A famous neighborhood in London, a city and university in Canada and a city in Iowa. And a smash record to boot. Today we recall the song “Waterloo”, which became Abba‘s first (but not last!) American top 40 hit, this day in 1974.
The song had sprung the Swedes to prominence in Europe when it won the Eurovision Song Contest; in 2005 Europeans voted it the best song ever to come out of that annual competition. Female leads Agnetha and Anni-frid (Frida) shared the vocals on the upbeat song, a story about a girl surrendering to a boy, like Napoleon surrendered at Waterloo. It ended up going to #6 in the U.S. and #1 in the UK, where they’d have eight more. In Sweden, oddly it topped out at #2 – with an asterisk. Sweden at the time didn’t differentiate between LPs and 45s on the sales chart so #1 was occupied by Abba’s album of the same name. When all was said and done, it racked up over six million copies sold, which for most bands would be a career highlight, but for Abba ranks it somewhere behind “Dancing Queen.”
In Sweden they’d have eight more #1 albums to follow and by the time they split up,they’d become the most popular entertainment export ever from Scandinavia. After a long split, Abba’s been working together in the last couple of years and say they have recorded five new songs, however their release date has been pushed back several times. Latest word is that they might have a new album out this fall.