Artists & BandsConcertsGenresIndustryInstruments & GearLearning to PlayPlaylists

ABBA: The Hit Songs

Updated on September 16, 2016
ABBA in 1974
ABBA in 1974 | Source

The Songs and Videos of ABBA

The Swedish pop group ABBA came to my attention, along with the rest of Europe when, on a cool April evening in Brighton, England, they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the song, Waterloo.

The Waterloo single introduced the world to the phenomenon that was ABBA. The song shot to Number 1 in the UK and stayed there for two weeks, becoming the first of the band's nine UK chart-toppers. It also hit Number 1 in Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, West Germany and South Africa, France and Spain.

Amazingly for a Eurovision winning song, Waterloo also reached the Top 10 in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Of course, that hit was just a springboard for several years of classic and memorable ABBA recordings, many of which are shared here in video form.

The Early Years

Although the four members of ABBA had started working together during 1970, it was not until 1972 that the quartet released material as a foursome.

The first singles were People Need Love and He is Your Brother, neither of which were hits outside of their native Sweden.

It would be the rejected Eurovision Swedish qualifier, Ring Ring, that would become their breakthrough song in many European territories during 1973. However, not so in the UK, where a remixed version would only chart after the Number 1 success of Waterloo.

ABBA Singles: 1973

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Ring Ring
32
--
Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)
--
--
Nina, Pretty Ballerina
--
--
Another Town, Another Train
--
--

1973: Ring Ring

A Eurovision Winner

With the failure of Ring Ring to represent Sweden at the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest, ABBA decided to try again with a song for the 1974 Contest.

As history shows, Waterloo easily qualified as the country's entry that year, eventually taking the Contest by storm when performed at The Dome in Brighton, England.

This became the international hit the group was looking for: Number 1 in the UK and across Europe. Unusually, even the US fell for the charms of a Eurovision song, sending Waterloo to a peak of Number 6 on the Billboard Pop Chart.

However, the quartet struggled to garner an immediate follow-up hit, leading to the belief that ABBA was just another One Hit Wonder.

ABBA Singles: 1974

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Waterloo
1
6
Honey, Honey
--
27
Hasta Mañana
--
--
King Kong Song
--
--
So Long
--
--

1974: Waterloo

ABBA in 1974
ABBA in 1974 | Source

The Breakthrough

Although much more familiar now, songs such as So Long and I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do were largely ignored by UK radio stations and consequently flopped.

However, it was the third single from the group's eponymous album which signified a reversal in ABBA's fortunes, particularly in the UK and the US. SOS brought them back into the UK Top 10, while the song managed to peak at Number 15 in America.

Even greater success for the band followed in the UK later in 1975, when Mamma Mia entered the charts and went on to hit Number 1 for two weeks in early 1976.

ABBA Singles: 1975

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
I've Been Waiting for You
--
--
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
38
15
SOS
6
15
Bang-A-Boomerang
--
--
Mamma Mia
1
32

1975: Mamma Mia

True International Success

ABBA were finally established worldwide, although in the States their popularity was never on the same scale as elsewhere.

For a while both Fernando - and especially Dancing Queen - changed all that. The latter song finally took the group to the top of the American charts, although it would have to wait a further six months beyond the British hit to achieve it.

In the UK, ABBA were on a roll of three consecutive Number 1 songs.

ABBA Singles: 1976

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Fernando
1
13
Rock Me
--
--
Dancing Queen
1
1
Money, Money, Money
3
56

1976: Dancing Queen

Two Number One Hits

This period of the 1970s witnessed ABBA truly dominate the music charts of the world - particularly those in the UK, Europe, and Australia.

The final single release from the album Arrival, Knowing Me Knowing You, became the group's fifth Number 1 song in the UK while a brand new album, ABBA: The Album, produced yet another with The Name of the Game.

ABBA Singles: 1977

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Knowing Me, Knowing You
1
14
The Name of the Game
1
12

1977: The Name of the Game

One of the Biggest Bands

By 1978, ABBA was one of the most commercially successful bands in the world and their sales data continued to reflect this.

That year, only two records were released in the US and UK markets - although the song Eagle became a hit throughout Continental Europe, as well as South Africa.

However, Take A Chance on Me returned the group to Number 1 in the UK and the Top 3 in America, while the non-album single, Summer Night City, became ABBA's lowest placing song on the UK chart for three years.

