Song: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
Reached #1: April 9, 1977 (their first, 1 week)
Before X-Factor… before Pop Idol… before reality TV in general… there was Eurovision.
If you ever heard a European make a joke involving the words nul points, and you wondered just what the hell they were talking about, it was the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s an annual singing competition among the nations of the European Broadcasting Union, and it’s as big as any international event anywhere. Aspiring singers and songwriters enter their country’s preliminary competitions (or, as in the case of Céline Dion, some other country’s – Switzerland) just to get the local exposure. They hope that they can win the preliminary just to get the exposure that comes with singing on the European stage.
Then, like ABBA, maybe you get lucky – and you win Eurovision, as they did with “Waterloo” in 1974. ABBA had been a hit in Sweden, but really wasn’t known anywhere else until their Eurovision success.
Their first hit to cross the Atlantic was “Dancing Queen”, which became – believe it or not – ABBA’s only American #1 hit.
Of course, the problem was that with success comes pressure, and with pressure came the collapse of both marriages within ABBA. Just 6 years after “Dancing Queen”, the group was finished. The guys went on to do the music for Chess (including Murray Head’s “One Night In Bangkok”). Anni-Frid Lyngstad had already gone solo with “I Know There’s Something Going On”. Agnetha Faltskog became a recluse, for the most part, and the main reason ABBA never reunited, although Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus have said they don’t want to ruin the image the band had 35 years ago by coming back together now.
Let’s face it, if they didn’t reunite after the Mamma Mia! Broadway show and movie, they aren’t going to reunite. So instead, we remember them as they were in the late ‘70s… dancing, jiving, and having the time of their lives.
Tomorrow, a second look back at a girl group who weren’t interested in second-rate guys…
Other songs that reached #1 on April 9:
1966 – “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” by the Righteous Brothers (their second, 3 weeks)
1988 – “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean (his third, 2 weeks)
1994 – “Bump N’Grind” by R.Kelly (his first, 4 weeks)
2011 – “E.T.” by Katy Perry (her fifth, 5 weeks)