‘Happy New Year’ is a song that frustrates many ABBA fans. They want to play it at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but feel that the third verse statement “what lies waiting down the line/in the end of Eighty-Nine” dates the song and spoils the sentiment.
However ABBA’s ‘Happy New Year’ isn’t a song that was made to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Rather it is a relfection typical of the new year period on what’s happened in the past and what’s coming in the future.
What’s astounding about the song is how prescient it was in making the reference to what was waiting at down the line. In 1980, when ‘Happy New Year’ was composed and recorded, the Cold War between east and west was raging, symbolised when many countries boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow. The Islamic Revolution in Iran a year earlier added to already high tensions in the Middle East. Polution was a growing concern.
Yet just ten years later, by the “end of Eighty-Nine” the Berlin Wall was torn down and the Cold War was effectively over. There was a general feeling that the world was becoming a better place. At least for a while.
5 thoughts on “Happy New Year’s vision of the future”
I always found it strange that Bjorn wrote,”in another ten years time…at the end of ‘Eighty Nine” when the record itself was released in late 1981. The end of ’89 was less than then ten years away at that point.
Happy New Year’ was released on Super Trouper in November 1980. Which is admittedly just over nine years to “the end of Eighty-Nine”. But in defence it was written at the start of 1980. And it’s just a song, after all, not an accurate historical record
It might mean that Agnetha and Bjorn filed for divorce in 1979, and after ten years later in 1989: “What may lay waiting there for their relationship/friendship?”
Hi Ian, I got my cd/dvd on super trouper album break up 1979 divorce Agnetha and Bjorn…. so great thank
it is just a very stupid and comercial song. That s all.