Our Top 10 ABBA Songs list takes a look at one of music’s most successful pop acts. They achieved success overseas as well as in America. The group sold over 150 million records worldwide. Some of their hits include “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Fernando,” “The Name of the Game” and “Take a Chance on Me.” They’ve won several awards throughout their career. Unfortunately like other groups, they ended up breaking up. They got back together to record music. We can get into more detail about that when we get to know ABBA better.
ABBA is an acronym for the group’s names. The group consists of members Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-frid Lyngstad. The band consisted of two sets of married couples. Faltskog and Ulvaeus were married to each other. Andersson and Lyngstad were married to each other. They all started out as members of different bands before they hit it big. Ulaveus and Andersson crossed paths when their bands worked at the same venue. They sang together in the park and wanted to work together again. Andersson was a songwriter and entered his song in a contest. He didn’t win, but he got the opportunity to meet Lyngstad. They hit it off and got together. Ulvaeus and Faltskog were already a couple when the other two got together. They all hit it off so well that they eventually became a group and the rest was history.
The group released their first album Ring Ring in 1973. The album peaked at number two in Sweden. The album wasn’t released in the United States until 1995. The album features the singles “People Need Love,” “He Is Your Brother,” “Ring Ring,” “Another Town Another Train,” “Love Isn’t Easy (But It’s Sure Is Hard Enough),” “Rock’n Roll Band” and “Nina, Pretty Ballerina.” Waterloo was released in 1974. It peaked at number 145 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Waterloo,” “King Kong Song,” “Hasta Manana,” “My Mama Said,” “Honey, Honey” and “What About Living Stone?” The album went gold.
ABBA released their eponymous album in 1975. The album peaked at 174 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the songs “So Long,” “I’ve Been Waiting for You,” “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” “Bang-A-Boomerang,” “Rock Me,” “SOS” and “Mamma Mia.” Arrival came out in 1976. The album peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the songs “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money,” “That’s Me” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.”
The Album came out in 1977. It peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “The Name of the Game,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Eagle” and “Thank You for the Music.” The album sold over one million copies. Voulez – Vous came out in 1979. The album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Chiquitita,” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Voulez – Vous,” “Angeleyes,” “I Have a Dream” and “As Good as New.” The album went gold.
Super Trouper was released in 1980. The album peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 charts. “The Winner Takes It All,” “On and on and On,” “Super Trouper,” “Our Last Summer,” “Happy New Year,” “Andante, Andante” and “Lay All Your Love on Me.” The album went gold. The Visitors was released in 1981. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the songs “Slipping Through My Fingers,” “One of Us,” “When All Is Said and Done,” “Head Over Heels” and “The Visitor.”
As promised, here is the information about the drama ABBA faced. The group decided to split in 1982. Their success led to the end of both marriages. When the couples were experiencing marital discord, it affected their music. When they broke up Anderson and Ulaveus continued to write music together. Lyngstad and Faltskog went on to pursue solo careers. The group reunited 10 years after they broke up. The group continues to perform together.
ABBA paved the way for other Swedish acts to be successful in the United States. They made it possible for acts such as Roxette and Ace of Base to become successful. Their music had such an impact on fans that a musical and two movies were based on their songs. There aren’t too many acts that have musicals or movies based on their songs. It says a lot about what the group means to people. This Top 10 ABBA Songs list will feature their best songs.
# 10 – I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
The first song on our Top 10 ABBA Songs list is “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” from their eponymous album. The song has a pop rock sound. This is a longing song about a woman trying to convince the man she loves to love her back. The man isn’t interested in a relationship with her, but she believes he’s the one meant for her. The music starts out like a summer song. It has a light and breezy sound to it. It also has a classic sound to it. The music sounds like something to hear while you’re on the beach.
The instrumentation is smooth and relaxing. The lyrics are optimistic and sentimental. They don’t sound cheesy or desperate considering they are singing about wanting a man to love them that doesn’t love them back. Faltskog and Lyngstad’s voices blend well together. They sing the entire song together in harmony. They basically sound like the same person. They sound as if they are one person singing the song. They sing in time with the music and with every beat change. The song was a number one hit in Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland. The song hit number fifteen on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.
# 9 – Fernando
The next song on our Top 10 ABBA Songs list is the majestic track “Fernando” from their greatest hits album. It has a Europop sound. The nostalgic song is about veterans going down memory lane about a battle they fought back in the day. This is a different subject to cover. ABBA wasn’t known for tackling this subject so this track was out of their comfort zone. It has a deeper meaning than their previous work. ABBA fans may or may not know that this song was originally meant for Anni-frid Lyngstad’s solo project.
