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Peter Gabriel — Games Without Frontiers
Album: Peter Gabriel 3: Melt
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1430









Released: 1980
Length: 3:43
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Jeux sans frontieres

Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane
Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again
Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it

Whistling tunes we hid in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle
It's a knockout
If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers - war without tears
Games without frontiers - war without tears

Jeux sans frontieres

Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching's is blue
They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu
Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games
Hiding out in tree-tops shouting out rude names

Whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle
It's a knockout

If looks could kill they probably will
In games without frontiers - wars without tears
If looks could kill they probably will
In games without frontiers - war without tears
Games without frontiers-war without tears

Jeux sans frontieres
Comments (231)add comment
Listening in 2020, and I'm thinking "Man, someone's going to have a hell of a time with contact tracing those kids!"
 treatment_bound wrote:


Thanks The_Walrus!  You just enlightened a clueless guy who has yet to make it over to your country...BUT I PLAN ON GETTING THERE AT SOME POINT!


Could you also please write a couple of sentences about just what the hell is going on in "Solsbury Hill"? 
 
According to the artist:  "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go."

Many believe it is about leaving Genesis and striking out on his own.  It was also his first hit outside the band.


Hey! Look, there are the lyrics.
So he doesn't actually start the song with "She's so f***ing A"

Image result for trouser press magazine covers
 thewiseking wrote:
This was Gabriel's Zenith. Please dig a little deeper off this album. Not One of Us is especially poignant. Would love to hear that once in awhile.

 
It recently got added.
This was Gabriel's Zenith. Please dig a little deeper off this album. Not One of Us is especially poignant. Would love to hear that once in awhile.
2
I remember that I was reading the science fiction book "Dhalgren" when this was popular.  Sends me right back to that time!
Brilliant stuff on this album. Check out "Not One of Us".
Version
The European verstond is beter I think.
 
Here's what the phrase means:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeux_Sans_Frontières

I wonder if Peter used that as a metaphor? This song sounds more complex than just a rolling commentary on a game show. 
 latrippa wrote:
Wondering whether anybody outside Europe know what Games Without Frontier/Jeux Sans Frontieres/Giochi Senza Frontiere/ actually were...

 
Nope, I didn't have a clue until The_Walrus explained it for me a while back.
 latrippa wrote:
Wondering whether anybody outside Europe know what Games Without Frontier/Jeux Sans Frontieres/Giochi Senza Frontiere/ actually were...

 
Uh, OK, I give - what?
Wondering whether anybody outside Europe know what Games Without Frontier/Jeux Sans Frontieres/Giochi Senza Frontiere/ actually were...
She's so funky, yeah! (not yo!)
Just to be pedantic. I'm sure Peter Gabriel would be upset if we couldn't catch what he wanted to say!
Still fresh and the lyrics still so misunderstood, especially the mis-hearing of Kate Bush's backing. Love it.

She's so Funky yo'.


Great song. 
 kingart wrote:
Can someone clue me in the meaning, context or subtext of this song?
 

 
...... does it really matter!!
 MiracleDrug wrote:


so an example of a MORE creative and interesting artist, would be...?

 

Good lord where do I begin? Tom Waits, Nick Cave, The White Fences, Beck, Chris Whitley, Damien Jurado, Blitzen Trapper, Fruit Bats, Edward Sharpe, M. Ward, Real Estate, Wilco, Andrew Bird and many, many more.  I have only listed some of the groups that are probably in the RP library, I didn't even mention all of the classic rock groups.  There are literally hundreds more artist I could list which I just may when I have more time......
I was delighted to hear this song pop up during a dramatic sequence in the "The Americans."
The_Walrus wrote:

Many years ago in England there was a pan-european TV series called "It's a knockout" ( or Jeux Sans Frontieres internationally) It featured contestants from all over Europe "Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games" as referred to in the lyric. I always thought Peter Gabriel was suggesting that this would be a cool way to resolve differences, rather than World Wars!!

Just me though.



