Dancing Queen



"Dancing Queen" is the biggest hit single recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA, and as such is considered to be their signature song. The song was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson, recorded in 1975 for the group's album Arrival, and released as a single in 1976.

"Dancing Queen" features a shared lead vocal performance by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Its opening keyboard glissando and hummed vocals are one of the most identifiable sections of 1970s pop music.

Like a majority of ABBA songs, "Dancing Queen" is relatively straight-forward; it's about a seventeen-year-old girl having a good time on a Friday night. She is not fazed by the social and political pressures in her daily life as a teenager on the dancefloor, and all she wants to do is dance, no matter the identity of her dancing partner.

"Dancing Queen" recording sessions began August 4, 1975; the demo was called 'Boogaloo', and as the sessions progressed, Andersson and Ulvaeus found inspiration to the dance rhythm in George McCrae's disco classic "Rock Your Baby", as well as the drumming on Dr. John's 1972 album Gumbo. Faltskog and Lyngstad recorded the vocals on sessions in September, and the track was completed in December of that year.

"Dancing Queen" was released in the United Kingdom with "That's Me" on August 6, 1976, and in Sweden and Scandinavia on August 16. It was released on November 12, 1976 in the United States, and in May 1977 (with "Tiger" as the B-side) in Japan.

"Dancing Queen" spent six weeks at No.1 in the UK from September 1976 and became ABBA's only American chart-topper in April 1977. It also hit No.1 in eleven other countries worldwide: ABBA's native Sweden (where it spent 14 weeks at the top), Norway, Ireland, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), South Africa, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, while reaching the Top Five in Austria, Canada, France, Finland and Switzerland, and peaking at No.10 in Spain. "Dancing Queen" also made the national Top 20 in Italy and Japan. The song was re-released in 1992 in the UK, as Erasure sparked an Abba revival after the success of their "Abba-esque" EP topping the UK charts. The re-issued "Dancing Queen" reached No.16 in the UK in September 1992.

In 2000, "Dancing Queen" came fourth in a Channel 4 television poll of The 100 Best Number 1s. In 2001, the song was chosen as number 148 as part of the 365 Songs of the Century list. In 2004 it became ABBA's only song on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, ranked number 171.

* As ABBA started recording sessions for "Dancing Queen", they were still working their way up: none of their singles had reached No.1 or the Top 10 in the UK since their Eurovision win with "Waterloo" 15 months earlier, and interest in the group was slowly fading. But then on August 3, 1975, the video for "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" was screened on Australian tv - and a week later, "Mamma Mia" was screened nationwide - leading to an immense interest for those two singles which would culminate in "Abba-mania" in Australia. In Britain, the release of "SOS" in September, returned the group to the upper part of the charts again.
* During the early recording sessions, Benny brought a tape home with the backing track on it and played it to his future wife Anni-Frid, who started crying when listening. Quote: "I found it so beautiful".
* During work on the lyrics, this part of the verses was scrapped: "Baby, baby, you're out of sight/hey, you're looking allright tonight/when you come to the party/listen to the guys/they've got the look in their eyes...".
* In recent years it has been covered by such diverse artists as U2, who performed it with original writer Björn Ulvaeus, and Kylie Minogue who performed it at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Featured in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding, the song was used as the theme for idealised dreaming with the character Muriel saying early in the film that she wished her life was perfect. She always wished her life was "Dancing Queen".
* It is featured in the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!.
* ABBA donned 18th century-inspired costumes when they first performed this song for King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden the night before he was married to Silvia Sommerlath, June 19, 1976.
* Anni-Frid Lyngstad (former ABBA member) performed this song to commemorate the fiftieth birthday of Queen Silvia. The performance used an a cappella arrangement by The Real Group, which sang back-up for the performance. The arrangement was later released on the group's album "Varför får man inte bara vara som man är".
* "Dancing Queen" was also featured in a couple of episodes of Winter Sonata, an immensely popular Korean drama series.
* The song was featured prominently in Spike Lee's 1999 film Summer of Sam. According to Lee, he had to personally contact ABBA and get permission to use the song, as the band was afraid that Lee was going to mock them in the movie. The song was used to ironically underscore an argument between John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino.
* Late night talk show host Art Bell occasionally uses "Dancing Queen" as bumper music on his show. Because of this, Phil Hendrie (on his own show) always uses "Dancing Queen" as his bumper music for bits in which he plays Bell.
* In one episode of That 70s Show, when Hyde and Jackie recount how they initially became romantic, Jackie began to reminisce about how they first danced together to "Dancing Queen." Upon hearing this, Hyde stops the story, saying: "Hold it. I do not listen to Abba."
* During the 2007 Houston Art Car Parade, a former school bus which houses a dance floor, disco balls, and rope lights rolled as The Dancing Queen - the song was played on the bus, along with 70s disco hits.

Artists who have covered the song:

* A*Teens
* Jimmy Barnes
* Beat Crusaders
* Luka Bloom
* Diablo
* Robbie Fulks
* Girl Authority
* Jennifer Love Hewitt
* The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu
* Paul Gilbert
* CoCo Lee
* London Philharmonic Orchestra
* Kylie Minogue
* Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
* Over the Rhine
* Franck Pourcel
* Raining Pleasure
* The Real Group
* Rozalla
* S Club 7
* Jason Shand
* Steps
* Sixpence None the Richer
* TSZX
* U2
* Wing
* The Yayhoos
* Drew Ware
* Moxy Früvous
* Christy Carlson Romano (on Even Stevens)
* Belle and Sebastian
* "Weird Al" Yankovic (parodied as "Dairy Queen")
* Refer also to List of artists who have covered ABBA songsPermission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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