Q is for Quirky: ABBA

The New Yorker’s 2014 article The Anatomy of an Earworm used Waterloo by ABBA as its example.

ABBA(I told you early on there were two letters for which I could not find a family band; this was one.)

When I first started blogging, I came across a blogger named Greg Burgas, who used to say, quite often, “ABBA rules!” That, he opined, was The Name of the Game [LISTEN] (#12 in 1978).

You mean that Swedish quartet comprised of that married couple Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, and that other married couple, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, whose first initials spelled out their name? Yeah, that one.

He’d probably proclaimed, Knowing Me, Knowing You [LISTEN] (#14 in 1977), you ought to agree.

I used to refer to them as a “guilty pleasure,” though I admitted to liking Dancing Queen [LISTEN] (#1 in 1977). But as I think about a group that was one of the most successful of all time, all across the globe, which generated countless tribute bands – here’s one which came to my city recently – and after their 1982 breakup, and their marital breakups just before that, became MORE famous, then I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do [LISTEN] have to think that Mr. Burgas was totally right (#15 in 1976), though less successful in the US than elsewhere.

Though they faded from view somewhat for a time – SOS [LISTEN] (#15 in 1975):

In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year.

I suppose we ought to listen to Mamma Mia [LISTEN] (#32 in 1976). Hey, are the songs from Mamma Mia! considered show tunes?

“The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.” The Winner Takes All [LISTEN] (#8 in 1981).

The group was in the news this year when it was revealed that they wore those garish clothes for tax purposes: “The band, whose spangly flares, catsuits and platform heels were considered naff even in the 1970s, exploited a Swedish law which meant clothes were tax deductible if their owners could prove they were not used for daily wear.” Ah, time for Money, Money, Money [LISTEN] (#56 in 1977).

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of their first hit “Waterloo.”
Agnetha hinted last November that ABBA could re-form.

She told German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag that she, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson are considering reforming in 2014… “Of course it’s something we’re thinking about,” she said. “There seem to be plans to do something to mark this anniversary in some way. I can’t say at this point what will come of them.” Agnetha is generally seen as the shy one who doesn’t want to perform anymore but in May 2013, she released a brand new album and has since been out there promoting it. But will the other three want to come out and play?

(Wish I had heard Wilco perform Waterloo last year.)

The New Yorker had an article this year, The Anatomy of an Earworm, you know, a song that gets stuck in your head. Guess what song is used as an example? The same song for which ABBA was “honored at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 when their hit ‘Waterloo’ was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history.”

I better end with Fernando [LISTEN], (#13 in 1976).

OK, OK, here’s the song that started it all, Waterloo [LISTEN] (#6 in 1974).

ABC Wednesday – Round 14

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