 

Not far off. The song is juxtaposing the obvious absurdity of the TV gameshow 'It's a knockout' (Jeux sans Frontiers as it was known in Europe) with the less obvious but in many ways equal absurdity of nationalism and militarism!

 treatment_bound wrote:


Thanks The_Walrus!  You just enlightened a clueless guy who has yet to make it over to your country...BUT I PLAN ON GETTING THERE AT SOME POINT!


Could you also please write a couple of sentences about just what the hell is going on in "Solsbury Hill"? 

 
Solsbury Hill is a small flat topped hill near Bath in Somerset, England. It was the site of an iron age fort around 300bc and is possibly the site of a battle between King Arthur's army and the Saxons. It is supposed to have spiritual and mystical properties.

PG used to jog and walk there when he was in Genesis. It's said that during visits there he would reflect and imagine what might have taken place there over the centuries. It was on one of these occasions that he made his mind up to leave Genesis, and the song seems to be about a mixture of the turmoil he was going through at the time interspersed with his imagining of events there.
 The_Walrus wrote:

Many years ago in England there was a pan-european TV series called "It's a knockout" ( or Jeux Sans Frontieres internationally) It featured contestants from all over Europe "Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games" as referred to in the lyric. I always thought Peter Gabriel was suggesting that this would be a cool way to resolve differences, rather than World Wars!!

Just me though.



 

Thanks The_Walrus!  You just enlightened a clueless guy who has yet to make it over to your country...BUT I PLAN ON GETTING THERE AT SOME POINT!


Could you also please write a couple of sentences about just what the hell is going on in "Solsbury Hill"? 
 kingart wrote:
Can someone clue me in the meaning, context or subtext of this song?
 

 
Many years ago in England there was a pan-european TV series called "It's a knockout" ( or Jeux Sans Frontieres internationally) It featured contestants from all over Europe "Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games" as referred to in the lyric. I always thought Peter Gabriel was suggesting that this would be a cool way to resolve differences, rather than World Wars!!

Just me though.


I always thought it was "she is so far away".
lol remembering a friend thought it was "she's so frumpti-é"
 
Je suis désolé, Kate, mais tu parle pas francais comme il faut du tout !
Ton accent est épouvantable. Je serai heureux de te donner des lecons
de formations en francais. Que-dit-tu, cherie ? Donne-moi un bec ! Je
t'embrasse.

All that to say, Kate, your French SUCKS!

But I would be happy to give you some lessons.
 unclehud wrote:
You've got to be kidding.  The lyrics aren't, "She's ... so punc-tu-al"?
 

She's so ponctual! hahahahahahhaaha 


It is "Jeux sans frontière"  games without frontiers in french with a very big accent!  

 
You've got to be kidding.  The lyrics aren't, "She's ... so punc-tu-al"?
 kingart wrote:
Can someone clue me in the meaning, context or subtext of this song?
 

 
Mostly about war and related human endeavors.  I particularly like the reference to China during the 50's.  For a screaming indictment of their system read Tombstone by Yang Jisheng, where he goes into the why's and wherefores of a 6 year period (from 1958 to ~1962) during which +34 Million Chinese died of starvaton.  Starvation brought on by sheer ineptitude and rampant adherence to a foolish ideology.

But I digress.  Ultimately I view the song as being about the futility of we naked chimpanzees continually engaging in violent conflict with each other "over silly games."

Same as it ever is.

Highlow
American Net'Zen

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
This is one of those songs that soungs so amazing in your head when you whistle along at the appropriate moments {#Yes}


 ziggytrix wrote:
This song always makes me wanna hear Whistler's Delight (if you've never heard it, it's a brilliant little mashup by DJ Riko of this song and several other whistle-heavy tunes)!
 
Just wanted to bump this comment for all those who enjoy the mashups that BillG sometimes plays.  This is one of the good ones and it opens with this song.
 kingart wrote:
Can someone clue me in the meaning, context or subtext of this song?
 
 

This song is about the absurdity of our collective existential existence...

it prompts us to tear off our clothes and dance...


