Last week William Price King took us through the early 1970s as ABBA is formed and their first hits make it into the charts.. This week the 1970s continue with even more sensational music. Time to hand over to William to take us through the most popular tracks to be released.
“Honey, Honey” was released as the second single from their second studio album, “Waterloo,” after the success of the title track which won the 1974 “Eurovision Song Contest.” This was the last official recording by the group in their own language, and was released as a double A-side with the Swedish “Waterloo” single.
In its English format, “Honey, Honey” was released with “King Kong Song” as the B-side. “Honey, Honey” spent 4 months in the top 5 in West Germany and also reached the top 5 in Austria, Spain, and Switzerland. In the U.S. “Honey, Honey” was moderately successful compared to the group’s later singles. It reached No.27 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts; the 1st ABBA single to reach the AC chart.
In November 1974, ABBA embarked on their first European tour, playing dates in Denmark, West Germany and Austria. It was not as successful as the band had hoped, since most of the venues did not sell out. Due to a lack of demand, they were even forced to cancel a few shows, including a sole concert scheduled in Switzerland. The second leg of the tour, which took them through Scandinavia in January 1975, was very different. They played to full houses everywhere and finally got the reception they had aimed for. Live performances continued in the middle of 1975 when ABBA embarked on a fourteen open-air date tour of Sweden and Finland. Their Stockholm show at the Gröna Lund amusement park had an estimated audience of 19,200. Björn Ulvaeus later said that “If you look at the singles we released straight after Waterloo, we were trying to be more like the Sweet, a semi-glam rock group, which was stupid because we were always a pop group.”
So Long” was the first single from the album “ABBA.” This song is quite similar, musically, to “Waterloo.” ABBA performs parts of the song “live” in the film “ABBA: The Movie,” 1977. “So Long” was released as a single in the United Kingdom but it received no airplay from Radio 1 and failed to chart, which based on its ongoing popularity is surprising.
“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” was ABBA’s next major worldwide hit after “Waterloo.” It was the second single to be released from their “ABBA” album, and one of the last songs to be recorded for the album. This song was inspired by the European “schlager” music* of the 1950s, and also by the saxophone sound of American 1950s orchestra leader Billy Vaughn. “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”, put ABBA firmly back in the spotlight.
* Schlager music is a style of popular music which is generally a catchy instrumental accompaniment to vocal pieces of pop music with easy to understand, happy-go-lucky and often sentimental lyrics.
“SOS” is unique among pop songs of the period, opening with an unaccompanied classical keyboard in a subdued D-minor key. Unlike most ABBA tracks that preceded it, the vocal begins with an emotional solo performance by Fältskog.Lyricist Ulvaeus has said that, after three years of trying to figure out what style would define them, ABBA found its identity as a pop group with the release of “SOS.” The song was the subject of one of the first pioneering music videos produced by directorLasse Hallströmfor the band. Much of the video is filmed from an overhead camera, as if from a tower or lighthouse, with the bandmates’ faces sometimes distorted, as though shot through a prism.
“Mamma Mia” was the last track recorded for the album “ABBA.” However, “Mamma Mia” was never intended to be a single. The distinctive sound at the start of the song is the marimba which was incorporated at the last minute, after Benny Andersson found it in the studio and decided its “tick tock” rhythm was perfect for the track. “Mamma Mia” reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in January, 1976, the second of ABBA’s 18 consecutive Top 10 singles there.
“Fernando” was not originally released as an ABBA song but by band member Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It was featured on her No. 1 Swedish solo album “Frida ensam” (1975). The song, composed by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, carried the working title of “Tango.” The suggestion of the name “Fernando” was given by their limousine driver Peter Forbes. “Fernando” was the group’s first non-album single, released in March, 1976 through Polar Music. The song became one of ABBA’s best-selling singles of all time, with six million copies sold in 1976 alone. It is one of fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling singles of all time.
Additional sources: Wikipedia ABBA
Next week we will be moving into the 1980s with more music for you to enjoy.
My thanks to William for his continued contributions bringing the best music to the blog and we hope that you will take the opportunity to buy ABBA music and at the very least get up and have a dance to these iconic tracks..