on 2 August 2007
Fifteen years on from release, this album is still going strong, having recently seen of an attempt to replace it by the inferior "Number Ones".
Abba Gold was masterminded from Polydor UK in 1992 and is heavily weighted towards the UK hits. 18 of Abba's 19 Top 10 UK hits are here, the only omission being Summer Night City, left off in favour of perhaps their most well known small hit/album track, Thank You For The Music. The only other significant track missed off is UK Top 3 hit, Angeleyes, represented here by its double A-side, the international hit Voulez-Vous. That is the only concession to the non-UK market though.
Lay All Your Love On Me, not considered an "official" single and only released in a few countries, is included here on the grounds that it was a Top 10 UK hit (it also helped that Erasure had covered the track for their Abba-Esque EP earlier in 1992). In contrast, some big hits outside the UK, such as I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (a small hit here) are thankfully left off.
If you don't already own this album (and there can't be many people left who don't) this is an essential purchase.
on 12 May 2004
I recently read an article on the most reputable American music magazine, Billboard Magazine, about this album being one of the top sellers worldwide of all time. It has sold 30 Million copies around the world, and here in UK it has sold almost 4 million copies! Then I learned that ABBA has sold over 350 million albums worldwide. Wow! Only the Beatles and Elvis have sold more, accoring to the article. I knew they had many number ones here in UK, but did not know they were so big in the world. The article explained that ABBA was bigger than the Beatles in many Latin American countries, in Russia, Viet Nam, Netherlands (where 3 out of every household owns an ABBA record) and in Australia.
I figured out I should give ABBA a try. i needed to understand why so many liked this group, and I did not even own one of their CDs.
I had only heard Dancing Queen, Waterloo, and Take A Chance On Me, so I bought this album. I am now an ABBA fan. I usually don't like pop, but ABBA has finally won me over. After several listens, I decided that I have never EVER heard melodies this good. They are fresh, timeless, and like U2's Bono said, "I think ABBA have a pure joy to their music, and that’s what makes them extraordinary!" The music is so joyous even when there is melancholy and drama added. The music is so much more complex than I had given ABBA credit for --- before really listening.
My favorite music acts are U2, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Now ABBA has joined them.
I did some research and found other quotes about ABBA from U2 members and others:
Bjork: “ABBA saved my life, it’s undeniable. Arrival is a happy record. ‘Dancing Queen’ is the biggest song in pop-music history, pure ecstasy, it makes you want to fly!”
Richard Ashcroft, from The Verve: "‘Dancing Queen’ is one of my favourite songs of all time’," "In ‘Dancing Queen,’ taking it as a songwriter, it’s just one of the most perfectly crafted pieces of pop music. It makes me feel good. Life is just moments, you know what I mean? And music’s about capturing those moments. Every time I hear ‘feel the beat of the tambourine/oh yeah’ it makes a chemical react in my brain. Something happens in my body and I feel good!"
Elvis Costello: “We stole them like crazy, and they dragged these things into pop music, these big double octave flourishes on the piano that seemed right straight out of Rachmaninoff”
The Edge, from U2: “ABBA have written the best pop music of all time.”
I agree completely. ABBA is way up there.
on 26 August 2003
When at the end of time and come to write about the best albums and bands in the world of pop ever there's no doubt Abba will be up there withthe likes of the Beatles and Queen.
As a young lad growing uo getting it music in the late 70's and early 80's I remmember hearing Abba's songs and videos on Top of the Pops and the radio and was hooked and attracted to the 2 girls understandbly.
Anyway I forgot about Abba for a few years and then back in 1992 when Erasure did a cover of Dancing Queen I remmembered what got me into them the catchy singalong melodies superb vocals from Agnetha and Frida.
Most of what appeals to people about Abba is their honesty and their laying out of their emotions either singing about one-night stands Gimmie Gimmie! Dacing Queen or when they were going through their divorces they lay their feelings out for all to hear on The Winner Takes All and when the band was ending Thank You For The Music.
