14 of ABBA's greatest ever songs

27 April 2018, 15:54

hall of fame

Picking just a handful of ABBA songs is an almost impossible task.

Considering they had SO MANY classic hits in such a relatively short period, it certainly makes them one of the greatest pop bands of all time.

Now that ABBA have reunited for brand new music for the first time in 35 years, we couldn't resist in revisiting some of their very best songs. So, in no particular order:

1. 'Waterloo'

This was the song that catapulted ABBA into the public consciousness. It helped them win the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest held in Brighton, and ABBAmania was born.

The song is about a woman who "surrenders" to a man and promises to love him, referring to Napoleon's surrender at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. It's not often you get a history lesson in a pop tune.

2. 'SOS'

Bjorn Ulvaeus has said that, after three years of trying to work out what style ABBA should stick with, they finally found its identity as a pop group with this song.

It started an amazing run of 18 consecutive Top 10 hits in the UK and Ireland.

3. 'Mamma Mia'

This song was written at the home of Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, but it was never intended as a single. They actually offered it to their British equivalents, Brotherhood of Man, who turned it down. What were they thinking!?

The song ended up being used as the title of the humongously successful musical and movie series.

4. 'Fernando'

This classic ballad was not originally released by ABBA, but by band member Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It was featured on her Swedish solo album Frida ensam.

It was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and was initially titled 'Tango'. The suggestion of the name 'Fernando' was provided by their limousine driver Peter Forbes in Shepperton.

5. 'Dancing Queen'

Arguably their most popular and famous song, it is also one of the greatest disco tunes of all time.

Agnetha Fältskog said of the song: "It's often difficult to know what will be a hit. The exception was 'Dancing Queen.' We all knew it was going to be massive." Benny Andersson agreed, calling it "one of those songs where you know during the sessions that it's going to be a smash hit."

Bonus fact: It's apparently the Queen's favourite pop song ever. Honestly.

6. 'Take a Chance on Me'

This was one of ABBA's first singles in which their manager Stig Anderson did not contribute lyrics, helping to establish Benny and Bjorn as a songwriting partnership.

Bjorn's hobby was running at the time, and while out one day he would sing a "tck-a-ch"-style rhythm to himself, which evolved into "take-a-chance".

7. 'Chiquitita'

Originally, this was called 'In The Arms Of Rozellita'. Bjorn liked the title but couldn't find a decent story, so it became 'Chiquitita' instead.

It is often associated with Christmas, as it was released around the festive season and including a snow-filled music video.

8. 'Does Your Mother Know'

This song was strange in that it was an ABBA hit that had lead vocals from Björn rather than either of the two female members! It is thought to be a pastiche of 1950s/early 1960s-style rock and roll, and touches on the subject of a man responding to the flirting of a much younger girl, though it’s never stated just how young the girl is.

It was used in a humorous scene in Johnny English, when Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling agent accidentally broadcasts to the world a video of himself singing along to the tune in his bathroom.

9. 'Knowing Me Knowing You'

This was one of the first ABBA songs to tackle the break-up of a relationship in its lyrics. It came out before the divorces of the ABBA members, as well as further classic break-up songs to come.

Benny Andersson later named it as one of ABBA's best recordings, and we can't help but agree!

10. 'I Have a Dream'

This song narrowly missed out on the Christmas number one of 1979, losing out to Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall'.

However, 20 years later, Westlife achieved the feat with a cover of the classic ballad.

11. 'Money, Money, Money'

This track is sung from the perspective of a woman who, despite her hard work, can barely keep her finances in order, and therefore is looking for a well-off man.

Its video was inspired by the film Cabaret, and showed Frida wearing a hat typical of the 1920s.

12. 'Gimme, Gimme, Gimme'

This song originally had the title 'Under My Sun', and it later formed as the title and theme tune of the 1990s sitcom of the same name starring Kathy Burke.

In 2005, Madonna heavily sampled it in her huge number one single 'Hung Up'.

13. 'The Winner Takes It All'

Read more: The Story of... 'The Winner Takes it All'

Bjorn has denied that his heartbreaking ballad is about his and Agnetha's divorce. However, he has said that is about divorce in general and the emotions that come with it.

The song put Agnetha in the strange situation of being asked to sing a breakup song, written by her ex-husband, just a short period afterwards. However, Bjorn didn't intend it to happen this way. She later said it was her favourite ABBA song to perform.

14. 'One of Us'

This was one of a number of tracks that dealt with the darker side of love, and it was written by Bjorn and Benny as their divorces were influencing their music.

The song is about a woman trying to revive a relationship she herself had ended.