Showing posts with label Abba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abba. Show all posts

Monday, 9 November 2015

Waterloo - Abba

'Here he goes again', you sigh, reading the title of this item. But I have to confess that I never bought an original 7" single of Abba's famous Eurovision song 'Waterloo'. Yes, I do have the 2014 re-release and even the 2004 re-release, but the original single somehow never reached my record collection.

I corrected that mistake in part recently, when I bought the German and French pressings of the 1974 single. Of course there are some more versions to collect, and they will certainly appear on this blog when I get them, but I refuse to pay more than 1 or 2 euro for this single, which complicates matters somewhat. If I'd bought this single in the Eighties I would have paid far less as they were sold in every second hand shop in the world, but these days you have to rely on record fairs and everyone knows that the name Abba almost guarantees big sales numbers. Except for people like me, who aren't necessarily an avid fan of the band, but still want to get their hands on these old singles. Somehow, somewhere someone will hand over an old copy of this famous song for less than 'too much'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5778 / no. 5791
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, April 16, 2015 / Discogs.com, received August 13, 2015
Cost: 1 euro / 2 euro
Tracks: 'Waterloo' / 'Watch out'

Listen to the track

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Waterloo - Abba

Abba have released ten albums during their career - give or take a few - and literally hundreds of compilation albums. No excuse is too weird to release yet another picking of their classic tracks. Forget the love songs compilations, jubilee albums, greatest hits, best album tracks and even the box sets though: here's the real deal: another re-release of their classic Eurovision single 'Waterloo'.

This time, it's a picture disc released exactly 40 years after they won the Eurovision Song Contest with THAT song. I was hesitant to buy it because, well, I already have the song a few times - but this really is a pretty record. It's just so damn irritating that fans of Abba have to buy the same songs over and over and over again. Fortunately, I'm not an Abba fan in that sense of the word.

My collection: 7" single no. 5781
Found: Amazon.co.uk, received April 24, 2015
Cost: £ 5
Tracks: 'Waterloo (Swedish version)' / 'Waterloo (English version)'

Listen to the song

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Ring Ring - Abba

'Ring Ring' was originally a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries (although the rest of Europe, North America and Australia would be introduced to ABBA the following year). It was originally written in Swedish by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, along with their manager Stig Anderson, and the translation into English lyrics was helped by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody.

This German single was actually released in 1974, after ABBA had won the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Waterloo'. It couples 'Ring Ring' with another previous single hit, 'Honey Honey'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5365
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Ring Ring' / 'Honey Honey'

Monday, 16 April 2012

So long - Abba

When I was younger, so much younger than today, Abba was my favourite band. I got an album of their greatest hits as a souvenir after a holiday because I really wanted it, and I played it over and over again. One of my favourite tracks on that album was 'So long', which to me sounded like the hardest kind of hardrock I could imagine.

Of course, Abba were never in the business of hardrock, but there is a certain rock edge to this song. It was released as a single in November 1974. Although musically similar to 'Waterloo', it was only a hit in Sweden, Germany and Austria, peaking at number 7, number 11 and number 3 respectively.

My collection: 7" single no. 5326
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'So long' / 'I've been waiting for you'

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Ring Ring - Björn + Benny + Anna + Frieda

'Ring Ring' was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Their manager Stig Anderson wrote the lyrics with the intention of making a 'poppy' song and to make it more accessible to a universal audience, Anderson asked American songwriter Neil Sedaka to pen the lyrics for an English version, together with his songwriting partner, Phil Cody. Recorded in January, the song was submitted to the Swedish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest - and it finished third.

Nevertheless, the song fared much better in the Swedish charts, both in its Swedish and English language incarnations, where it hit number one and number two respectively. Björn + Benny + Anna + Frieda had an international hit on their hands and decided to re-enter for Eurovision the next year - and the rest is history. I never managed to buy this legendary single, but finally picked up a copy last weekend.

My collection: 7" single no. 5265
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 19, 2011
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Ring ring' / 'Rock 'n' roll band'

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Under attack - Abba

'Under attack' was recorded by Abba betwee August 2 and August 4, 1982. It was one of the tracks on what was to become Abba's final recording sessions, and released as a single from the compilation album 'The Singles: the first 10 years'. The video for 'Under attack' was made in November 1982, shortly before the release of this single.

'Under attack' was not a commercial success. The single did reach number 5 in the Dutch Top 40 and number 3 in Belgium, but in other countries the single fared less well. After the single's release, it was decided that ABBA would take a 'break'; however, they would not record as a group again.

My collection: 7" single no. 178
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, December 1982
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Under attack' / 'You owe me one'

Monday, 9 November 2009

Honey honey - Abba

This French version of the single 'Honey honey' by Abba features a photograph of their performance of 'Waterloo', the song that gave them a Eurovision victory earlier on in 1974. 'Honey honey' was released as the followup to that hit around the world, with the exception of the UK.