Can someone clue me in the meaning, context or subtext of this song?
 
 richlister wrote:


Is this a bot? As it says with the consistency of an atomic clock, the same daft shit all the time.
 

No, I don't be no bot, you nasty person...  you don't even make a comment about the song—  you just insult a top quality human...

this song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this autumn day... 
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring night...

 
 

Is this a bot? As it says with the consistency of an atomic clock, the same daft shit all the time.
 Proclivities wrote:

Well, they still rhyme, but I know what you mean about how some rhymes can get annoying in some tunes.  Anyhow, he doesn't use the word "tier"; it's just the second syllable of "frontiers", but still...  Maybe "war without beer" could have worked, but that would've resulted in many tears.
 
Made me think of lines in the first two versus of XTC's Dear God:

Verse 1 -  I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
Verse 2 -  We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
 rdo wrote:
Far be it from me to point out rules, but I have always been very annoyed with the rhyme in this song:  tier and tear (because they are homophones, they are not really a rhyme).

 
Well, they still rhyme, but I know what you mean about how some rhymes can get annoying in some tunes.  Anyhow, he doesn't use the word "tier"; it's just the second syllable of "frontiers", but still...  Maybe "war without beer" could have worked, but that would've resulted in many tears.


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this summer day...

 


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring night...

 


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring day...

 
Early MTV days...when I knew all the videos and MTV actually played music
thumbs up!!!

here in Germany the TV-show was called "Spiel ohne Grenzen"  - and PG did a German version of this song, too, with a very funny accent, but also brilliant :-)
 ziakut wrote:
Kind of trite. 
 
Not if you're aware of the history. Scroll down a wee way and you'll see. It always sounded to me that yer man was likening international relations in the Cold War era to the then popular TV competition It's a Knockout (Jeux sans Frontières), and basically saying that 'international statesmen' are no more than little boys and girls waving sticks at each other and making rude gestures. Plus ça change...


Kind of trite. 


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter evening...

 
bump

 fredriley wrote:
Those of you younger than, say, 40 won't be aware of what this song refers to, namely the much-loved and frankly often barmy UK TV gameshow "It's a Knockout", known also as "Jeux Sans Frontières". See the Wikipedia entry for more info on its origins, and a UK nostalgia website for pics and vid clips. As a kid our family used to sit down to Jeux Sans Frontières regularly, particularly the international competitions which were taken very, very seriously indeed by the teams involved, which was pretty damn stupid when you consider the nature of the games (wearing silly costumes, doing very silly things usually on slippery slopes, falling into gunge tanks, and much more) - the whole point of It's a Knockout was fun and parody, but it became self-parody when it took itself way too seriously. UK folk might remember it being presented by the irrepressible rugby commentator Eddie Waring, and the highly idiosyncratic Stuart Hall. They don't make programmes like that any more, right enough.
 


 Proclivities wrote:

Kate Bush is singing "jeux sans frontieres", which, I believe, is the title of the song in French.  It was previously mentioned further down the list of comments.
 
Thanks for the lyric...been wondering for a long time.   Makes total sense too...go figure.
Far be it from me to point out rules, but I have always been very annoyed with the rhyme in this song:  tier and tear (because they are homophones, they are not really a rhyme).

I really hate this song. I love Peter Gabriel's music, but this song just doesn't make me love his music unconditionally. Maybe that's a good thing??
 sirdroseph wrote:


Funny, I find him exactly the opposite. It is not that his music is bad, just boring and IMO uncreative, just doesn't grab me. And of course if voice is irritating to me as well. He is one of those artists I would not even think about one way or the other except that so many adore him, the irony is irritating.
 

so an example of a MORE creative and interesting artist, would be...?


Everybody in my hotel room absolutely loves this song!

 
 blackjackshellac wrote:
my shameful mondegreen: She's so funky yeah

 
{#Iamwithstupid}  You're not the only one!

my shameful mondegreen: She's so funky yeah


This song is absolutely brilliant...
 
 sirdroseph wrote:


Funny, I find him exactly the opposite. It is not that his music is bad, just boring and IMO uncreative, just doesn't grab me. And of course if voice is irritating to me as well. He is one of those artists I would not even think about one way or the other except that so many adore him, the irony is irritating.
 

