My song ‘Silly Games’ and how I ended up in Steve McQueen’s movie

I wrote ‘Silly Games’ back in 1978. It’s the story of a young lady proposing to a young man. Then Steve McQueen made it political in ‘Lovers Rock’, explains Dennis Bovell

Thursday 17 June 2021 18:10
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<p>Dennis Bovell, one of the originators of the reggae genre, lovers rock </p>

Dennis Bovell, one of the originators of the reggae genre, lovers rock

Out of the blue I got a call saying Steve McQueen wants to meet me. Why not, I thought, I’d quite like to meet him too. This was some years back. Nothing in film happens overnight.

Steve told me about the Small Axe series and gave me a script of Lovers Rock. That’s the moment I discover that the film adorns my song “Silly Games”. My first reaction? Thank God he’s got the lyrics correct. I’ve lost count of the times people turn the opening line, “I’ve been wanting you”, into “I’ve been watching you”. That really irks me. I’m not some stalker.

“Silly Games” is the story of a bold young lady proposing to a young man. C’mon, we’ve been giving each other the eye. I know you like me. Stop playing games. In 1978, when I wrote it, almost always the man made the first move. I read the same story in Steve’s script. It’s essentially my song remade for the screen.

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