Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This Week: ABBA

This week I thought we should have a little chat about one of the greatest pop-groups of our time, ABBA!
ABBA meant the world to me and my friends while we were growing up.
I can still remember when they won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1974. I was 8! And my life changed then. ABBA had come to stay!
I thought they were so cool-looking and that “Waterloo” was the best song ever!

And for all the little girls in my second grade class a new era had started---THE ABBA era!
We were lip-synching to ABBA songs! We were drawing and designing ABBA stage clothes! We were making ABBA paper dolls! We were pretending that our Barbie dolls were Anni-Frid and Agnetha.
We did not care so much for the boys in ABBA, Björn and Benny. No, we found them quite un-interesting. Ha, ha what a joke! But what did we know back then as 8 year olds?

And the years passed and ABBA remained. As soon as an album was released we took off to Vällingby , or Stockholm City, to purchase the treasure. When we got home we played it until we knew every song by heart, and then we played it some more. Over and over and over again.

This was the 70’s and you can bet that it was not cool to like ABBA everywhere. NO ABBA was glamour and glitz in an era that was full of prog-music, radicals, and left party free-thinkers. But, in a way, I think most people liked ABBA. You could just not admit it. But for us kids it was zero problems, we could bubble about them until our hearts were content.
SO, we tortured our parents, in having ABBA concerts in the living room. They had to sit down while we were lip-synching song after song. Dresses up, of course. AND! WE ALL WANTED to be Agnetha. The thing is, if you had dark hair, like me, you automatically became Frida. If you were a lucky blondie, well then you were set—Agnetha!

Every Friday in school we had the so called “Roliga timmen” (the fun hour). That was the time for us students to come up with things we wanted to do, like singing songs, act out little skits and lip-synch…to, yes---ABBA!! Sometimes people were having SWEET or Queen or Björn Skifs “concerts”, but we girls thought that was quite boring, of course. When the "ABBA girls" took the stage two guys from the class had to act like a Björn, with a tennis racket as a guitar, and then as a Benny in front of the classroom organ.

The other day Peter and I were watching Lasse Hallström’s movie from 1977---ABBA, THE MOVIE. Shot during the group’s tour in Australia. Part documentary, part fiction. Kind of fun to watch it, and kind of fun to feel the buzz again. Not that the movie itself was that great, but it was still fun.

Now, what are your favorite ABBA songs? I can tell you mine:
"Does Your Mother Know" "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" and "That’s Me". And yes, I know every single ABBA song by heart, and so do many, many with me! I think you can ask almost any Swedish woman of a certain age about any given ABBA song and she could sing it to you. Just give a try next time you meet a Swede :-)


Keith said...

My first recollection of an ABBA song was "Dancing Queen." I might not even have realized at the time they were from Sweden. I was and am more in to rock music; however, some bands and songs just stick in your mind no matter the group or what genre they sing. ABBA is one of them. I'm not a huge fan, but they have produced a lot of great songs. I can see why you would idolize and emulate them when younger. And it's always fun to relive those days even now.

Anne-Marie said...

Visst minns jag när ABBA vann med Waterloo. Jag var litet äldre (14) men det var något väldigt speciellt när de vann. ABBA skapade ett nytt "sound" och gjorde Sverige känt på världskartan. Alla, både äldre och yngre, kunde lyssna på ABBA och gillade sångerna. Kommer inte på någon favorit just nu - det var så många som var bra. Minns ett TV-program med Stickan Anderson (som var deras manager) där han berättade att han hade planerat hur ABBA skulle vinna och bli framgångsrika. Han visste vad han gjorde.

Annika said...

I think "Dancing Queen" was their biggest hit here in the U.S!! They did something big in creating all the hits that we all know. Yes, I idolized them.

Visst visste Stickan Andersson vad han gjorde när han fick fram ABBA. Han kallas ju ibland "den femte medlemen".
Och visst var det så att ALLA kunde ta till sig ABBAS musik! Dem gick hem i alla läger! Deras sound var verkligen mkt speciellt!
Long live the music of ABBA!!!

Linn said...

aaaah.. ABBA.. jag var inte född när ABBA var populära första gången, men jag och min syster var små när Abba Gold kom ut, och vi mimade vi med! (jag är den blonda av oss två ;) ) Och så hade vi en video med alla musikvideor (nästan) som vi såg på hela tiden!
Fast just den låten hade jag glömt innan jag hörde refränget nu!

