Chiquitita

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For the unrelated Latin pop album, see Chiquitita (album). For the soap opera, see Chiquititas.
"Chiquitita"
Single by ABBA
from the album Voulez-Vous
B-side "Lovelight"
Released 16 January 1979 (Sweden)
26 January 1979 (UK)
10 November 1979 (US)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 13 December 1978 at Polar Music Studio
Genre Pop, Europop
Length 5:26
Label Polar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Certification Gold (UK), Gold (Netherlands), Gold (NZ)
ABBA singles chronology
"Summer Night City"
(1978)
"Chiquitita"
(1979)
"Does Your Mother Know"
(1979)
Music sample

"Chiquitita" (a Spanish term of endearment for a woman meaning "little one") is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in January 1979 as the first single from the group's Voulez-Vous album. Originally, the track "If It Wasn't for the Nights" was going to be the album's lead single, but after "Chiquitita" was completed those plans were abandoned, and it would remain an album track.

History[edit]

Many preliminary versions of "Chiquitita" exist. It had working titles of "Kålsupare", "3 Wise Guys", "Chiquitita Angelina" and "In The Arms of Rosalita". A revised version, which had a sound that was influenced by the Peruvian song "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" performed by Simon and Garfunkel, was recorded in December 1978 and released as a single in January 1979.[citation needed]

With the success of the English version, ABBA also recorded "Chiquitita" in Spanish by phonetics, and it was one of the featured tracks on the Spanish-language release Gracias Por La Música.

Reception[edit]

"Chiquitita" proved to be one of ABBA's biggest hits. It was featured in a 1979 UNICEF charity event, the Music for UNICEF Concert, broadcast worldwide from the United Nations General Assembly. As a direct result of this event, ABBA donated half of all royalties from the song to UNICEF. "Chiquitita" hit #1 in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, South Africa and Rhodesia, and was a Top 5 hit in ABBA's native Sweden, the United Kingdom (peaking at #2 in both countries where Blondie's "Heart of Glass" was occupying the top spot),[1] Australia, West Germany and Norway, making it the most successful single from the Voulez-Vous album in terms of global charts and one of the most famous charity songs ever. To this day, 50% of the proceeds from the song go to UNICEF in recognition of the "International Year of the Child" in 1979.

In the United Kingdom, "Chiquitita" debuted at #8 in the singles chart, making it the highest place début for any ABBA single release.[2]

Music video[edit]

"Chiquitita" was one of the very few singles ABBA released without a custom-made video. Since then, on compilations of the group's videos, a contemporary TV performance of the song has been used. This clip was taped by the BBC for the show ABBA in Switzerland, broadcast across Europe at Easter 1979. ABBA is seen performing the song on a mountainside, with a snowman in the background. Throughout the clip, there was an obvious problem with the fan during filming, which affected Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad; her hair constantly flew in her face, and she was forced to keep moving it out of her eyes.[3]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1979) Position
Argentinian Singles Chart[4] 7
Australian Kent Music Report 4
Austrian Singles Chart 6
Belgian Singles Chart 1
British Singles Chart 2
Canadian Singles Chart 17
Costa Rica Singles Chart 1
Dutch Singles Chart 1
Finnish Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 13
German Singles Chart 3
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 48
Japanese Singles Chart 19
Mexican Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 4
Rhodesian Singles Chart 1
South African Singles Chart 1
Spanish Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 29

Live cover performances, appearances in other media, etc.[edit]

  • The song is performed in the Mamma Mia! musical and film by the characters of Tanya and Rosie. In the context of the musical, Donna has been surprised by the arrival of the three possible fathers of her daughter, and the song is used by her friends in order to comfort her and to find out why she is so upset; in the film they have to coax her out of hiding. It is one of three songs not to be featured on the official soundtrack.
  • Leona Lewis performed the song on the British TV show The X Factor.
  • "Chiquitita" was used as the opening song for the Japanese drama Strawberry on the Shortcake.
  • It was used in episode 2.04 of Queer as Folk at the end.
  • Charo performed the song at her 1988 concert in Reno at Bally's.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 90. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  2. ^ http://www.chartstats.com
  3. ^ "Abba – Chiquitita‏". YouTube. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  4. ^ http://home.zipworld.com.au/~callisto/argentina.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Y.M.C.A." by Village People
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
10 February 1979 – 17 March 1979
Succeeded by
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single
17 February 1979 – 17 March 1979
Succeeded by
"Fire" by The Pointer Sisters
Preceded by
"(You Gotta Walk and) Don't Look Back" by Peter Tosh
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
3 March 1979
Preceded by
"Y.M.C.A." by Village People
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single
15 March 1979 – 22 March 1979
Succeeded by
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
18 March 1979 – 25 March 1979
Succeeded by
"Heart of Glass" by Blondie