The ABBA sound from the 1970’s is unmistakable and they have left an unquenchable pop legacy for us to enjoy over the years. The hit quartet of Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid put Sweden on the worldwide stage. As one of the most influential pop bands of all time with an endless variety of traditional pop songs to choose from we take a look back on the top 15 fan favourites from the gigantic hit list that Abba has brought to us throughout their illustrious careers. From sing-a-long classics like ‘Dancing Queen’ to the inspirational lyrics in ‘I Have A Dream’, each song is composed to achieve maximum entertainment, making their records ideal for turning on the player for any occasion.
1. Winner Takes It All
This is one of the band's most famous songs. The story of a couple going their separate ways after a break up was personal for band member Bjorn who penned the lyrics for the song. This is a nostalgic look back at heartache. We enjoy an epic introduction leading us to an epic solo from Agnetha. Listening to the words one can't help but feel the sorrow exposed by a broken heart.
“The winner takes it all, The loser standing small, Beside the victory, That's her destiny”
2. I Have A Dream
Released in 1979, this song was written by band members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. In 1999 Westlife covered the song, allowing us to fall in love with the lyrics all over again. The repetitive chorus makes this classic hit easily adaptable to the stage. Interestingly, this song features a choir and it is one of the only times that the band has enlisted outside vocalists for a song.
A Spanish term meaning ‘Little One’, Chiquitata clearly demonstrates the international reach of the band. Released as the first single from the Voulez-Vous Album in 1979, this song was an instant success. Pop icon Cher has covered this endearing song.
4. Dancing Queen
We find this famous song popping up in Karaoke bars around the world. With its easy melody and positive lyrics, it has become a party classic. This is the perfect pop ballad. Commercially, this is one of ABBAs greatest hits, climbing to number one in the UK charts and selling over 3 million copies worldwide.
5. Knowing Me, Knowing You
A break-up song that is easy for anyone familiar with heartbreak to relate to, this firm fan favourite captured hearts around the world. It topped the charts in the UK, Germany, Ireland and Mexico. This was a breakthrough hit in the US and featured on the band's fourth album 'Arrival'.
This Eurovision winner remains one of Abba’s most popular songs to date. This was the first single by the group from 1974 and it launched them onto the international stage. Its catchy chorus lives on and it was only recently crowned the UK’s number one Eurovision song of all time. Like most Abba songs, this tune naturally leads us gently towards the dance floor and we find ourselves singing along.
7. Lay All Your Love on Me
Recorded for their seventh album in 1980 this tune pays tribute to the bands disco roots with its use of synthesizers and electric guitar. Its energetic beat was designed to get us on the dance floor.
8. Super Trouper
Perfectly blended harmonies showcase the band's vocal abilities in this hit song. Released in 1980, under an album with the same name this single maintained a pop beat but we can hear melancholy in the lyrics that doesn’t appear in others. It is believed that the breakdown of their marriages could have been the inspiration for this hit.
9. Take a Chance on Me
With its upbeat tempo, the enduring popularity of this song has meant that it is still a firm favourite today. Released in 1978 as part of the band's fifth studio album, this hit record ticks all of the popular Abba boxes; relatable lyrics, a sing-a-long style and positive wishes for love that would feature heavily in a number of the most loved songs. There are many covers of this song and it was featured in the hit TV series 'The Office'.
“If you change your mind, I'm the first in line, Honey, I'm still free, Take a chance on me”
You may recall this smash hit from the movie ‘Muriel's Wedding’ featuring Toni Colette which highlights the global reach of Abba’s fanbase. This song turned out to be one of the band's biggest hits and one of the best selling singles of all time. It is interesting that this ballad takes on a more serious theme than most other Abba songs with the lyrics reflecting on the memories of freedom fighters in Mexico.
11. Money, Money, Money
With a villainous sound, we find ABBA using lyrics to mock the privilege that comes with money: "Money, Money, money, must be funny, in a rich man's world". A dark but not eerie video featuring close up shots and their iconic synchronisation of vocals leaves us mesmerised with this smash hit.
Released as part of their 1975 album, SOS was a massive hit. The ominous solo keyboard introduction is contrasted with the pop/rock chorus. The distinguished vocal arrangement with the girl members of the band, the catchy chorus and the multi-layered instruments makes S.O.S an iconic pop anthem.
13. Thank you for the Music
With a tribute to their love of music, this popular anthem has become synonymous with graduation ceremonies and big occasions celebrating the arts worldwide.
14. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Catchy lyrics, a sense of urgency and the perfect tempo mixed with electronic strings to get us moving on the dancefloor. This is a classic disco hit. The beauty of this song is that we don’t have to overthink the meaning behind the lyrics or musical arrangement, it is simply composed and sung for us to enjoy.
15. Mamma Mia
The inspirational title for the West End Show and the blockbuster movie, Mamma Mia, is certainly a dance floor hit and an unforgettable ABBA song. The toe-tapping beat has made this song one of the bands most popular compositions.
Today we have the colourful songs on repeat alongside our re-watching of Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. The remake of this west end ABBA tribute show into a blockbuster movie proved to be a worldwide success and brought our love for all things ABBA back to life.
It is safe to say that this band shaped the musical pop genre in the 70’s and continue to contribute to the industry today. Nowadays all of the Abba band members are considered musical giants. We hope that you enjoyed this list of firm fan favourites. Their unique ability to turn out hit after hit with every album containing at least some classic, must-play songs has made them hard to replicate. We will continue to rely upon them to provide the ideal music entertainment for every occasion.
Get the latest 8 LP box set celebrating all of the groundbreaking ABBA records here: