Fernando (song)

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"Fernando"
Single by ABBA
from the album Greatest Hits
B-side "Hey, Hey, Helen"
Released 27 March 1976 (UK)
12 April 1976 (Sweden)
4 September 1976 (US)
Format Vinyl
Recorded 3 September 1975 at Metronome Studio
Genre Pop, Folk
Length 4:12
Label Polar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Writer(s) Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
Certification Gold (Germany), Gold (UK), Gold (France), Gold (Canada)
ABBA singles chronology
"Mamma Mia"
(1975)
"Fernando"
(1976)
"Rock Me"
(1976)
Music video
"Fernando " on YouTube
"Fernando"
Anni-Frid Lyngstad - Fernando.jpg
Song by Anni-Frid Lyngstad from the album Frida ensam
Released 10 November 1975 (1975-11-10)
Language Swedish
Length 4:14
Label Polar Music
Writer Benny Andersson / Björn Ulvaeus / Stig Anderson
Producer Benny Andersson / Björn Ulvaeus
Frida ensam track listing
"Fernando"
(1)
"Jag är mig själv nu"
(2)
Music video
"Fernando (Swedish Version)" on YouTube

"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in March 1976 through Polar Music. Solo parts were sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The track was featured on the 1976 compilation album Greatest Hits in some countries, although in Australia and New Zealand, "Fernando" was included on the group's fourth studio album Arrival. "Fernando" is also featured on the multi-million selling Gold: Greatest Hits compilation. The song was to become ABBA's best-selling single of all time, with 6,000,000 copies sold in 1976 alone.[1] It is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

History[edit]

"Fernando" was not originally released as an ABBA song but as a solo single by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It was featured on her number 1 Swedish solo album Frida ensam (1975). The song was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and carried the working title of "Tango". Preparations for recording began in August 1975. Originally named "Hernandez", the writers made last-minute changes to the title before recording.[2] The suggestion of the name "Fernando" was given by their limousine driver Peter Forbes in Shepperton, England. Tony Fernando, a wealthy exports director for celebrities such as Princess Anne and Tom Selleck, was a friend of Peter Forbes.[citation needed]

Swedish-language version[edit]

The original Swedish-language version's lyrics were written by ABBA's manager Stig Anderson and differ substantially from the English-language version. In the original, the narrator tries to console the heartbroken Fernando, who has lost his great love. "The sorrow can be hard to bear, but the fact that friends let us down is something we all have to cope with". The chorus' lyrics are: "Long live love, our best friend, Fernando. Raise your glass and propose a toast to it, to love, Fernando. Play the melody and sing a song of happiness. Long live love, Fernando".

English-language version[edit]

The English version, with completely different lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, the song presents a vision of nostalgia for two veterans reminiscing in old age about a lost battle that they participated in.

The B-side to "Fernando" was the song "Hey, Hey, Helen", a track from the group's self-titled third studio album (1975), although in some countries "Tropical Loveland" (also from the album ABBA) was used instead. Some copies of the single use "Rock Me" or "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" as a B-side.

Spanish-language version[edit]

The title and rhythm of the song made it an obvious choice for inclusion in their Spanish album. Lyrics were translated into Spanish by Mary McCluskey and recorded on 3 January 1980, in the Polar Music studios. The song is part of the Gracias Por La Música album and is listed as track No. 5, in the "ABBA Oro" album as track No. 1 and as a bonus track on the Arrival album. The song was released as a promotional single in Spain. The lyrics, while adapted for rhythm and rhyme, carry the same sentiment and roughly the same meaning as the English version. "There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright, Fernando. They were shining there for you and me, for liberty, Fernando" becomes "Algo había alrededor quizá de claridad Fernando, que brillaba por nosotros dos en protección, Fernando" (Something was around us perhaps of clarity Fernando, that shone for us two in protection, Fernando.)

Reception[edit]

After the success for Frida with her Swedish version of this song, the group decided to record an English version. This was a wise step, as "Fernando" became one of ABBA's best-selling singles, with more than 10 million copies sold worldwide and topping the charts in at least 13 countries:[3] Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, West Germany, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland. In Australia, "Fernando" stayed at number 1 for 14 weeks and spent 40 weeks in the charts, making "Fernando" one of the best selling singles of all time in Australia. It still holds the record for the single spending the most weeks at number 1 (along with The Beatles' "Hey Jude"). "Fernando" also reached the Top 3 in ABBA's native Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain and Rhodesia. Lyngstad's version stayed at number 1 on the Swedish radio charts for 9 weeks. It was also released as a single in Norway, where it did not chart.

In the United States, "Fernando" peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it, at the time, ABBA's highest-charting American single after "Waterloo". However, "Fernando" did reach number 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, the first of two number ones for ABBA on this chart (the second being "The Winner Takes It All"). The song remains an airplay staple on American radio stations specializing in the MOR, adult standards and easy listening formats.

