Susanna Hoffs, Aimee Mann Team Up to Cover Badfinger’s Power Pop Classic ‘Name of the Game’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Susanna-Hoffs-Horizontal-Credit-Jonathon-Kingsbury - Credit: Jonathon Kingsbury
Susanna-Hoffs-Horizontal-Credit-Jonathon-Kingsbury - Credit: Jonathon Kingsbury

The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs has tapped Aimee Mann for a new cover of Badfinger’s “Name of the Game.” The track will appear on Hoffs’ upcoming covers album, Bright Lights, out November 12th via Baroque Folk Records.

Where Badfinger’s 1971 original is a potent power-pop ballad, Hoffs imbues her rendition of “Name of the Game” with a tender sway and even a bit of country twang in the guitars. Hoffs and Mann largely trade off verses, but there are plenty of pristine harmonies, especially when they belt the hook, “Oh don’t refuse me/If you choose me you’ll follow my shame/No, don’t confuse me/For I know it’s the name of the game.”

More from Rolling Stone

Hoffs tells Rolling Stone in an email that she first discovered Badfinger when she was a kid and heard the group’s Paul McCartney-penned tune “Come and Get It” in the 1969 film, The Magic Christian. She subsequently fell in love with the group’s big radio hits — “No Matter What,” “Baby Blue,” and “Day After Day” among them — but it wasn’t until she was a little older that she came upon “Name of the Game.”

“There is a beauty and a poignancy to ‘Name of the Game’ which has always moved me deeply,” Hoffs says. “The song’s verse lyric deals with coping with life’s difficulties and challenges, and those feelings are reflected in the verse’s gorgeous somber melody. But when the chorus arrives, there is an opening up, an almost exalted intensity and release, an outpouring of all of those emotions, made even more poignant, knowing that Pete Hamm, the singer and songwriter of the song, suffered so deeply.”

As to why she wanted Mann to join her on the track, Hoffs says: “I have known Aimee Mann since the Eighties and count myself extremely lucky to have had the privilege of performing with her numerous times. Aimee’s voice is iconic and instantly recognizable, and I’ve long wanted to record with her. When I was setting about recording ‘Name of the Game’ (with producer Paul Bryan), Aimee’s name sprung immediately to mind. She is a good friend. It was a true honor having her join me on ‘Name of the Game.’’

Along with her rendition of “Name of the Game,” Bright Lights will feature Hoffs covering other songs that have played a pivotal role in her life. The tracklist also includes renditions of Nick Drake’s “One of These Things,” the Monkees’ “You Just May Be the Other,” the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” Prince’s “Take Me With You”, and Syd Barrett’s “No Good Trying.”

“These were songs I admired and adored and had listened to on repeat for pure pleasure, but strangely, had never sung,” Hoffs said of the album in a statement. “Stepping up to the mic to sing them for the first time with our incredible band was truly exhilarating if a little terrifying.”

Bright Lights Tracklist

1. “Time Will Show the Wiser” – The Merry-Go-Round
2. “One of These Things First” – Nick Drake
3. “You and Your Sister” – Chris Bell
4. “Name of the Game” (feat. Aimee Mann) – Badfinger
5. “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” – Richard & Linda Thompson
6. “You Just May Be the Other” – The Monkees
7. “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” – Paul Revere & The Raiders
8. “Femme Fatale” – The Velvet Underground
9. “Take Me With U” – Prince
10. “No Good Trying” – Syd Barrett

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCl3MGjCHSA?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

Best of Rolling Stone