I gather you don't like his mainstream pop stuff. What about "Passion", the soundtrack to "Last Temptation to Christ"? Do you really find that boring and uncreative? 
 ch83575 wrote:

Your joking right?  Gabriel is one of those few artists that, in my opinion, manage to produce consistently creative and compelling material.  I think that while this is one of the few that can stand as a single, it is actually not one of his best.  Give this whole album (melting face, not greatest hits) a good listen and see if you can dig it.
 

Funny, I find him exactly the opposite. It is not that his music is bad, just boring and IMO uncreative, just doesn't grab me. And of course if voice is irritating to me as well. He is one of those artists I would not even think about one way or the other except that so many adore him, the irony is irritating.
 bachbeet wrote:
she's so funky now

When I first heard it, I was sure he was saying "she's so fucking weird."  Even with that lyric it's a great song.
 
Kate Bush is singing "jeux sans frontieres", which, I believe, is the title of the song in French.  It was previously mentioned further down the list of comments.



What a great song...  we be dancing...  love it...


 sirdroseph wrote:
Hey, it is one of those "blind squirrel found the nut" songs, Gabriel has about 5 of them and this is one! 7! 
 
Your joking right?  Gabriel is one of those few artists that, in my opinion, manage to produce consistently creative and compelling material.  I think that while this is one of the few that can stand as a single, it is actually not one of his best.  Give this whole album (melting face, not greatest hits) a good listen and see if you can dig it.
she's so funky now

When I first heard it, I was sure he was saying "she's so fucking weird."  Even with that lyric it's a great song.
says {shes a Cork Sucker}! 

This song always makes me wanna hear Whistler's Delight (if you've never heard it, it's a brilliant little mashup by DJ Riko of this song and several other whistle-heavy tunes)!
More Peter Gabriel.......does he own stock in RP? Blah blah blah
Good music is just good music.

 
Hey, it is one of those "blind squirrel found the nut" songs, Gabriel has about 5 of them and this is one! 7! 
Gabriel and Genesis always a fav their/his songs are so creative and deep since INXS what a set thanks BILL! Always a pleasure
 d00kie wrote:

{#Music}
 


Yessss...  love it...

 
 On_The_Beach wrote:

That is too funny. Even knowing the background, I still think Gabriel is using the show as a metaphor; likening international warmongers to children dressed up in "costumes" (ie uniforms) "playing silly games" (waging war). Or, maybe I'm just thinking too much.  ; )

 
You may be right—-it sounds right to me!

This is how I've always envisioned the origin of this song—-NOT that "Greatest Hits" album.


 lemmoth wrote:

Jeux sin frontieres
 


Jeux Sans Frontières
 romeotuma wrote:


Kate Bush is singing background vocals...  this was a hit song in 1980... sigh...  seems like yesterday...

 
 
Jeux sin frontieres


oh yeah—-8
o/~ she's so funky now ... o/~


Kate Bush is singing background vocals...  this was a hit song in 1980... sigh...  seems like yesterday...

 
 d00kie wrote:

{#Music}
 


Very cool...  this song is soooo groovy...

 
 sirdroseph wrote:
I really don't like Peter Gabriel, but I not one to turn my nose up to a good song!{#Clap}
 
J'adore Peter Gabriel, et je pointe mon nez quand il produit d'aussi bonne chanson.{#Fire}

J'adore Peter Gabriel, et je pointe mon nez quand il produit d'aussi bonne chanson.{#Fire}
 Sloggydog wrote:
How confusing...guess i just assumed i had no interest in Peter Gabriel based on the ones i knew were his but forgot this and this is a tune man.
 

