“The Name of the Game” is a 1977 song by Swedish pop group ABBA, and was released as the first single from the group’s fifth studio album, ABBA: The Album. It became a UK number one, topping the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in November 1977.
“The Name of the Game”, first called “A Bit of Myself”, was the first song to be recorded for ABBA’s fifth studio album, following the band’s European and Australian tour. It was their most complex composition yet – with Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad sharing the lead vocals but with solo passages from both women – and contained the influences of the laid-back California sound of the day.
The opening riff on bass and synthesizer is inspired by Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” from the 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, and both Andersson and Ulvaeus have acknowledged being inspired by Wonder’s music during this part of ABBA’s career.
A preliminary version of “The Name of the Game” was worked into the 1977 feature film ABBA: The Movie, for which it was written. When it was eventually finished, it was released as the lead single from ABBA: The Album in October 1977. Originally, another track entitled “Hole in Your Soul” was intended for release, but those plans were soon shelved. “The Name of the Game” was released with a live version of “I Wonder (Departure)” as the B-side. This B-side was one of several songs written for the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair, written by Ulvaeus and Andersson and originally performed by ABBA on their 1977 world tour. The recording used on the “The Name of the Game” single was recorded at Sydney Showground, Sydney, Australia on 3 or 4 March 1977. A studio recorded version of the song was included on ABBA: The Album.
“The Name of The Game” also marks the last time Stig Anderson helped with the lyrics of a single.