ABBA’s 1976 single ‘Dancing Queen’ is widely acknowledged as the group’s biggest worldwide hit and most enduring song, and a guaranteed dance-floor filler.
But ‘Dancing Queen’ has also become a pop culture icon that has been referenced or quoted in several songs by other artists.
‘Spice Up Your Life’ by the Spice Girls from their second album Spice World (1997) mentions the song title alongside another mid-70s hit in the second verse:
Yellow man in Timbuktu
Colour for both me and you
Kung fu fighting
And all that’s in between
‘Ballad Of Cleo & Joe’ by Cyndi Lauper on her 1997 album Sisters of Avalon tells the story of “Joe”, who at night transforms himself into drag queen “Cleo”, using the title as narrative:
And he works his body just to be somebody.
There’s a woman in the mirror looking like a dream.
And he works his body…
And he feels somebody…
And the working boy becomes a dancing queen.
‘Disco Down’ by Kylie Minogue on her 2000 “comeback album” Light Years, like ‘Spice Up Your Life’ above, pairs the title with another Seventies disco classic:
And now l boogie in my dreams
To le Freak or Dancing Queen
Baby l still recall those things
And ooh, I’m missing you now
‘Disco Down’ also echos the guitar riff from ‘Does Your Mother Know’.
‘When I Was Cruel no. 2’ by Elvis Costello on his album When I Was Cruel (2002) actually quotes several lines from the song lyric:
The ghostly first wife glides up on stage whispering to raucous talkers
Spilling family secrets out to flunkeys and castrato walkers
See that girl,
Watch that scene
Digging the “Dancing Queen”
Elvis had already referenced ‘Dancing Queen’ on his 1979 hit ‘Oliver’s Army’, which featured a piano figure influenced by ‘Dancing Queen’s famous descending piano riff.