It’s a cliche, I know. To say ‘thank you for the music’ in any ABBA context. But I’ve really enjoyed rekindling my love of ABBA’s music over the last week or so, and it’s been great to get my new blog started with them. There are 46 tracks from my four disc set left to cover and I have decided to do a bit of an ABBA wrap-up in today’s post so that we can progress on to other things. Particular highlights are these, all of which get a top rating:
Knowing me, Knowing you – “here is where the story ends, this is goodbye” – a great track, and I have memories of that epic video, with the band members wandering around in the snow, dressed in massive fur coats, Dr Zhivago style. I may be biased because Dr Zhivago (1965) is my favorite film, but hey!
Eagle – “they came flying from far away, now I’m under their spell” and Summer Night City – “I know what’s waiting there for me, tonight I’m loose and fancy free”. These two are ABBA sex on a stick. That is all.
Does your mother know – “well, I can dance with you honey, if you think it’s funny” – one of my commentators on this blog has very understandably hailed this song as their best ABBA track ever. It’s classic, classy and irresistible.
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (a man after midnight) – ” Parts of this track were sampled by Madonna in 2005 for her own song Hung Up. Apparently, she had to ‘beg’ Benny and Bjorn for permission to do so because they are famously very strict about releasing access to their material. The ABBA original is cracking, and my memory of Madonna’s is that it is fabulous too – can’t wait to get to it – I’m sure it’s in my list.
Other fabulous tracks include:
- The Winner Takes It All
- The Name of the Game
- Take a Chance on Me
- Angel Eyes
- The Day Before You Came
There are various other B-sides, whimsical tracks, and sundry items – leave me a comment if you would like more information, or check out the listings for this box set.
And I can’t finish the ABBA episode of my journey without coming back as promised to the story of my epic trip to see them live at Wembely Arena in 1979. I was twelve years old. ABBA had just released their Voulez Vous album, which I had played to death. And my Dad somehow managed to get tickets to one of their six London dates. We lived in the West of England at the time, so travelling to London was a big enough deal in itself. But to see ABBA at a real concert as well? Oh my goodness.
My Mum bought me the most fabulous red satin shirt to wear. I would not mind one of those today. I felt like the bees knees.
The only thing I can recall about the journey itself was driving up the M4. The next thing I can remember was walking into what to me, as a small person, was the colossal venue. We bought a programme and an Official ABBA Scarf. We had excellent seats in the middle section of the Arena – half way along the flat bit. The atmosphere built and built, as it does at these things. I guess there must have been a support act, but I have no memory of that. All I can picture is the darkness, then the lights and the start of the build-up music to Voulez Vous – flashes all around, cheers, whistles and then, there they were. In. The. Flesh. ABBA! Everyone stood up and Dad let me stand on my chair so that I could see. I held my Official ABBA Scarf above my head and sang along to the songs at the top of my voice.
ABBA performed all the tracks you would expect. They were dressed in gorgeous white and blue outfits. My memory is that they left Waterloo and Dancing Queen for the encore. What an encore!
Dad and I drove home through the night. Tired but happy, I woke up the next morning in my own bed. Seeing ABBA live? Surely it must have been just a dream? No, I was still clutching my beloved Official ABBA Scarf, which I still have to this day.
I’m definitely going to be listening to my ABBA tracks more frequently from now on. I recommend you dust yours off too. No ABBA in your collection? What are you waiting for….?
The next post will be about music which is completely different, but just as wonderful. And you’ll find out why a composer whose surname begins with the letter V comes after ABBA in my iPhone alphabet.