Swedish pop group ABBA has churned out massive, international hits over the years, infusing irresistibly catchy melodies with surprisingly melancholy lyrics, making their music stand the test of time. Many of their songs evolved or changed during the writing process – especially when being translated into English from their original Swedish.
Here are some ABBA songs you can learn with Fret Zealot.
The English version of ABBA’s “Fernando” is about two veterans of the Mexican revolution. Björn Ulvaeus composed the English version after sitting out under the stars one summer night, according to a 2019 interview. The original Swedish lyrics are about an entirely different situation, and were written by ABBA’s manager, Stig Anderson.
“Dancing Queen” became a worldwide hit for ABBA, and they wanted it to be the follow-up single to “Mamma Mia” – but their manager insisted that the more mellow “Fernando” should be next instead.
ABBA’s music inspired a hit jukebox musical that took its name from this song – but it wasn’t originally intended to be a single for the group. In fact, ABBA offered “Mamma Mia” to British pop group Brotherhood of Man, which they declined! The song ended up being a huge hit.
The band released this track in 1979 to promote their upcoming tour – but they almost released another single, “Rubber Ball Man”, instead. The band felt that the disco feel of “Gimme” would be a better fit, so “Rubber Ball Man” stayed a demo.
This song, the second single off of ABBA’s fourth album, Arrival, was originally called “Been And Gone And Done It”, according to a 2002 interview with The Guardian.