When ABBA joined U2 for unlikely duet of ‘Dancing Queen’ and were blown away by crowd's response
30 October 2020, 13:48 | Updated: 20 November 2020, 16:16
The unusual pairing of Bono and ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson in 1992 is a case of two musical worlds colliding for a sensational moment in pop history.
Footage of U2's Bono singing 'Dancing Queen' with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from ABBA proves that even the most unlikely combinations can create musical gold.
The incredible acoustic performance took place at Stockholm's Globen Arena in 1992 when Bono invited the Swedish pair on stage to pay tribute to ABBA's music.
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The show came was at a time when ABBA's music was slowly regaining popularity, and Bono inadvertently helped the band's music be introduced to a new genre of fans.
After a relative lull in the mid and late 1980's, ABBA's music had spawned new interest when synth-pop group Erasure released four-track album Abba-esque, a collection of ABBA cover songs that topped several European charts in 1992.
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Erasure's exposure came at the time Australian satirical stage show Björn Again was gaining popularity worldwide, and in the early '90s started reaching huge numbers: ABBA was seeing a resurgence.
Not long after, U2 arrived in Stockholm for the Swedish leg of their Zoo TV tour.
Comprising of five legs and 157 shows to support the band's 1991 album Achtung Baby, U2 wanted to use to the tour to show a new a more lighthearted and self-deprecating side of themselves to their fans.
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So on 14 June, 1992 Bono invited Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson to join him on stage for an impromptu, stripped-back performance of 'Dancing Queen'.
The U2 frontman started singing 'Dancing Queen' to the Swedish crowd, inviting them to join in, before the lights came up to show Benny and Bjorn accompanying them on the guitar and piano, much to the audience's screaming delight.
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As the song ends, Bono turns to the pair and bows saying, "We are not worthy!" and hugs Benny and Bjorn before they make their way off stage.
But in an incredible moment the enormous audience continue to sing 'Dancing Queen' acapella, long after the ABBA superstars have made their way off stage, before U2 gradually coaxes them into another song.
The performance was a highlight for the band and just three months later in September 1992 saw the release of album ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits.
See more: ABBA's 20 greatest ever songs, ranked
'Dancing Queen' received radio play in mid-1992 to promote the compilation album and returned to the UK singles chart, reaching number 16.
1992's ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits, with sales of over 30 million, went on to be ABBA's best selling-album and with sales of 5.5 million in the UK alone, is the second highest selling UK album after Queen's Greatest Hits.
See more: Björn Ulvaeus opens up about working on ABBA reunion with ex-wife Agnetha
But Björn Ulvaeus wasn't sure about Bono's intentions back in 1992, telling Time Out in 1999 that he hadn't been sure if the U2 singer was mocking them.
“When ABBA broke up, I assumed our music would fall into oblivion so in the early 90’s with Björn Again becoming popular and when U2 invited Benny and I on stage to sing Dancing Queen, I just assumed we were being sent up," he said, adding: "But now I see they were paying tribute to us."
Quiz: Which ABBA song best describes your personality?
Bono himself has spoken many times about his love for ABBA and pop music as a genre, even saying the Swedish superstars are "One of the best pop groups that ever was."
"The kind of music that we thought would be shallow and uninteresting and a bit bland has turned out to be incredible," he told The Mirror in 2012.
See more: The day ABBA, Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John, Rod Stewart and Andy Gibb sang a staggering medley
"Look at Abba. That's like folk music now. I love Abba. And I like disco music. I like all that stuff.
"Some of my friends look at me like I'm from outer space when I try to explain to them the genius of the Bee Gees.
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"I think the world needs all music and if you've got a great song on the radio your day is just better for it. We need pop music. It's a big thing in the world."