ABBA's Official Top 20 biggest songs

Music

 

As the world prepares for an ABBA Voyage, we count down the biggest hits of the Swedish icons. 

There aren't many groups with as healthy a chart pedigree as ABBA - the Swedish quartet's singles are almost national treasures in their own way. The band's global domination from the mid-seventies to the early eighties, followed by subsequent revivals in decades to come, means ABBA's classic hits are known to millions, across generations.

During their imperial phase, ABBA scored 25 Top 40 hits in the UK, including 19 Top 10s, of which nine went all the way to Number 1 – over the space of nine years.

This year has seen what many thought unthinkable - new ABBA music to accompany a virtual tour, both titled Voyage. So far, they've added two more Top 40 hits to their discography: Don't Shut Me Down (9) and I Still Have Faith In You (14).

To celebrate their new material together for the first time in 39 years, we look at the hits that paved the way, taking into account sales across physical and download formats, plus streams. 

 


1. Out in front is Dancing Queen, the third consecutive chart-topper for the band in 1976 – spending six weeks there to be their longest running Number 1. It was re-released in 1992, to accompany their greatest hits ABBA Gold, becoming their 26th official Top 40 hit. It is ABBA's only million-seller and therefore their biggest single, with 1.56 million pure sales and 100 million streams.  

 

 

 

 

 2. Chiquitita is one of ABBA’s most popular, enduring, and beloved songs. It is also one of their biggest hits, and was released in January 1979 as the first single from the Voulez-Vous album. This was however not always the plan.

The lead single of the album was originally planned to be If It Wasn’t For the Nights. This was the best candidate the band had at the time, as it took time for Chiquitita to emerge. In fact, the whole album was slow moving. For the first time since they started, the sessions for the next ABBA album had not been going smoothly.

The title of the song “Chiquitita” is not a name of a person, contrary to what some people think. The word is actually Spanish for the phrase “very little girl” or “little one”. It is often used as a term of endearment for females.

 

 

 

 

 

 3. It’s one of ABBA’s signature songs, but the history of “Money, Money, Money” contains a couple of surprising anomalies. One is that, although it topped the charts in many European countries as well as in Australia, it wasn’t a No.1 in the UK, despite being the follow-up to “Dancing Queen,” which was. The other is that the Andersson-Ulvaeus composition took about a year to make the American chart, and then failed to make the Top 40 there.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Super Trouper, their final Number 1 in 1980, taken from the album of the same name, which spent two weeks at the top. To date it has 982,000 pure sales and 40 million streams.  

 

 

 

 

5. Is Take A Chance On Me, which became their seventh Number 1 in 1978 – they had to wait over two and half years for another one – and has 885,000 pure sales to date. In fifth place comes the ultimate weepie The Winner Takes It All, a chart-topper in 1980, with 853,000 sales.

 

 

 

 6. 'Waterloo' remains one of the best ever songs performed at Eurovision, but what is the song about and how did ABBA get involved in the competition?

Who wrote 'Waterloo'?

Like many early ABBA songs, the song was written by members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, alongside their manager Stig Anderson.

How successful was 'Waterloo' at Eurovision?

Held at The Dome in Brighton on April 6, 1974, ABBA won Eurovision with 24 points.

That may not sound like much compared to modern competitions, but second place only had 18 points.

Bonus fact: The Wombles were that year's interval entertainment.

Who has covered it?

- Bananarama (for the Eurovision parody A Song For Eurotrash on Channel 4)
- Fellow Eurovision winners The Olsen Brothers
- Doctor and the Medics with Roy Wood
Cher
- The Mamma Mia 2 cast (Hugh Skinner and Lily James)

 

 

 

 

7.  ' MAMMA MIA' ABBA's manager Stig Anderson would often come up with titles that musicians Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson would write lyrics around, and this is an example of that workflow. The phrase "Mamma Mia" is an Italian saying that literally means "My Mother" and is used to express surprise.


In a great example of lyrical dissonance, this infectiously catchy tune contains very sad lyrics dealing with heartbreak and the pain of letting someone go who you wish you could have back. This attention to lyrics (at least the English ones) was new for ABBA. Bjorn Ulvaeus explained: "In the beginning lyrics were a sort of necessary evil for us, just something you had to have to sing, usually it was about looking out for a hookline and then building something around that. But by the third album, when my grasp of English had got much better because we'd traveled a lot, I began to think that it would be fun to say something as well, and that people would listen to what we sang."


Owing to a Musician's Union ruling, ABBA were forced to perform the song live on Top Of The Pops when it hit #1, the only time they appeared live on the show.

 

 

 

 

  

 

It's hard to pick out notable entries from an ABBA list because every single is a classic. Just outside the Top is Fernando, another 1976 Number 1, with 874,000 sales. Interestingly, ABBA, who won Eurovision two years earlier, knocked that year's winner off the top – the very ABBA-esque UK entry Brotherhood of Man – and it wasn't the last time. ABBA booted Brotherhood of Man off Number 1 again in 1978, with Take a Chance on Me taking over from Figaro. 

 

Fittingly, rounding off the Top 20 is Thank You For The Music. Considered ABBA's farewell song, The track originally featured on the group's fifth studio record The Album in 1977 but was issued as a single in the UK in 1983, around the release of a compilation of the same name. 

 

 

POS TITLE PEAK YEAR
1 DANCING QUEEN 1 1976
2 SUPER TROUPER 1 1980
3 KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU 1 1977
4 TAKE A CHANCE ON ME 1 1978
5 FERNANDO 1 1976
6 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL 1 1980
7 MAMMA MIA 1 1975
8 THE NAME OF THE GAME 1 1977
9 CHIQUITITA 2 1979
10 GIMME GIMME GIMME (A MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT) 3 1979
11 WATERLOO 1 1974
12 I HAVE A DREAM 2 1979
13 ANGEL EYES / VOULEZ VOUS 3 1979
14 DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW 4 1979
15 ONE OF US 3 1981
16 MONEY MONEY MONEY 3 1976
17 LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME 7 1981
18 SUMMER NIGHT CITY 5 1978
19 S.O.S. 6 1975
20 THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC 33 1983

 


Publicación más antigua Publicación más reciente


Dejar un comentario