I was getting dinner ready the other night while listening to a disco CD I compiled as part of the music for my recent 40th. A disco compilation is nothing without an ABBA song, in this instance, Dancing Queen.
As I was stirring the tuna mornay and my very grumpy son was in the bath, I had time to think, and the song Dancing Queen got me thinking about ABBA. I first distinctly remember them in the 1970s with their song SOS. That’s when I became an ABBA fan. I couldn’t get enough of them and this was when they were huge around the world. They came to Adelaide to play, they had numerous television specials on, Young Talent Time invariably covered an ABBA song.
They gradually faded from peoples’ consciousness and when I got the ABBA Arrival record for my 21st as a joke, I sort of went along with it by taking the piss out of ABBA with the friends that gave it to me cause it wasn’t cool then to like ABBA, but I was secretly quite glad to receive this as a gift. I obviously bowed very easily to peer group pressure and felt unable to voice my opinion. The record was something to add to my collection and is still there to this day as I would have a hard time ever getting rid of my records.
In the latter part of the 1980s some people used to take say they didn’t like ABBA because they were very 70s kitsch and we’d just got over the 1970s fashions and in a decade’s time we’d be doing the same with the 1980s. ABBA were just a pop band, not really serious musicians. On the surface maybe, but I think because they actually were serious musicians they just made it seem effortless.
I’m an amateur singer and have taken singing lessons and trying to sing an ABBA song well, is quite hard. The ABBA girls had excellent vocal talent with great harmonies and good ranges. My rendition of Dancing Queen is really quite awful compared to them.
But ABBA gradually, or not so gradually, became cool again when the film Muriel’s Wedding was released in 1994. Because the background music was mainly ABBA’s it raised the band in people’s minds again and we weren’t too scared to say that ABBA was really great after all.
So I don’t mind knowing all the words to ABBA songs, they are great singalong music after all.