They re-recorded the song as part of the group. The ballad has a somber and mellow beat. The music is suitable for the subject of the song. The song sounds stripped down. It gives the listeners a chance to focus on the vocals. It starts off with Anni-frid Lyngstad singing lead alone. It’s possibly a nod to the fact that she originally recorded it alone. Agnetha Faltskog appears in the song just before the chorus. Her vocals are deeper than Lyngstad’s are in the song. Their voices complimented each other very well. The different tones made their vocals stand out even more.
The song hit “Fernando,”hit number one in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. The song hit number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1976.
# 8 – Take a Chance on Me
The vulnerable song is from their eponymous album. The song has a Europop and disco sound to it. The romantic song is about a woman who wants a man she can’t have. The music is upbeat and bouncy. It’s pop meets country and disco music. It features synthesizer riffs and licks that make the music stand out in a positive way. It makes you want to get up and dance. Portions of the melody (especially the chorus section) are similar to the Bee Gees song “Jive Talkin’.”
The lyrics are tender and sweet. It has a catchy chorus that will hook you immediately. The song starts off a cappella with Faltskog and Lyngstad singing in high vocals while Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson sang in their lower Registers. The ladies sound similar to Olivia Newton-John on this track. Their angelic voices sound great with the music. Their harmonies are superb and they sound like one person again. The guys do a great job supporting them in the background.
The ABBA song “Take A Chance On Me,” hit number one in the countries of Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, and United Kingdom. The song was a top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number three in 1978.
# 7 – Knowing Me Knowing You
The breakup song is from the Arrival album. It has a Europop and rock sound. This anthemic song is about the end of a relationship. The song was recorded before the members of the group divorced each other. The somber vocals may have been foreshadowing for their impending divorces. The song is about a breakup, but it was originally released on Valentine’s Day. It’s ironic that a breakup song would be released on a day that was supposed to celebrate love. This song was a change of pace for the group because of its darker tone.
The song is not about hoping a relationship would work out. This song tells the story about a couple who won’t get back together. The guitar riffs are amazing and fascinating. Listeners will definitely be impressed with the guitar solo. It’s definitely the star of the instrumentation. The ladies sing the song in their lower registers. The change of pace in their tones worked for the song. They sound seductive considering they are singing about the end of a relationship. The pre-chorus and chorus are memorable and sell the song. They are catchy and arguably the best parts of the song. I love this video.
“Knowing Me, Knowing You,” hit number one in Germany, Ireland, South Africa, and United Kingdom. The song Hit number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.
# 6 – The Name of the Game
The complex song is from the album, Album. The song has a progressive pop and art pop sound to it. The forbidden song is about someone falling in love with her psychiatrist. The theme of the song is a departure for the group. They are singing about a relationship that would be frowned upon by others. They usually sing songs about longing for another person, but they don’t sing about people they can’t have for one reason or another. The music is slick and smooth. It’s also soft enough that it doesn’t overpower their voices. The ladies get their chance to sing alone as well as together.
They get a chance to shine on their own. It was nice to hear them singing separately. Their harmonies are stellar on this track. They blend and sound like one person again. They sound like Olivia Newton-John on this track. It’s easy to picture Newton-John singing a song like this. Their voices are so hypnotic that you could forget they are singing about a forbidden love. They are a little hard to understand at points so you may have to look at the lyrics to get what they are saying. It’s a minor flaw that doesn’t hurt the song at all.
ABBA’s sensational song “The Name Of The Game,” hit number one in the United Kingdom. The song Hit number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.
# 5 – SOS
The next song on our Top 10 ABBA Songs list is “SOS” from their eponymous album. The track has a pop sound. This is a heartbreaking song about someone who wants to leave the other person. The person distances themselves emotionally instead of just walking away from the relationship. This is a relatable song to anyone who has been in a relationship similar to this one. They don’t have the courage to leave so they choose to isolate themselves from the other person. The song was recorded a long time ago, but it resonates well today. The telling lyrics could also describe what was going on in their marriages. The song opens with a dramatic piano intro.
The song bursts into the bouncy pop and rock sound after the first verse. The guitar riffs are spectacular and give the song a rock edge. The synthesizer is out of this world. Faltskog got her chance to shine in the lead vocals. Her vocals are melodramatic which is what was needed for the song. She sounds sassy as she talks about wanting to distance herself from someone. The vocal arrangement on this track is fire. Lyngstad takes a backseat in this song. She has a small role in the it, but she does make an impact with what she’s given.