The single reached number 2 in Germany and number 4 in Austria and Switzerland. Elsewhere in Europe, it was less successful, peaking at number 16 in the Netherlands and number 12 in Belgium. However, it was a hit for Abba in the USA, peaking at number 27.

My collection: 7" single no. 4135
Found: Backtrack, Antwerpen, November 7, 2009
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Honey honey' / 'King Kong song'

Friday, 6 November 2009

The day before you came - Abba

You can't tell from the sleeve design of this single - which is absolutely horrible - but with 'The day before you came' Abba arguably reached the creative peak of their career. It's a very melancholy song, written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson while they took time off in 1981 to write new material for Abba as well as beginning to create their first musical, 'Chess'.

'The day before you came' was recorded in August 1982. To date, this song was the last song the group ever recorded together in the studio. Agnetha performed the lead without the lights on and said that the mood had become sad and everybody in the studio knew that 'this was the end'.

My collection: 7" single no. 164
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'The day before you came' / 'Cassandra'

Friday, 23 October 2009

Angeleyes / Voulez-vous - Abba

In the UK, 'Angeleyes' and 'Voulez-vous' were released as a double A side, because the record company believed 'Angeleyes' would appeal more to the record buying public than 'Voulez-vous', which was released as the A-side track in most other countries. They were not wrong: the single peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart.

'Angeleyes / Voulez vous' was the first Abba single in the UK to be released in a picture sleeve, as all previous Abba singles were released in a standard 'Epic' company sleeve. The single was also issued in several different colours of vinyl, although my copy is pressed on 'standard' black vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 2016
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 19, 1993
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Angeleyes' / 'Voulez-vous'

Sunday, 4 October 2009

One of us - Abba

'One of us' was one of the last songs Abba recorded for their final album 'The visitors'. Like more songs around that time, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson were writing about their personal lives, which involved the divorce of their female band members, Agnetha and Frida respecrtively. Despite the somewhat depressing context and reservations by manager Stig Anderson, 'One of us' was released as the first single from 'The Visitors'. It reached number 1 in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland. In the UK, it peaked at number 3.

The song was parodied in the UK television programme 'Not the nine o'clock news', in which the chorus was sung as 'One of us is ugly, 1 of us is cute / One of us you'd like to see in her birthday suit / Two of us write music, two have way a song /Sorry, in translation, that line come out wrong'.

My collection: 7" single no. 109
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1981
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'One of us' / 'Should I laugh or cry'

Friday, 25 September 2009

When all is said and done - Abba

'When all is said and done' is a track from Abba's 1981 album 'The visitors'. It was released as a single in Australia and the USA - and this is the sleeveless US pressing. Written during a time of emotional turmoil, Björn Ulvaeus has admitted that the recent divorce between Benny Andersson and Frida Lyngstad was at the back of his mind during the songwriting process for this song. Björn sought approval from Benny and Frida before the group began working with the song. When recording began in March 1981, only one month had passed since their separation.

'When all is said and done' was a reasonable success in the United States, peaking at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 - and Abba's final top 40 hit there. Now if I could only find the picture sleeve somewhere...

My collection: 7" single no. 4068
Found: Marktplaats.nl, received September 25, 2009
Cost: 0,75 euro
Tracks: 'When all is said and done' / 'Should I laugh or cry'

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The name of the game - Abba

'The name of the game' was the first song to be recorded for Abba's fifth album, which would be named 'The album'. Written by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Stig Anderson, it was their most complex composition yet and contained the influences of the laid-back California sound of the day.

An edited version of 'The name of the game', which omitted the entire second verse of the song, reduced the length of the track from its original 4:51 to 3:58. This was released on a promotional single in the USA. Somehow this edited version found its way onto various cd releases, including the compilation 'Abba Gold' and the 1999 digital remaster of 'The album'. Fortunately, the original single features the song in its entirity.

My collection: 7" single no. 130
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'The name of the game' / 'I wonder (Departure)'

Sunday, 6 September 2009

I do, I do, I do, I do, I do - Abba

Personally I was never too fond of this Abba track. The most amusing thing about it was the title. The song was written by band members Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and their manager Stig Anderson.

The song's release came shortly after their previous single, 'So long', performed disappointingly in terms of charts and sales. (Although the B-side of 'I do, I do, I do, I do, I do' was 'Rock me' in most cases, this Dutch pressing has 'So long' as the B-side.) After the success of 'Waterloo', Abba were having difficulty establishing themselves as an act with longevity. 'I do, I do, I do, I do, I do' became a significant improvement on the international charts. It peaked at number 3 in the Dutch Top 40 and topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland.

