Thank You for the Music: Analysing ABBA’s UK chart success
Our infographic examines the beloved Swedish group's single and album releases between 1972 and 1983, plus their greatest hits collection in 1992.
Mamma Mia, here they go again.
That’s right. ABBA, one of the most beloved and best-selling pop groups of all time, are back.
The group – formed by Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid in Stockholm, Sweden, almost half a century ago – have not put out any new music for 35 years.
But that will change in December with the release of two original songs, one of which – titled I Still Have Faith In You – will feature in a BBC TV special.
It will cap a triumphant year for the legendary group, after the release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – the musical-turned-film that is based on ABBA songs – earlier in the summer.
Their return to the public eye, coupled with their enduring popularity, has resulted in Betway and several other betting sites seeing plenty of punters put money on a famous reunion.
"ABBA’s staying power speaks for itself and, with the second Mamma Mia! movie currently in cinemas, there hasn’t been a better time for the group to reunite," said Betway’s Alan Alger.
"It seems like a good time for punters to take a chance on 2018 being the year they get back together and, at , the winner really could take it all.
"If the comeback does happen, we are for them to be top of the UK charts at Christmas, while they are to headline next year’s Glastonbury."
To celebrate ABBA's return, we decided to reflect on the remarkable impact they made on the UK charts during their active years.
Our infographic analyses the 25 singles and 10 albums they released between 1972 and 1983, plus their career-spanning greatest hits album in 1992.
- ABBA achieved nine No. 1 singles – the most of any non-British group ever.
- Their debut single, Waterloo, topped the charts after being Sweden’s winning entry in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
- Dancing Queen is the group’s best-selling single. It spent six weeks at No. 1 in the UK, where it sold more than one million copies. The song also topped the charts worldwide, and became their first and only No. 1 hit in America.
- ABBA released 11 albums (seven studio, four compilation), between 1974 and 1983, eight of which reached No. 1 on the UK charts.
- Their best-selling album, however, is Gold – Greatest Hits, which was released in 1992.
- Gold is also the UK’s second-biggest selling album of all time, having sold more than 5.3m copies. Over 3.5m of those are CD sales, which makes it the UK’s best-selling CD of all time.
Who sang the songs?
- Agnetha sang lead vocals on nine of ABBA’s 25 singles, the most of any member. Only one of those nine, however – The Winner Takes It All – reached No. 1.
- Agnetha and Anni-Frid shared lead vocals on eight singles. Five of those were No. 1 hits, including the aforementioned Dancing Queen.
- Anni-Frid sang lead vocals on just five ABBA singles. However, three of them – Knowing Me, Knowing You, Super Trouper and Fernando – went to No. 1, and are the band’s second, third and fourth biggest-selling singles respectively.
- Benny and Bjorn, who co-wrote every ABBA single, sang lead vocals on just one song, the non-album single Summer Night City, while Bjorn sang lead vocals on Does Your Mother Know.
- Nine of ABBA’s 25 singles are about love, which is the group’s most-popular subject. Five of those songs went to No. 1: Waterloo, Mamma Mia, The Name of the Game, Take a Chance on Me and Super Trouper, which was the group’s final chart-topper.
- The group’s next most-popular subject matter, with four, is lust. None of those reached top spot, although Voulez-Vous and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme both peaked at three.
- Three of their singles are about heartbreak, including The Winner Takes It All, which was voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Break-Up Song’ in 2006.
- The rest of ABBA's singles are about loneliness (2), friendship (2), music (2), money and hope.