Song of the Day #5,437: ‘Mamma Mia’ – ABBA

Continuing my look at the albums of 1975…

Swedish pop group ABBA started blowing up after winning the Eurovision song contest with ‘Waterloo’ in 1974. Their third, self-titled, album came out a year later and became their biggest hit to date.

The album featured three hit singles in ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,’ ‘SOS,’ and ‘Mamma Mia,’ all of which hit #1 in Australia and the top ten in a half dozen other countries. The first two gave the band their second and third top 20 hits in the United States.

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Song of the Day #4,987: ‘The Winner Takes It All’ – ABBA

I’ve delayed my year-end movie posts as long as I can, hoping to fit in the last few titles on my watchlist. I managed to catch a couple of them, but I’m still missing some key films, including multiple Oscar nominees Drive My Car and The Worst Person in the World.

I can’t wait forever, though, so over the next four weeks I will offer up my favorite musical moments on screen last year, my favorite performances, and then my personal top ten list. That will take us right up to Oscar night, finally putting the 2021 film year to bed three months into 2022.

This week, I’ll cover the musical moments.

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Song of the Day #4,516: ‘Waterloo’ – ABBA

‘Waterloo,’ the title track of ABBA’s 1974 sophomore album, was the song that launched them to international fame. It is also the first recording released under the name ABBA, as the band’s first effort was billed to Bj√∂rn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. The quartet quickly realized that going by their first initials, and ordering them as the palindromic ABBA, made a lot more sense.

‘Waterloo’ won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, and remains the most famous song to do so (at least the most famous on this side of the pond).

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Song of the Day #4,293: ‘The Name of the Game’ – ABBA

‘The Name of the Game’ is the first single from ABBA’s fifth studio album, titled ABBA: The Album. It spent a month at the top spot of the UK charts, and made it to #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

The song’s opening riff was apparently inspired by the Stevie Wonder song ‘I Wish,’ which appeared on Songs in the Key of Life a year earlier. It was sampled by The Fugees, quite effectively, on their 1996 track ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ the first time ABBA allowed another act to sample their music.

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Song of the Day #4,003: ‘Dancing Queen’ – ABBA

My daughter Sophia turns 17 today, an age that doesn’t have the meaning of 16 or 18 but feels relatively momentous in its own right.

In fact, when I searched for songs about (or at least mentioning) being 17, I found a treasure trove. Something about the age appeals to songwriters… probably the idea of being fully immersed in teenagerdom but just on the brink of adulthood.

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