Australia and ABBA are forever linked. This band from Sweden burst onto the world stage in 1974 when they won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo and they’ve now sold almost 400 million records!
They’re staggering success puts them just behind the Beatles, Elvis and Michael Jackson, but without Australia their career may not have exploded the way it did.
After Waterloo, ABBA went quiet , but then in August of 1975 Australia’s Countdown flogged Mamma Mia week after week and public demand forced the record company to release the song as a single.
Australia then became obsessed with ABBA and at one stage the top 10 was full of their songs like I Do, I Do, I Do, I D, SOS, Rock Me and of course Mamma Mia.
They came out to do a one hour special for Channel 9 that year that ended up outraging the moon-landing!
Then in 1976 their success hit dizzy new heights with the smash disco hit Dancing Queen and the ballad Fernando which stayed at the number one position on the Australian charts for more than three months.
Their Best Of Abba also sold over a million copies in a country that had a population of just on 14 million – think about that for a moment. One in 14 Australians purchased a copy of that one album!
They’re success continued right through untill the early 80′s with hits like Knowing Me Knowing You, Name Of The Game, Take A Chance On Me, The Winner Takes It All, Chiquitita, Thank You For The Music, Summer Night City, Does Your Mother Know, Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight), Super Trouper, Voluez Vous and I Have A Dream.
By then ABBA had become the biggest group in the world.
In the years that followed the Swedes made a massive comeback in the 90′s with ABBA GOLD thanks to the Australian movies Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.
Then in 1999 Mamma Mia the stage musical became the biggest show in the world and the movie was released in 2008.
That movie is now one of the the biggest selling DVD’s in Australian history, and their Greatest hit compilations CD’s and DVD’s are constantly in the ARIA charts.
Even the legendary Imperial Hotel in Sydney has launched its own Mamma Mia tribute show!
Some people dismiss ABBA as just another pop band who had a hit with Dancing Queen. As I’ve explained that is not the case. Indeed, as Bono has claimed they made the best pop music ever.
If you don’t believe me grab their Greatest Hits turn it up loud and listen to the melodies, string and keyboard arrangements and the amazing vocals of Agnetha and Frida.
Make sure you don’t miss Channel 7′s ABBA special on Sunday Night at 6.30, where Agnetha speaks to the first time in 30 years in the build up to her comeback, and the release of her new album A in a few weeks.
The album features the long awaited duet with Take That’s Gary Barlow.
Bjorn also makes an appearance on Sunday Night as well.
Here’s a sample of Agnetha singing SOS with some help from reporter Rahni Sadler on “SundayNight”