Everyone will have their favourite tracks just slip it on the CD player or Hard Drive and sit back and enjoy!
when ABBA burst onto the scene in 1974 winning the eurovision song contest with 'Waterloo' the world was never going to be the same. some 33 years later, the world is still enthralled by them, spawning a highly succesful musical 'mamma mia' in the west end.
This CD includes all of their best known hits. 'Dancing queen' 'Take a chance on me' 'the name of the game' 'One of us' 'The winner takes it all'
'Thank you for the music' being just some of their major hits that make it onto this greatest hits album.
I was two years old when 'Dancing queen' came out in 1976, Just goes to prove, with quality music like this, the world never forgets.
I've revisited this Album since my missus took an eager liking of the recent film translation of the musical Mamma Mia.
I've mentioned in my review of the soundtrack that I'm not a massive Abba fan, but there is something about the music that makes it incredibly likable. I'm not going to go through all the tracks on this double CD, but each song feels very independently crafted. No two sound the same.
There are no weak tracks here and the album is the perfect showcase for the pop phenomenon. Most cheesy pop songs over recent times have been basic stories of love, loss ...or lost love - but here there's a wide variation in subject matter. Most are to do with relationships, but they tend to tell a story rather than give a formulaic four minutes of music. This is no doubt one of the strengths of Abba, and a reason as to why this album is still popular today - it hasn't really dated. The spectrum of moods and types of music used is wider than what you'd usually find on a pop album, it is testament to the pure creative energy the group had and stops it from ever going stale.
In a nutshell: This goes beyond empty shallow pop music, it is a celebration of how creative genius can give birth to individual nuggets of musical gold. The tracks are incredibly catchy and they haunt you for hours after listening to them. This isn't great in the same way that a Bob Dylan album is great, there's no political message that will inspire you to stand up and be counted. This album is great because it uses sounds fresh and fun. Practically everyone is familiar with the majority of the tracks on this album, but it's only when you sit and listen to them that you appreciate how much work has gone into them. I'm not an Abba fan, but I do recognise the impact that this music has had - and I can't help but enjoy it when 'my wife puts it on'.
on 1 July 2016
A collection of hits and number one record tunes that is rally a history of the pop both in 70s and 80s and from the band that redefine what pop is and also what euro pop music was. What is so great about this the two song writers were not writing their songs in their native language but in English.
Nineteen of ABBA's best songs are plenty, but you won't tire of them. It is amazing that four Swedes (Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus as writers and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog as the main singers) could take such simple English cliches and turn them into pop music magic. Despite sometimes maddeningly simple lyrics, the song arrangements were unnervingly catchy and the multi-level layered compostions are fascinating. The keyboards and synthesizers were used in some of the more ingenious ways during the seventies to produce that unmistakeable ABBA sound. The energy and nearly anthemic enthusiasm eminating from each song marked them all as instant classics, no matter how jaded or synical the listener. It is doubtlful if you read the song list here that you would not know the melody. The one ironic thing about this groups phenomenal success, is that of over 400 million album sales, they only had one number one hit in the US - "Dancing Queen". But it is one heck of a great song.
on 24 July 2015
WHAT CAN I SAY THAT HAS'N'T ALREADY BEEN SAID? NOTHING MUCH EXCEPT WHILST I REALLY LIKE MOST GENRES OF MUSIC I TEND TO LEAN MORE TOWARDS THE HEAVY ROCK END OF THINGS BUT ABBA HAVE NEVER MADE A DUFF ALBUM LET ALONE SONG AND SOME OF THEIR MUSIC ESPECIALLY THE "EUROPEAN FOLKSONG TYPE OF SONG SUCH AS THE EAGLE AND THE PIPER" MAKE THE HAIRS STAND UP ON THE BACK OF MY NECK . BUY IT .AND IF YOU'RE A BIT SNIFFY ABOUT ABBA ITS WORTH HUNTING DOWN WHAT ELVIS COSTELLO SAID ABOUT THEIR MUSIC ,IT MIGHT JUST CHANGE YOUR MIND
on 3 November 2015
ABBA made enough songs to make incredibly strong best of selection - and this one delivers from the start to the end. You can't find all of it here, that's what "More Gold" is for, but whether you think something is missing, you cannot say there is anything not belonging on this selection. Best after best, hit after hit. My 4 year old girl says "this is my favourite song!" at the start of virtually any of them. And she is right.