The grand “SOS,” Song hit number one in Australia, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa. The song hit number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.
# 4 – Waterloo
This dominating song is from the album of the same name. The song has a Europop sound. This metaphoric song is about a woman who gives herself to a man and promises to love him for life. They compare the relationship to Napoleon losing at the Battle of Waterloo. It’s a very unique way of describing a relationship. There aren’t many songs that would describe a romantic relationship by comparing it to Napoleon’s battle. If you can get past the unique title, you will find this song very enjoyable. Everything about it works. It has an upbeat sound. It has killer guitar riffs. The pianist is a genius. The saxophone player is remarkable.
The arrangement of the song sounds like a doo wop song at first. It makes the song sound unique. The melody is similar to “Call Me” by Blondie. The chorus is infectious and rhythmic. It will stay in your head after it’s done. Let’s talk about the vocals. The ladies are the epitome of perfect harmony. They never miss a beat together. They manage to be in sync with each other throughout the song. This is the type of song that’s made for them. It caters to their strengths perfectly.
The soaring song “Waterloo,” hit number one in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, and United Kingdom. The song hit number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.
# 3 – The Winner Takes It All
The stirring ballad is from the Super Trouper album. The song has a pop sound. The reflective song is about the end of a relationship. For those who may not know, Ulvaeus and Faltskog were divorced when this song was recorded. Ulvaeus wrote the lyrics, but he insists that it’s not about their divorce. The song is about a divorce, but it’s not about their divorce. The song is about the way someone feels when they are talking to the person who broke up with them. It’s hard to believe this song is fiction since they sell it so well.. Many divorced couples can relate to this song because there are no winners and losers when it comes to the end of a marriage.
Here is some trivia about the song. The song was originally supposed to be an up-tempo song. They made the right choice to change it to a ballad because the message would have been lost if it were an up-tempo song. Making the song a ballad, gives the song more of a punch. Faltskog does an outstanding job singing lead on this song. She sings it passionately as if it’s about her marriage. She takes vocal risks that she didn’t take in their previous songs. She belts in the lyrics. She almost turns the song into a power ballad. The song hit number one in Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, and on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles charts.
# 2 – Mamma Mia
This legendary song is from their self-titled album. The song has a pop sound. This regretful song is about the pain of letting someone go from your life. People who are involved in relationships that are one-sided could definitely benefit from hearing this catchy tune. The song was such a big hit that it inspired two movies based on the title. The song has a misleading title. It would be hard to imagine that it’s a love song based on the title. The music is energetic and upbeat. The music never gets boring. It cleverly mixes pop with classical music. The music features a marimba and piano chords that switch back and forth.
The combination gives the song a bold sound. The guitar riffs give the song a rock feel to it. The music has something for everyone to enjoy. The ladies do an excellent job singing lead. As usual, they are in perfect harmony with each other. They don’t turn the song into a power ballad, but they do a good job vocally. The guys do a good job supporting the women in the background. They make you want to sing along with them as they sing each lyric. It’s not a surprise this is one of the group’s biggest hits. It became even more popular once the movies were released and it’s easy to see why that happened. The song was a number one hit in, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. It hit number thirty two on the US Billboard Hot 100.
# 1 – Dancing Queen
The number one song on our Top 10 ABBA Songs list is “Dancing Queen” from the Arrival album. It has a disco and Europop sound to it. The song was a massive hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number one. The song hit number one in so many countries around the world including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Zeeland, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
This liberating song is about feeling free when you are dancing. The track is about a dancer who is fascinated with dancing. Everyone watches her and enjoys what they see. From the second the song starts with the first piano bar, you will be hooked. We dare you not to be captivated by this enchanting beat. It has the perfect disco beat. The music is just as infectious as the song itself. It’s impossible to sit still listening to this song.
The song was recorded decades ago and still resonates today. It’s a classic sound without sounding dated. People of all ages could enjoy this melodious song. The song mixes different sounds of music. You can hear rock, disco and pop blended together to make a solid beat. The ladies are at the top of their game with their vocals. They belt out the song without sounding like they’re shouting. It’s almost impossible to keep quiet while they are singing. They definitely invite you to sing along with them. The song is absolutely flawless and deserves to be number one on our list.
Top 10 ABBA Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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