Still my favourite song

Mamma Mia (thanks to ABBA on TV for the pic)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.

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2 Responses to “Still my favourite song”

  1. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    One song by ABBA made it into a Top 10 survey in the U.K. recently. Guess which song it is before you read the article? And did you guess the right ABBA song?

    Kind Regards

    Samuel Inglles

    Northern Territory News (Darwin) – Thursday, 17 July 2008 (Page 29)

    Bohemian Rhapsody voted top of the pops.


    Queen was crowned top of the pops by a UK survey this week.

    Their hit Bohemian Rhapsody, which twice made number one in the UK singles chart, was named the number one pop song of all time.

    In a survey of 10,000 people, Queen beat tracks from Bryan Adams, Robbie Williams and John Lennon to take the prestigious spot.

    Commenting on the results, survey organiser John Sewell said: “We got a worthy winner.”

    ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was the U.K. Christmas number one in 1975 and topped the charts again in 1991 following singer Freddie Mercury’s death, spending a total of 14 weeks at the top of the chart.

    It is also the only U.K. single ever to sell a million copies on two separate occasions and is placed third in the official list of the best-selling singles in Britain.

    The song has topped many polls, including being voted best single of the last 25 years by the British Phonographic Industry just two years after its first release, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004. It is the second-most played song collectively on radio, jukeboxes and in clubs.

    Runner-up was the Village People’s disco classic ‘Y.M.C.A’., which was number one in the U.K. in 1979.

    Finishing in the third place, Bryan Adam’s ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ – the anthem from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves – topped the U.K. charts for a staggering 16 weeks in 1991.

    ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams and UB40’s ‘Red Red Wine’ took out fourth and fifth spots, while John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ came in at No.6.

    Guns ‘N’ Roses (‘Sweet Child Of Mine’) at No.7, Michael Jackson (‘Billie Jean’) at No.8, and ABBA (‘Dancing Queen’) at No.9, rounded out the list with Kylie Minogue’s hit ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ scraping at No.10.

    * Samuel’s message to IAN COLE: Okay, I assume YOU guessed it correctly! I know your answer was ‘Dancing Queen’. It is the obvious choice, as it is ABBA’s biggest selling single in the world.

    Bellow is how ‘Dancing Queen’ charted in the U.S. singles chart many decades ago.

    The U.S. Top 5: Week of March 26, 1977.

    1.Rich Girl – Hall & Oates
    2.Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’ (Evergreen) – Barbra Streisand
    3.Dancing Queen – ABBA
    4.Don’t Give Up On Us – David Soul
    5.Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston

    The U.S. Top 5: Week of April 9, 1977.

    1.Dancing Queen – ABBA
    2.Don’t Give Up On Us – David Soul
    3.Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston
    4.Rich Girl – Hall & Oates
    5.Southern Nights – Glen Campbell

  2. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    Articles on favourite ABBA songs.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Times (UK) – Friday, 13 June 2008 (Page 20)

    What’s the name of the game? Votes

    John McCain choosing ABBA as a musical running mate gives PETE PAPHIDES political pause

    Whatever possessed John McCain? Until last week the Republican presidential candidate had a perfectly solid campaign song. Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’ may not have been an inspired choice, but it surely did the job for which it was chosen. Now though, it’s ‘Take a Chance on Me’. McCain’s decision to switch from a hardy rock’n’roll perennial to the ABBA girls’ plea for pity – addressing someone who clearly has no intention of reciprocating their advances – is a frankly awful idea. It’s as though McCain had sought permission for the use of almost every remotely suitable song in music only to the thwarted by musicians who didn’t want to be associated with a Republican candidate.

    As it happens, there may be a certain amount of truth in that hypothesis. This time around it was John Mellencamp who thwarted McCain’s initial idea to use his song ‘Our Country’. But that’s nothing new. Republicans have had a long, tense history with musicians objecting to the use of their music for political purposes. In 1984 Ronald Reagan seized on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ before Springsteen ordered him to desist, presumably pointing out in the process that Reagan’s interests were probably better served by a song that didn’t savage America’s shocking treatment of Vietnam veterans. In 2000, when George W. Bush used Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’, Petty tried to sue him. Dubya promptly backed down.

    But it’s just a song at the end of the day, right? For sure – and yet campaigns are won and lost on this stuff. Remember how Bill Clinton cruised into the White House on the feel-good boomer-rock of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’? Or how D:Ream’s ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ helped to propel Labour into power?

    Our current political leaders might do well to start casting around for a tune that best reflects their own message. Having been slow to register that the Jam’s ‘Eton Rifles’ wasn’t actually a misty-eyed tribute to his alma mater, David Cameron may need to be taken to one side and told why the song may not be an appropriate rallying call.

    As a Smiths fan, Cameron may well have perused the band’s CDs in the hope that something may fit the bill for the next election campaign. While neutrals wonder ‘What Difference Does it Make’ you suspect that ‘Handsome Devil’ and ‘This Charming Man’ may sit well with Cameron’s self-image – while Gordon Brown may steer clear of ‘I Know It’s Over’ or ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’. However, ponder Brown’s current predicament and one song suits perfectly. Recorded in 1989 by Bono’s best friend Gavin Friday. ‘He Got What He Wanted’ details the turmoil of someone who waited years for something only to get it and realise it wasn’t what he expected: “I was a king just for one day/Like a fool now I know/ My Kingdom grew cold/ I followed all my dreams and illusions. I got what I wanted.”

    It won’t win him an election, but given that probably not even discovering the lost chord and resurrecting the Beatles to put it in a new song called ‘Gordon is Great’ will win him the next election, it would be a poetic way to go.

    As ever, a clearer understanding of what the Liberal Democrats stand for beyond proportional representation eludes the wider public. But after recently revealing the frequency of his sexual conquests prior to marrying, Lib Dem head honcho Nick “Cleggover” Clegg may want to trade on his newly heightened profile. If his claims are true, he could do much worse than record his own version of ‘To All The Girls I’ve Ever Loved Before’. If half of them are flattered enough to vote for him in the next General Election, it could be the Lib Dems’ best result for decades.

    Photo: VOTE-GRABBA. Appropriately, John McCain’s gone for an oldie.

    * mx News (Sydney) – Thursday, 14 August 2008 (Page 8)

    Candidate’s Top Ten Songs

    John McCain

    1. Dancing Queen: ABBA
    2. Blue Bayou: Roy Orbison
    3. Take A Chance On Me: ABBA
    4. If We Make It Through December: Merle Haggard
    5. As Time Goes By: Dooly Wilson
    6. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys
    7. What A Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong
    8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin: Frank Sinatra
    9.Sweet Caroline: Neil Diamond
    10.Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: The Platters

    Barack Obama

    1. Ready or Not: The Fugees
    2. What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye
    3. I’m On Fire: Bruce Springsteen
    4. Gimme Shelter: The Rolling Stones
    5. Sinnerman: Nina Simone
    6. Touch the sky: Kanye West
    7. You’d Be So Easy to Love: Frank Sinatra
    8. Think: Aretha Franklin
    9. City of Blinding Lights: U2
    10. Yes We Can:

    Source: Blender Magazine

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