It was very recently in the news that "ABBA Gold" has become the UK's second biggest selling album of all time and that 5.1 million copies have been sold since it was released in 1992, relegating The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" into third place. Ever since I was a child, ABBA have been an ever-present, radio-friendly part of my life and, even though they were seen as cheesy and a bit naff in the years after they split up, when this album was released they were re-discovered all over again by the world. My ex-wife loved ABBA so much that she drove me crazy with "Gold" and I grew to loathe the sound of them for a few years. However, when we split and she claimed custody of that particular CD, I eventually found myself missing several songs and so had to buy a copy of my own. I'll be honest with you, I'm not ashamed to love them. Benny and Bjorn are absolutely superb songwriters with a natural talent for melody and harmony. This greatest hits album is absolutely packed full of timeless songs which, I have to admit, I find rather remarkable that they were written by people for whom English isn't their first language.
It'd actually be easier to list the tracks I don't really care for on this album than to list my favourite tracks by the super Swedes. Oddly enough, the main two I don't like come one after the other on "Gold" - "Chiquitita" and "Fernando". I find them a little too irritatingly twee. You can probably add "I Had A Dream" to that category too. There are so many excellent songs on this collection that they're a minor mid-album distraction to me, though. ABBA are a group that it's almost impossible to dislike (although I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who do), even if I wanted to - their music is just so irresistibly enjoyable. They have the knack of writing songs which are both immensely catchy and also memorable. Their songs sound deceptively simplistic, but the vast majority of their music is very cleverly composed and a little more complex than your ears would have you believe.
My absolute favourites from "ABBA Gold" include the ridiculously infectious "Knowing Me, Knowing You", the foot-tapping harmonic masterpiece, "Take A Chance On Me" and "Mamma Mia" with the glorious, "Yes, I've been broken hearted/blue since the day we parted" bridge and the near-trademark trick of taking melancholy lyrics describing the pain of heartbreak and pairing them with a rather uplifting musical soundtrack - "The Winner Takes It All" is another fine example of this. You can add the brilliant "Super Trooper" to the list of the numerous almost annoyingly catchy songs in their repertoire, the contrast between the verse and chorus of "S.O.S." is approaching genius, especially the powerful, "When you're gone/how can I even try to go on?" section and both "One Of Us" and the magnificent "The Name Of The Game" document the sad split of the group all too well. Of course, I couldn't write this without mentioning the song from 1974 that catapulted them to international fame, one of the best winners of Eurovision ever, "Waterloo". According to The Attractions' Steve Nieve, "Oliver's Army" owes that particular song a debt of gratitude.
Despite their popularity and the massive sales of this album, there as still way too many people who dismiss ABBA as being camp, cheesy, throwaway music. Of course, there are plenty of these classics that fit the description of camp and cheesy ("Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight)", "Voulez-Vous" and "Does Your Mother Know" for example), but throwaway? Never. In absolute honesty, I'd give my right arm to be able to write songs as great as these and they many of the songs have an emotional depth to them that often goes unrecognised. It's a little strange that the main songwriters in the group didn't go on afterwards to have a wildly successful post-split success, given their profligacy, although it's probably not a surprise to many that they ended up writing a musical ("Chess") and, indeed, having a musical written around their best work ("Mamma Mia"). This is simply the best work of one of the best groups of the 70s and early 80s and, let's be honest, probably a must for any music collection. It's certainly not something I'm ashamed to own.