leejohnson's current selection is:
First of all, yes, the "Encyclopedia Britannica" (a kind of Wikipedia for bookworms, if you like) DOES have a blog. No, seriously. And from it comes what's actually not a bad piece of writing, to be honest. (OK, you'd expect that from an encyclopedia, I suppose.) So have a quick scan through the following as you listen to 3¾ minutes of perfect pop:
ABBA, "Dancing Queen" (Great Moments in Pop Music History)
Gregory McNamee - August 31, 2011
Depending on how you look at the question, the Swedish hit machine that was 'ABBA' (the acronym stands for the first initials of its four leads, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad) marked either the culmination of some deal with the devil down at a rune-studded crossroad or the apogee of pop music in our time. There is little ground between the two positions, and few people can take the quartet or leave them. Say what you will, though: The music is perfectly formulated to be irresistible, the voices of the female singers an ethereal third something between mezzo-soprano and soprano, the groove - well, there was hardly a groove to be found, even though the four professed to be influenced by 'Motown' more than any other single musical font, but still, the groove got the songs where they were going.
'ABBA', it's not often remarked, was an early supergroup, a sort of 'Cream' for the cream-complexioned set, an amalgam of two musical powerhouses. (Much the same happened when 'Buckingham Nicks' met 'Fleetwood Mac', but that's another story.) It's also not remarked often enough that principal composers Ulvaeus and Andersson were bent on perfection as much as were John Lennon and Paul McCartney, if perhaps in a more mad-scientist sort of way, and from their laboratory emerged hit after hit.
One of the biggest of them was released 35 years ago, in August 1976: "Dancing Queen". In no time at all, it conquered the world - for good or ill, again, depends on your take.
A worldwide hit in too many countries to mention here. So I'll just list the ones in which it hit No. 1 in the year 1976:
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands (2 charts!), the "Eurochart" (whatever pre-Brexit organ that might have been), Germany, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Rhodesia (that's Zimbabwe to you), South Africa, a "Soviet" chart (let's just say Russia, shall we?), Spain - and Sweden, of course. The UK and the US? Well, obviously! Do I have to even mention them? Both the Billboard and Cashbox listings Stateside put it at No. 1 that year.
1976 - Epic Records - United Kingdom - From the album "Arrival".
Posted: 12th April 2019