‘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 Björn & 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).
‘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.
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.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was one of this summer’s unexpected hits, grossing more than $120 million at the domestic box office and another $270 million overseas.
My own reaction to the film was equally unexpected, and in fact as of this writing it still sits atop my 2018 list as my favorite movie of the year so far. I am counting down the days til the Oct. 8 streaming release like a kid in the walk-up to Christmas.
I was a latecomer to 2008’s Mamma Mia!, watching it for the first time last December.
My initial reaction was confusion over how such a wildly uneven quirkfest could be beloved by so many. But I recognized the film’s charms, especially the irresistible ABBA songs and Meryl Streep’s exuberant, full-hearted performance.