Yea, I normally can't stand him, but this one, Salisbury Hill, In Your Eyes and a few others are really good. I guess that goes under the "blind squirrel and nut theory".{#Lol}
I really don't like Peter Gabriel, but I am not one to turn my nose up to a good song!{#Clap}

Actually, this song is from the album Peter Gabriel, issued in 1980—as opposed to the album Peter Gabriel (1977) or Peter Gabriel (1978). It was a good joke while it lasted...{#Propeller}
 On_The_Beach wrote:

That is too funny. Even knowing the background, I still think Gabriel is using the show as a metaphor; likening international warmongers to children dressed up in "costumes" (ie uniforms) "playing silly games" (waging war). Or, maybe I'm just thinking too much.  ; )

 
That would be also a nice version!



love it...


How confusing...guess i just assumed i had no interest in Peter Gabriel based on the ones i knew were his but forgot this and this is a tune man.
 fredriley wrote:
Those of you younger than, say, 40 won't be aware of what this song refers to, namely the much-loved and frankly often barmy UK TV gameshow "It's a Knockout", known also as "Jeux Sans Frontières". See the Wikipedia entry for more info on its origins, and a UK nostalgia website for pics and vid clips. As a kid our family used to sit down to Jeux Sans Frontières regularly, particularly the international competitions which were taken very, very seriously indeed by the teams involved, which was pretty damn stupid when you consider the nature of the games (wearing silly costumes, doing very silly things usually on slippery slopes, falling into gunge tanks, and much more) - the whole point of It's a Knockout was fun and parody, but it became self-parody when it took itself way too seriously. UK folk might remember it being presented by the irrepressible rugby commentator Eddie Waring, and the highly idiosyncratic Stuart Hall. They don't make programmes like that any more, right enough.
 
That is too funny. Even knowing the background, I still think Gabriel is using the show as a metaphor; likening international warmongers to children dressed up in "costumes" (ie uniforms) "playing silly games" (waging war). Or, maybe I'm just thinking too much.  ; )

On the website www.kissthisguy.com (where people tell about their misinterpretation of song lyrics), one contributor wrote that he
thought the French portion of this song was being sung as "She's so f***ing A".
Pretty funny, I thought. 
Happens to me all the time.
 
I used to think he was singing 'She's So Popular' {#Embarassed}

out_to_lunch wrote:
I always thought it was She's so Funky....I know, I'm a dork. My dork brain has been trained in the 80's

 


 pattiecovert wrote:
Hey, he sounds like Guy Garvey in Elbow! (kidding)
 
Yeah and that guy who used to be in Marillion!

I think you have to be old to like this song.
I used to think they were singing "She's so funky now" or something like that.

By joing RealWorld's website, I think you can dowload the mp3 tracks for this song and do your own remix.
 fredriley wrote:
Those of you younger than, say, 40 won't be aware of what this song refers to, namely the much-loved and frankly often barmy UK TV gameshow "It's a Knockout", known also as "Jeux Sans Frontières". See the Wikipedia entry for more info on its origins, and a UK nostalgia website for pics and vid clips. As a kid our family used to sit down to Jeux Sans Frontières regularly, particularly the international competitions which were taken very, very seriously indeed by the teams involved, which was pretty damn stupid when you consider the nature of the games (wearing silly costumes, doing very silly things usually on slippery slopes, falling into gunge tanks, and much more) - the whole point of It's a Knockout was fun and parody, but it became self-parody when it took itself way too seriously. UK folk might remember it being presented by the irrepressible rugby commentator Eddie Waring, and the highly idiosyncratic Stuart Hall. They don't make programmes like that any more, right enough.
 
Thank you Fred, you are a wealth of knowledge. I had no idea.

 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good for the ears...
 
{#Music}



This song is soooo good for the ears...


 parrothead wrote:

Thanks for the post, I was aware of the story of the tune. This was played over and over on FM radio when it came out and I always wondered why this was such a popular tune in the USA. I never cared for it and still don't.

 
Is it because you're toooooooooooooo much of a buffett lover?
tututoto...bill...why you love Peter Gabriel?
My understanding was this song was about nuclear war.

