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

Monday, 18 March 2019

Bravo tu as gagné - Mireille Mathieu

I wonder how many Abba fans are aware that this track happened. I don't recall any news items about this back in 1981, but it is pretty astounding that Benny, Björn and Frida contributed backing vocals to 'Bravo tu as gagné', a French cover version of their then-recent hit 'The winner takes it all', recorded by Mireille Mathieu. The back cover of this single even shows a photograph of the four in the studio. Why Agnetha wasn't present, I don't know - she was probably sulking at home somewhere.

The song was actually produced by Benny and Björn as well, which makes it almost an Abba single. I found this single while shopping online. It was a big surprise for me, especially since the single wasn't particularly expensive. You'd think that any rare Abba track would fetch a lot of money.

My collection: 7" single no. 6009
Found:, received March 9, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Bravo tu as gagné' / 'Viens chanter pour le Bon Dieu'

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Estoy sonando - Abba

'Estoy sonando' is of course the Spanish version of 'I have a dream'. With the help of Buddy and Mary McCluskey the ballad was turned into a warm-blooded version for the Spanish speaking market.

I ordered this single along with a few others from Spain. The problem with online ordering is illustrated right here: this was by far the worst sleeve of the whole package. You can't always know what you'll get. The might be an occasion to replace this single, but I am not rushing it. For now this is good enough to have - a nice curiosity doesn't always need to be perfect.

My collection: 7" single no. 5980
Found:, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Estoy sonando' / 'As good as new'

Dame! Dame! Dame! - Abba

Abba was a successful band, but while they were having success in Europe and beyond, they also achieved quite a bit in the Spanish-speaking world. They translated some of their songs and released them as a single in those countries as well.

Obviously, since these singles were never released around these parts, I never actually bought them. Since I recently completed my collection of 'normal' Abba singles, these rarities have started to catch my eye. I recently acquired two Spanish Abba singles, and this the first of them: 'Dame! Dame! Dame!' is the Spanish version of 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!'. Although it is not among their most successful singles, it has always been one of my own favourites, and hearing it in Spanish is something special.

My collection: 7" single no. 5978
Found:, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Dame! Dame! Dame!' / 'The king has lost his crown'

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Dancing queen - Abba

The compilation album 'Abba Gold' may be one of the most successful compilation albums of all time. Released in 1992, it was the catalyst of a reappreciation of Sweden's most successful export product. Before 1992, the band was snubbed by all 'serious' music lovers, but ten years after the band's unofficial breakup, it had become clear that their pop music stood the test of time and perhaps sounded as modern as anything that was in the charts during the Nineties.

'Dancing queen' was released as the first single from 'Abba Gold', and again became a hit. I didn't buy this single back then, because I already owned a copy of the original 'Dancing queen', but over time I started to regret that decision. These days it's not easy to get hold of those 'Abba Gold' single, but I finally found a copy yesterday... and of course I leapt at the chance.

My collection: 7" single no. 5974
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Dancing queen' / 'Lay all your love on me'

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Chiquitita (cantado en español) - Abba

I have memories of Abba premiering 'Chiquitita', the song they wrote for Unicef, which was performed at a special concert and broadcast everywhere including the Netherlands. I was only eight years old but somehow the moment stuck in my head. I was never too fond of the song: compared to their earlier songs it was too schmaltzy, too kitsch and too slow for my taste. There was of course one exception: the last few seconds of the song with the impressive piano solo.

Being an Abba fan - and having been one for over forty years now, I am proud to say - I have recently acquired all the original German singles of them. It started when I bought the singles box set and saw all these replicas, and I wanted to have the originals as well. I found most of them for less than a euro, and some of them cost a little more - but I am very satisfied to have them all now. I have started looking into the rarer singles - as long as they are not insanely expensive, like most 'weird' Abba singles tend to be.

This Spanish version of 'Chiquitita' is my most recent Abba acquisition. I couldn't fault the price and it was nice to reacquaint myself with this little beauty. I think I like the Spanish version a little better than the original version, in fact!

My collection: 7" single no. 5964
Found:, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Chiquitita (cantado en español)' / 'Lovelight'

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Hej gamle man! - Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson

A long time ago, back in 1970, two Swedish musicians recorded an album together: Björn Ulvaeus from the Hootenanny Singers and Benny Andersson from the Hep Stars. They met in 1966 and started writing songs together soon after that. They released the album 'Lycka' in November 1970 and this single was taken from that album.

'Hej gamle man!' is considered by many as the first official Abba single, since it features Bjorn's wife Agnetha Fältskog and Benny's fiancee Anni-Frid Lyngstad on backing vocals. The lyric of the song is about a salvation soldier who was always on the square in Västervik to collect money for the Salvation Army.

My collection: 7" single no. 5953
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2018
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Hej gamle man!' / 'Lycka'

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 /, 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:, 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:, 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'

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