Thursday, 5 January 2012

Abba - Dancing Queen (1976)

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"Dancing Queen" the pop classic recorded by Swedish sensation ABBA at the height of their fame. It was released in August 1976, but was first performed two months earlier, on 18 June 1976, during a Royal Variety Show in Stockholm the evening before the Swedish Royal Wedding. It was the follow-up single to the hit "Fernando" and is commonly regarded as one of the most successful singles of the 1970s. "Dancing Queen" was written by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Stig Anderson and is considered by many to be ABBA's signature song, as it reached the number 1 position on popular music charts in 13 countries. Recorded in 1975, it was released on the group's album Arival the following year and as a single with "That's Me" as the B-Side

The song was re-released as a single in 1992 to promote the compilation "ABBA Gold Greatest Hits".

In 2009, the British performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited celebrated its 75th anniversary by listing the 75 songs that have played most in Great Britain on the radio, in clubs and on jukeboxes. "Dancing Queen" was number eight on the list.

"Dancing Queen" features the shared lead vocal performance of Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

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The recording sessions for "Dancing Queen" began on 4 August 1975. The demo was called "Boogaloo" and as the sessions progressed, Andersson and Ulvaeus found inspiration to the dance rhythm in George Mcrae's disco classic "Rock your Baby", as well as the drumming on Dr. John's 1972 album Dr John's Gumbo. Fältskog and Lyngstad recorded the vocals on sessions in September, and the track was completed three months later.

During the sessions, Benny Andersson brought a tape home with the backing track on it and played it to his then-fiancée and band member, singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who apparently started crying when listening. "I found the song so beautiful. It's one of those songs that goes straight to your heart."

While working on the lyrics, half of the second verse was scrapped: "Baby, baby, you're out of sight/hey, you're looking alright tonight/when you come to the party/listen to the guys/they've got the look in their eyes...". It survives in footage from a recording session.

The track was premiered on Swedish TV on 18 June 1976, during an all-star live gala in honour of King Karl XV1 Gustaf of Sweden and his bride to be, Silvia Somerlath, who were to be wedded the next day. Benny Andersson has cited it as "one of those songs where youknow during the sessions that it's going to be a smash hit". Also Agnetha Fältskog has stated in a TV-programme: "It's often difficult to know what will be a hit. The exception was Dancing Queen. We all knew it was going to be massive".

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"Dancing Queen" was a massive hit. It became ABBA's only No1 in the United States in April 1977. It also hit No1 in at least 13 other countries worldwide: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, West Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Rhodesia. "Dancing Queen" also reached the Top 5 in Austria, Canada, Finland, France and Switzerland. The track peaked at No14 in Italy, where ABBA never achieved the same degree of popularity as elsewhere. The song sold over three million copies.

"Dancing Queen" was the last of three consecutive No1s the band had in the UK in 1976, following "Mamma Mia" and "Fernando" earlier in the year.

On December 5, 2010, Britain's ITV broadcast the results of a poll to determine The Nation's Favourite ABBA Song, in which "Dancing Queen" placed at No2

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