 {#Cool}



Just turned this up real loud...  we be dancing...  love it...


 fredriley wrote:
Those of you younger than, say, 40 won't be aware of what this song refers to, namely the much-loved and frankly often barmy UK TV gameshow "It's a Knockout", known also as "Jeux Sans Frontières". See the Wikipedia entry for more info on its origins, and a UK nostalgia website for pics and vid clips. As a kid our family used to sit down to Jeux Sans Frontières regularly, particularly the international competitions which were taken very, very seriously indeed by the teams involved, which was pretty damn stupid when you consider the nature of the games (wearing silly costumes, doing very silly things usually on slippery slopes, falling into gunge tanks, and much more) - the whole point of It's a Knockout was fun and parody, but it became self-parody when it took itself way too seriously. UK folk might remember it being presented by the irrepressible rugby commentator Eddie Waring, and the highly idiosyncratic Stuart Hall. They don't make programmes like that any more, right enough.
 
Thanks for the post, I was aware of the story of the tune. This was played over and over on FM radio when it came out and I always wondered why this was such a popular tune in the USA. I never cared for it and still don't.

 holborne wrote:
Oy, should I be embarrassed to like this song?
 

Not at all!  I just ranked it a 10...  I go wayyyy back with this one!


Oy, should I be embarrassed to like this song?
out_to_lunch wrote:
I always thought it was She's so Funky....I know, I'm a dork. My dork brain has been trained in the 80's


Hey man, you're not a dork.  Or else I and many others are, too!  I used to think he was singing "She's So Funky Now" or something close.  I guess it was those scratchy LPs.

Those of you younger than, say, 40 won't be aware of what this song refers to, namely the much-loved and frankly often barmy UK TV gameshow "It's a Knockout", known also as "Jeux Sans Frontières". See the Wikipedia entry for more info on its origins, and a UK nostalgia website for pics and vid clips. As a kid our family used to sit down to Jeux Sans Frontières regularly, particularly the international competitions which were taken very, very seriously indeed by the teams involved, which was pretty damn stupid when you consider the nature of the games (wearing silly costumes, doing very silly things usually on slippery slopes, falling into gunge tanks, and much more) - the whole point of It's a Knockout was fun and parody, but it became self-parody when it took itself way too seriously. UK folk might remember it being presented by the irrepressible rugby commentator Eddie Waring, and the highly idiosyncratic Stuart Hall. They don't make programmes like that any more, right enough.


Ahnyer_Keester wrote:
This is an awesome song. What's that one that Tim Curry did that is similar?
The two songs remind me of each other, too! Not sure why. You're thinking of "I Do the Rock," which may be viewed at https://www.rockymusic.org/showvideo/042a27fdcb2d764c47435c5982330ef7.php
This is an awesome song. What's that one that Tim Curry did that is similar?
Always strikes me as uber-cool and profound. Still pursuing the nuances.
More_Cowbell wrote:
Why kissing baboons in the Jungle?
"And Rico plays with it"!
Hey, he sounds like Guy Garvey in Elbow! (kidding)
can you chew three saltines and say "top 40 schlock" at the same time? it's not as easy as it sounds.
MM13 wrote:
Apart from the fact that nobody outside Italy watches that show anymore,
Alas, that is not true: it was cancelled many years ago. Bad television is dead - long live new bad television.
More_Cowbell wrote:
Why kissing baboons in the Jungle?
Why not?
I always thought it was She's so Funky....I know, I'm a dork. My dork brain has been trained in the 80's
drifter wrote:
I always heard "she's so functional"... my niece heard "she's so popular." Both more or less represented here, and both wrong.
No, no it's "She's central heating?" no wait, "She sat a-feeding?" "She's such a seedling?" Something like that. ;-)
Kaiser wrote:
"Sea salt from the earth." :jump: Sing it, Bill!
Bill, look here -> https://www.kissthisguy.com/ :cheesygrin:
Hey nice singing Bill...you've the voice of an angel
I always heard "she's so functional"... my niece heard "she's so popular." Both more or less represented here, and both wrong.
One of my friends thought the line sung in the background was "she's... so fabulous" add that to the misinterpreted lyrics collection.