- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 22, 2013

ABBA are back in the news. A museum devoted to the pop group opened in Stockholm in May and band member Agnetha Faltskog, 63, recently released a solo album called “A.” Made up of Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson and Faltskog — two married couples who later divorced — ABBA sold more than 400 million records. The band consistently topped the charts — especially in Europe — for a decade after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” in 1974. The List this week looks at ABBA’s top 10 hits.

  • 10. Super Trouper — This was the title track from the 1980 studio album. The song only reached No. 45 in the U.S. but was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Play. It was the band’s ninth and final No. 1 hit in the U.K. The name “Super Trouper” refers to the spotlights used in stadium concerts.
  • 9. SOS — This 1975 song reached No. 15 in the U.S. and No. 6 in the U.K. It’s the only hit on ever on the Billboard charts where both the title and the artist are palindromes. Was Mr. Ulvaeus and Miss Faltskog divorce foreseen in the lyrics of this song: “Whatever happened to our love? I wish I understood/ It used to be so nice, it used to be so good”?
  • 8. Waterloo — This was the band’s breakout song and won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest watched by 500 million people. It was the band’s first worldwide hit reaching No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K. It compared a romance with the climax of the Napoleonic wars.
  • 7. Our Last Summer — A great nostalgic song about a teenage couples’ memories of a summer in Paris. It’s not often you see the words “restaurants” and “croissants” rhyming in a song. Miss Lyngstad is the lead vocalist. The guitar solo in the song was used in the musical “Chess” in the song “Anthem.” The tune appeared on the “Super Trouper” album in 1980.
  • 6. One of Us — This was ABBA’s last big hit and the first single from the band’s final studio album “The Visitors” in 1981. It’s a sad song and written when the band members were going through their divorces. The song failed in the U.S. but reached No. 3 in the U.K.
  • 5. Fernando — This was the band’s first nonalbum single when it was released in 1976. It became ABBA’s best-selling single of all time, with 6 million copies sold in 1976 alone. The song reached No. 13 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K. The solo parts were sung by Miss Lyngstad.
  • 4. Dancing Queen — This pop classic was the band’s only No. 1 hit in the U.S. topping the chart Jan. 22, 1977. It was listed as presidential candidate John McCain’s favorite song in 2008. It has been reported that when this song was played at an event at Windsor Palace, Queen Elizabeth told guests: “I always try to dance when this song comes on because I am the queen and I like to dance.”
  • 3. I Have a Dream — Amazingly this song didn’t register in the U.S. but came in No. 2 in the U.K. The final chorus features a children’s choir from Stockholm. The boy band Westlife topped the U.K. charts with the song in 1999, while country singer Cristy Lane had a No. 17 hit on the Billboard country chart in 1981.
  • 2. Take a Chance on Me — Mr. McCain, a big ABBA fan, sought permission to use this song as his campaign theme in 2008 but the price tag was too high. The song reached No. 3 in the U.S. in 1998 selling more than 500,000 copies. It was the band’s seventh No. 1 hit in the U.K.
  • 1. The Winner Takes It All — Reached No. 8 in the U.S. in the last week of 1980 and was No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart for two weeks. It was the band’s eighth No. 1 hit in the U.K. It was voted Britain’s favorite ABBA song in a 1999 poll by Channel 4. Miss Faltskog acknowledged in May that the song is about her failed marriage to Mr. Ulvaeus and her favorite ABBA song.

Bonus track: Under Attack — Written in 1982 when the band’s popularity was in decline, this song was not a commercial success but its popularity has grown over the years especially after it was used in the musical “Mamma Mia.” The band performed the song on the BBC’s “The Late, Late Breakfast Show” on Dec. 11, 1982, which is reported to be their last collective performance.

What’s your favorite ABBA? song?

Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Wikipedia, Songfacts.com, The Myrtle Beach Sun-News.