Svårt att välja favoriter, men the winner takes it all, angel eyes, och under attack är bland mina favoriter iallfall :)

Annika said...

ABBA fortsätter sin storhet! Kul att ni också mimade till alla låtar.
ABBA GOLD blev ju verkligen en storsäljare. Själv njuter jag av en DVD jag har med ABBAs alla videos, himla kul eftersom det var innan MTV!

Håller helt klart med dig om att dina favvisar är bra!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was about 12 when they got really poplular and I was living in Germany at the time. We didn't do all the lip-synching concerts but we sure did sing the songs! I can't remember one favorite because they all kind of sounded alike (sorry) but I loved them all, secretly of course. What about Super Trooper?! and Money, Money, Money? Classic!

Annika said...

Yes, ABBA sure got the ABBA sound down. However, I don't think the songs sound alike ;-)
Money, money, money is a good song. Super Trouper is also a good one, but no favorite of mine.
Looking forward to the movie,Mamma Mia ,now??? I DO!

mie*, absolut guldkant said...

Åhh ABBA är nog de idoler som betytt mest för mig under min uppväxt! Jag lyssnade jämt på dem och vi mimade med hopprep! Jag hade långt ljust hår så jag brukade få vara Agnetha;-)
Älskar fortfarande att lyssna på deras musik!

Matildas fikarum said...

Hittade det här på "Archive of misheard lyrics"

The real lyrics were:
Chiquitita, tell me what's wrong...

But I misheard them as:
Kick her teeth out, tell me what's wrong...


He he he he

Matildas fikarum said...

Ja, alltså, det var väl inte roligt EGENTLIGEN, men ändå... det killade skrattnerven.

Monika said...

Wow, the memories come flooding back... I was a complete ABBA fanatic growing up! I think I spent most afternoons after school singing/performing their songs, by myself or with my best friend at the time, in our livingroom. I still have tons of picture albums. Of course my (poor) parents had to sit through numerous concerts. (and I remember forcing my grandfather to sit and listen to "The album" with me when I got it for Christmas). We performed in school too. I remember another friend's mother making our costumes once for our big show. In daycare we used to chase the boys when they didn't want to be in our ABBA concerts! Sometimes they'd join but pretend to be KISS or Sweet instead, while we were the ABBA girls. Interesting mix :-)
I still have a great "ABBA radar" when it comes to spotting their names on magazine covers and such :-) I still listen to their songs - I even sing a couple myself now in "my" cover band (they're quite hard to sing actually. Usually a big range...), THAT'S fun! Favorite songs?! Difficult...Gimme gimme gimme; money, money, money; Hey hey Helen (anyone remember THAT one?), Eagle...the list goes on and on. And I don't think the songs sound alike either, but my sambo does -interesting. It's fun to read that new generations take them to heart as well. They deserve it :-)

Annika said...

Ja, jösses, nog betydde ABBA nästan allt för flickor i vår ålder...Jag njuter fortfarande av deras musik. Underbar! Ska bli så kul när "Mamma Mia" nu blir film!

Nu sitter jag här och fnissar också! Kul länk! Visst missförstod man så många sångtexter. OJ,OJ!
Jag sjöng "Eagle" så här--"Flying high, high as a motherless child"

ABBA what a fantastic group!
You had the exact same ABBA experience as I had! Obsessed, and no, we were NOT alone.
I am laughing when I read that you had to force your grandfather to sit and listen to "The Album" when it came out. He was a good sport in putting up with you!

Oh YES!! I remember "Hey, Hey Helen"!!! It is good!
when I was a child I LOVED "Nina, pretty Ballerina" as well.

Also, great that your mom's friend made costumes for your ABBA concert at school!

Tina said...

I didn't really like ABBA when I was young. But now I think they are one off the greatest band ever.

Annika said...

Yes, I still love them! They are unique in their way, in their sound!

Margo said...

I LOVE ABBA!!! I'm trying to figure out which year I was hearing them so much. I remember dancing at the Officer's Club to their music many, many times. I especially love "Take a Chance on Me", "Super Trouper", "Chiquitita", "Does Your Mother Know", & "Thank You for the Music".
Love your blogs, Margo

Annika said...

So fun that you danced to their music in the mid 70's...That was their hey-day.
"Take a chance on me" is a GREAT song!
ABBA still rocks!!!

Bwana said...


Annika said...

The Eurovision Song Contest winner is still good! Yes!