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…