ABBA: All The Everything Pt.8

Growing up, my aunt had a turntable. It played a lot of ABBA, and not just the hits, she played whole albums. Though arguably, they had so many hit songs that some of their records were probably like hits albums anyway… But my sister liked them (and played them often), my Mom, my Grandfather… This is all to say I heard them a lot, whether I wanted to or not.

I often associate ABBA with Elvis and the Beatles. Yes, you could look at it from a sales perspective, or from the angle of fame, but for me it was about burnout. I heard those three so much in my childhood that these days I tend to avoid them simply because I can. I don’t dislike any of them, but I don’t go out of my way to hear them.

Years ago, when my Grandfather died, my Mom gave me his cassette case (which looks like a full-sized faux leather briefcase, you know the kind… and I still have it). It was full of all the music he loved, all of which will appear in this series as I come to them. And, of course, inside this case was his black-covered copy of ABBA Gold.

Being an intrepid KMA reporter, I knew I had to play it in order to write it up for this series. I admit trepidation, because (through no fault of their own) I am still, all these years later, pretty tired of ABBA. But also, playing through it, I had many sweet memories of my Grandfather, as though he were there listening to it with me. I liked that part a lot. I suppose, now, the two are inextricably linked in my mind, though of course he loved many more types of music than just this, too. It’ll probably happen every time I get to a tape that used to be his…

And the contents of this tape? Holy mackerel, what a sea of memories. And all 19 of these tunes are so popular and ubiquitous, I don’t even need to tell you about any of them. Here:

SIDE A: Dancing Queen / Knowing Me, Knowing You / Take A Chance On Me / Mamma Mia / Lay Your Love On Me / Super Trouper / I Have A Dream / The Winner Takes It All / Money, Money, Money

SIDE B: SOS / Chiquita / Fernando / Voulez-Vous / Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) / Does Your Mother Know / One Of Us / The Name Of The Game / Thank You For The Music / Waterloo

See? Every track an ear worm, a generally accepted bona fide huge hit. I’m not arguing that at all. For me, though, I doubt I’ll ever play it again. Generally, that would make it a Quit. But the memories of my Grandfather (because I’m a sentimental old fool) make me want to keep it here just to hold on to that part of him, and since there can be no middle ground, it’s a Hit. I dunno, maybe my Mom would want it back… I wonder if she even has a cassette player anymore…

Series Stats:

8 posts
24 albums

16 hit
8 quit

19 CD
1 LP
5 CS


Posted on May 22, 2017, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. Headstones do a killer cover of SOS!
    this is Ear Candy and growing these songs were everywhere!
    Amazing how they have not cashed in on any reunion silliness after what like a billion dollars has been offered there way…hahaha
    Don Henley man could take a lesson from these guys/gals…..


    • Haha Headstones and ABBA… one of these things is not like the other! I often like cover tunes better than originals (see: Me First And The Gimme Gimmes).

      They were indeed everywhere, and arguably for good reason. There was a knack for songwriting and infectious pop riffs that will live forever in this music.

      I respect that they didn’t reunite, and I’m grateful. Even to this day I’ve had enough of them, myself… The Eagles are reuniting? How the hell can they do that with Frey dead? And so soon? Weird.


      • They are enlisting Freys son from what i read….


        • Huh. Well, it’s theirs to do with it as they see fit, of course, but I don’t think I would do it. It’s not like they need the money.

          Also, it smacks of Zeppelin and Jason Bonham. It’s one thing to be able to do what your Dad did (or a close approximation), but isn’t the son supposed to exceed the father, or be his own man in his own calling? Why live in replication of the father? Fame, I suppose. Money. But what about individuality? Was there pressure to do this?

          Gah! I’m getting philosophical on a holiday Monday morning, and with only one coffee in me yet…


    • Yes, they really were offered a billion dollars for an album and a tour, and refused, believing that they could not live up to the memories.

      Many, many, many rock musicians are Abba fans. There are many stories about famous rock musicians—and songwriters—, upon meeting Björn or Benny, say that such-and-such an Abba song is the best pop-music song ever written.

      Yes, they ran their course, but as a former colleague said, “To burn out, first you have to burn”, and burn they did, rear of the year and all. (Just two extremely sexy* and obviously heterosexual couples becoming gay icons is a feat in itself.)

      * Yes, Abba: all that sexual energy enticingly packed in skin-tight lycra—-and that’s just the blokes! 🙂


      • Wow, that’s a tough amount to turn down, but good on ’em for not doing it if they didn’t feel they could. Respect!

        No denying their influence, for sure. And popular with just about everyone regardless, that’s true influence. For myself, the burn out on them came from early exposure. Listening back now didn’t make me wanna hear it again anytime soon, but fair play to them!


  2. Haha. ABBA. I don’t remember the last time I heard one of their songs, probably at a wedding. But still, I know every single one of the tracks on that track listing.


  3. Same here! Between my mom and my aunt, there was ABBA…


    • Did you burn out on it, or are you still able to play them today and enjoy it?


      • I don’t think I have any ABBA in my collection to be honest…if they pop on the radio, I can sing along, but I don’t go out of my way to listen.


        • If you’re feeling nostalgic and wanting a hit (or an album full of them), this set is usually pretty easy to find. But I’m with you, when they come on, fine. But I haven’t sought them out, um, ever in my life, to be honest, yet they seem to come to me eventually.


  4. Zoiks! ABBA. I’ve told this story elsewhere before, but my sister used to listen to this on repeat. I don’t tend to listen to them myself, but I recognise flawless pop when I hear it and they did deal in flawless pop. I have told myself I will pick up some ABBA if I ever see it dirt cheap. Just so I can say I’ve listened to an album that’s not ABBA Gold.


  5. I have to admit, I did like a lot of ABBA tunes as a teenager in the 70s. However, they’ve become the band that when I look back, I think to myself: “I can’t believe I liked them so much.” Maybe I thought I had outgrown them.


  6. I have the Australian version which is quite a bit weaker – it has early hits like ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘I Do I Do I Do’. I think the group didn’t really hit their stride until Arrival.


  7. Agreed 150% on this. Every song is an earworm…a confection of pop perfection. But I don’t need to go out of my way to hear ABBA. I could get ABBA from my mom and sis, so no worries there!


  8. I just can’t do Abba, although I could easily sing along with every single they ever released (pretty much).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Should every music blog to an ABBA post at some point? Maybe and Elvis and a Beatles too? I reckon it’s great to mine the hits and misses, the ubiquity and the legacy of world-straddling bands. Nice work, KMA.

    My own modest contribution to ABBA-land was only nine months ago…


    • Thanks Bruce! World-straddling, I like that.

      I don’t know that every blog must cover ABBA at some point… I’m thinking, for example, of our infernal metal brother HMO. I doubt he would cover ABBA… unless they’re the key to some metal apocalypse we don’t know is looming ever nearer… But he has covered a book about Elvis, so stranger things…

      I wouldn’t have owned their work, myself (having burned out my patience for them years ago) unless and until my grandfather’s copy came to me. I see their LPs at my work all the time and never once am I tempted to grab one and try it out…

      But they are certainly otherwise ubiquitous. As other commenters have noted, they were (are still?) pure pop masters.

      Ah well, this was a good memory lane for me, more for the people I connect with the music than the music itself. I’m off to check out your post!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My daughter loved the Mamma Mia soundtrack!
    There’s a song on there that doesn’t seem to be in this tracklist, Slipping through my Fingers, that I’d say is a genuinely strong track.


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