany 27
Netherlands (Single Top 100) 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 4
Sweden 7
Switzerland 7
UK (OCC) 67
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 84
US Cash Box Top 100 51

Year-end charts

Chart (1994) Rank
New Zealand[19] 28

Other cover versions

Don Gibson covered "Games People Play" on his 1970 album, "Hits, The Don Gibson" Way.

Jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman covered the song on his 1972 album Today.

Sami Jo covered the song on her debut LP in 1974.[20]

Tesla covered "Games People Play" on their 1994 album, "Bust a Nut".

"Games People Play" has also been covered by Bob Andy, The Israelites, Lynn Anderson, King Curtis, Lee Dorsey, Dick Gaughan, Bettye Lavette, Lissie, Dolly Parton, Billie Jo Spears, Mel Tormé, Conway Twitty, Arlen Roth, Merle Haggard and Don Williams.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Games People Play (song by Joe South) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 379.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Games People Play". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  12. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  13. ^ "RPM Top Singles of 1969". Library and Archives Canada. RPM. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1969". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 27, 1969
  17. ^ "Inner Circle – New Zealand Chart". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  18. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  19. ^ "End of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  20. ^

External links

Games People Play

Games People Play may refer to:

Games People Play (book), a 1964 psychology book by Eric Berne


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