My collection: 7" single no. 1862
Found: All that music, Leiden, January 30, 1993
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'I do, I do, I do, I do, I do' / 'So long'

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Thank you for the music - Abba

When Abba broke up in 1982, the world still expected to hear more from the band. They never officially announced that they would never record together again, so the hope was still there when this single was released.

'Thank you for the music' was originally released in 1977, but in 1984 it was re-released to promote a new compilation album entitled 'From Abba with love', which contained a curious collection of tracks: eight hit singles, one solo track by Frida, one solo track by Agnetha, two B-sides and two album tracks. Both the album and the single were only released in the Netherlands. The single was not a big success: while the album topped the Dutch albums chart, this single only reached number 38 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 4001
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, August 22, 2009
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Thank you for the music' / 'Medley: Pick a bale of cotton-On top of old Smokey-Midnight special'

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Does your mother know - Abba

Abba's 'Does your mother know' was recorded in February 1979 and released as a single in April of that year. Written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the song is something of a pastiche to 1950s/early 1960s-style rock & roll, incorporating some modern disco rhythms as well. The lyric of the song touches on the subject of a man responding to the flirting of a much younger girl. For the first time in a long time, the song's lead vocals were not performed by female vocalists Agnetha and/or Frida, but by Björn Ulvaeus.

The single was still a big hit for the Swedish superstars, peaking at number 4 in the Netherlands and the UK, also reaching number 19 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 2044
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, October 30, 1993
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Does your mother know' / 'Kisses of fire'

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The visitors - Abba

The title track from Abba's last album 'The visitors' (1981) was released as a single in the USA, after the band participated in an American TV show, 'Let Poland Be Poland', broadcast via satellite around the world on January 31, 1982. The show, which also featured Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda and US President Ronald Reagan, was a public protest against the then-recent imposition of martial law in Poland. Abba performed this song, which is a protest against the mistreatment of political dissidents in the Soviet Union back then.

This promotional 7" single contains both the full length version of the song and an edit, which is 80 seconds shorter than the original.

My collection: 7" single no. 3996
Found: eBay.com, received August 6, 2009
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'The visitors' / 'The visitors (short version)'

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Eagle / Thank you for the music - Abba

Released as a double A-side, 'Eagle' and 'Thank you for the music' got equal attention at its release, but in later years, it's 'Thank you for the music' that has become an Abba classic, and not 'Eagle'. I don't really understand. While 'Thank you for the music' certainly has a universal appeal, 'Eagle' comes with a much better production and sound overall.

The single became a number 1 hit in Belgium, but peaked lower in all other countries. In the Netherlands it made number 4, while in the UK it was not released. I got my copy from my sister as a result of a swap. I do not recall which single I swapped but I do know it was an improvement.

My collection: 7" single no. 18
Found: Den Haag
Cost: -
Tracks: 'Eagle' / 'Thank you for the music'

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Money, money, money - Abba

'Money, money, money' was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and at first had the working title 'Gypsy girl'. The dramatic structure of the song suited well for Anni-Frid Lyngstad's lead vocal. The song is an early indication of Björn and Benny's abilities to write dramatic music suitable for a musicals.

'Money, money, money' was the second worldwide hit from Abba's album 'Arrival'. The single topped the charts in Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, West Germany, Mexico and New Zealand, and reached the Top 3 in Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 174
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1980
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Money, money, money' / 'Crazy world'

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Super trouper - Abba

'Super trouper' is a name for gigantic spotlights used in stadium concerts and such. While Abba were never fond of performing live, the lyric seems to suggest that they 'feel like a number one' when they perform live. But in typical Abba style, the happy and upbeat song hides a darker and sadder subtext.

The music video for 'Super trouper' featured the largest number of artists the group ever used in a video. Other than Abba and their friends, the rest were from a circus troupe based in the UK. Group photos were made for the sleeve of this single and also for the album cover of 'Super trouper', where this single was drawn from. The single topped the charts in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 173
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1981
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Super trouper' / 'The piper'

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Chiquitita - Abba

Before the song 'Chiquitita' was created, it existed in various working forms. Titles like 'Kålsupare', 'Three wise guys' and 'In the arms of Rosalita' all passed by. The song was finally recorded as 'Chiquitita' in December 1978 and released a month later, as the first single from the album 'Voulez-vous'.

Upon its release it was featured in the 1979 UNICEF charity event, the 'Music for UNICEF' concert, broadcast worldwide from the United Nations General Assembly. The single subsequently became a charttopper in Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Mexico and New Zealand. In the UK, the single peaked at number 2.

My collection: 7" single no. 2247
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, March 4, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Chiquitita' / 'Lovelight'

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