ABBA Singles: 1978

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Take a Chance on Me
1
3
Eagle / Thank You for the Music
--
--
Summer Night City
5
--

1978: Summer Night City

The Tours

During 1979, ABBA were playing in sold-out venues across the world, primarily to promote their sixth album called Voulez-Vous.

Predictably, that long player went to Number 1 in many territories and spawned four huge hit singles in the UK. A non-album disc, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), added to the group's haul of hits that year which eventually numbered a staggering five Top 5 songs.

As a consequence of these highly successful records, ABBA found themselves amid one of their most commercially productive assaults on the British Singles Charts.

ABBA Singles: 1979

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Chiquitita
2
29
Does Your Mother Know?
4
19
Voulez-Vous / Angeleyes
3
80 / 64
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
3
--
I Have a Dream
2
--

1979: Voulez-Vous

More Number One Songs

While personal problems bedeviled the private lives of ABBA — Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus divorced - the Number 1 hits in the UK and across the world continued unabated during 1980.

The first of their eighth and ninth (and last) chart toppers was a song that has often been associated with the couple's divorce. However, the pair have always denied that the lyrics to The Winner Takes It All have anything to do with their marital problems.

Like Winner, the title track from the album Super Trouper also climbed to the top spot on the UK Singles Chart, but it would prove to be the group's last Number 1 song.

ABBA Singles: 1980

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
The Winner Takes It All
1
8
On and On and On
--
90
Super Trouper
1
45

1980: The Winner Takes It All

The Beginning of the End

The album Super Trouper produced a third hit single for ABBA in the summer of 1981.

However, as far as chart placings were concerned, Lay All Your Love On Me was the group's lowest ranking song for six years. It only peaked at Number 7 in the UK; nevertheless, it earned the distinction of becoming the highest charting 12-inch only single release of the time.

Meanwhile, One of Us would prove to be the group's last major hit. Included on ABBA's final album The Visitors, it was released in early December 1981. The song climbed into the Top 10 in many countries across Europe, but failed to impress in the USA.

ABBA Singles: 1981

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Lay All Your Love on Me
7
--
One of Us
3
--

1981: One of Us

When All Is Said and Done

Both The Visitors (the title track from the group's then-latest album) and When All is Said and Done received limited releases around the world - the latter proving to be the group's final Top 40 single in America.

Head Over Heels was also included on the same album, but this jaunty tune failed to make the UK Top 20, the first time that this had happened to an ABBA song in seven years.

The group's last single of the year, The Day Before You Came fared even more badly. It was unable to penetrate the British Top 30 - although the compilation album on which it was included sailed to Number 1 in the equivalent album chart.

ABBA Singles: 1982

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
When All Is Said and Done
--
27
Head Over Heels
25
--
The Visitors
--
63
The Day Before You Came
32
--

1982: The Day Before You Came

Goodbye to ABBA

Like The Day Before You Came, Under Attack was included on The Singles: The First Ten Years but equally failed to impress singles buyers — only peaking just inside the British Top 30.

Still, in some European markets it fared better, but overall its relative commercial failure highlighted ABBA's decline in popularity and ultimately became the group's final single.

A delayed release of Thank You For the Music appeared in the UK charts as ABBA's swansong, but Under Attack was the last of the band's new material.

They appeared together on UK television in mid-December 1982 for a final appearance to promote the song, but this marked their farewell as one of the most successful pop groups of the previous decade.

ABBA Singles: 1983

Song
UK Chart
US Chart
Under Attack
26
--
Thank You for the Music
33
--

1983: Under Attack

© 2007 Richard

What Are Your Thoughts About ABBA's Music?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 2 years ago from State of Confussion

      Its interesting I was just thinking about them and checked my email. Wham there was this notification. Thanks for the updates and the videos. They helped me remember.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 2 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Not my cup of tea but they were good at what they did. Did you know that Agnetha has been doing things in recording studios in recent years?

    • KateAdamsUSA profile image

      KateAdamsUSA 4 years ago

      One of the greatest bands of all time. Go Abba!

    • profile image

      flipflopseason 5 years ago

      So many great songs from ABBA!

    • razeitup profile image

      razeitup 5 years ago

      i love ABBA! great lens thanks :)

    Click to Rate This Article