To many people these days, ‘Mamma Mia’ is the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA that’s taken the world by storm since 1999.
But to me, ‘Mamma Mia’ is the song that introduced me to ABBA, it was my first ever favourite ABBA song, and to this day it is still my favourite ABBA song.
‘Mamma Mia’ is everything that ABBA is in one single song. The unison vocals from Agnetha and Frida, so well blended that they create that unique “third voice” that made ABBA so special. The interplay between piano, guitar and strings. The strong metronomic beat. The joyful upbeat sound of the song, yet a melancholic lyric which tells of infidelity and dependance.
I was introduced to ‘Mamma Mia’ at a party in late 1975, around the time that the song had exploded onto the Australian scene. I’d been aware of the song, but it hadn’t really registered with me. But at this party, side one of the ABBA album was played three times, with the hostess running across the room screaming ‘Mamma Mia! Mamma Mia!’ and playing the album again.
By the end of the night, I was hooked on ‘Mamma Mia’. On the way home that night I asked my parents for the ABBA album for Christmas. I listened to the radio hoping to hear ABBA songs. I started collecting articles and pictures from magazines and newspapers. When I got the album for Christmas, I played it repeatedly.
After that, I started buying other ABBA records, starting with the local compilation The Best Of ABBA and the other ABBA albums already released. ABBA visited Australia in March 1976. New ABBA singles and albums came out. And a life-long love affair had started.
Other songs would join ‘Mamma Mia’ as favourite songs, but none would ever replace it.