"Fernando" was the second of three consecutive UK number 1 singles for ABBA, after "Mamma Mia" and before "Dancing Queen".[4]

The song was also chosen as the "Best Studio Recording of 1975", ABBA's first international prize.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Mississippi" by Pussycat
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
2 April 1976 – 18 June 1976
Succeeded by
"Let Your Love Flow" by The Bellamy Brothers
Preceded by
"The Alternative Way" by Anita Meyer
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
3 April 1976 – 17 April 1976
Succeeded by
"Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
Preceded by
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
5 April 1976 – 5 July 1976
Succeeded by
"Howzat" by Sherbet
Preceded by
"Ich bin wie du" by Marianne Rosenberg
Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single (first run)
10 April 1976 – 17 April 1976
Succeeded by
"Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
Preceded by
"Rocky" by Frank Farian
German Singles Chart number-one single (first run)
30 April 1976
Succeeded by
"Rocky" by Frank Farian
Preceded by
"Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
1 May 1976 – 29 May 1976
Succeeded by
"Arms of Mary" by Sutherland Brothers
UK Singles Chart number-one single
8 May 1976 – 4 June 1976
Succeeded by
"No Charge" by J.J. Barrie
Preceded by
"Rocky" by Frank Farian
German Singles Chart number-one single (second run)
14 May 1976 – 18 June 1976
Succeeded by
"Let Your Love Flow" by The Bellamy Brothers
Preceded by
"Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single (second run)
15 May 1976
Succeeded by
"Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
Preceded by
"My Little World" by Waterloo & Robinson
Austrian Singles Chart number-one single
14 June 1976 – 2 August 1976
Succeeded by
"Let Your Love Flow" by The Bellamy Brothers
Preceded by
"Like a Sad Song" by John Denver
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single
16 October 1976 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Muskrat Love" by Captain & Tennille

Cover versions[edit]

  • The Colombian duo, Angela & Consuelo, recorded a Spanish language version of Fernando in the 1970s.
  • In 1976, Swedish singer Lena Andersson recorded a German language version of this song. Andersson was also signed to the Polar label and thus could use the original Anni-Frid Lyngstad/ABBA backing track produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The German version is of particular interest to fans of the band since it contains a two bar long instrumental passage after the first chorus that was edited out from both the Swedish and the English-language versions.
  • In 1976, Finnish saxophonist Seppo Rannikko recorded an instrumental version of "Fernando" in his album "Sahara" (only released as an LP), which also included an instrumental version of ABBA's "Dancing Queen".
  • In 1976, Paraguayan/Brazilian camp singer Perla covered "Fernando" on her album "Palabras de Amor". Perla also covered ABBA's "Chiquitita" on her 1979 album.
  • In 1976, French Canadian singer René Simard recorded a French language version of this song.
  • A Swedish country band called Nashville Train (which included some of ABBA's own backing band members) also covered the song in 1977 on their album ABBA Our Way, released on the Polar Music label in Sweden.
  • The Swedish singer Lotta Engberg has recorded a cover version of the Swedish language version of the song. The year was 1997, as her dansband recorded the song on the Tolv i topp album.
  • The Swedish dansband Vikingarna has also recorded a cover version of the Swedish language version of the song.
  • American actress/singer Audrey Landers (best known for her role on the TV series Dallas) recorded a cover of the song.
  • U.S. musician/songwriter Pamela McNeill included a rendition of the song on her Tribute To ABBA album. Her husband, Dugan McNeill, helped produce the album.
  • British dance tribute group Abbacadabra released a cover and several remixes of the song through Almighty Records in the late 1990s.
  • A dance/pop cover of the song by Belgian group Sha-Na was released as a single in 1992.
  • German eurodance group E-Rotic covered the song on their album Thank You for the Music.
  • An electronica version by Bug Funny Foundation is included on the compilation The Electronic Tribute To ABBA.
  • The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus recorded a cover of the song for their 1997 album ExtrABBAganza!.
  • Local Seattle gay men's chorus Captain Smartypants recorded a cover of the song for their album Undercover.
  • New York jazz band Sex Mob covered the song for their 2000 album Solid Sender.
  • Danish rock/pop duo Olsen Brothers recorded a cover for their 2003 album More Songs.
  • The 2004 album ABBAMania 2 featured a cover by British TV actress Jane Danson.
  • The German ABBA Mania compilation includes a cover of the song by Barbara Schöneberger and German comedian Dirk Bach.
  • A cover of the song by Velvet Set can be found on the 2006 chill out music compilation ABBA Chill Out.
  • Taiwanese singer Tracy Huang recorded an English cover of the song.
  • A cover of the song by Finnish a cappella choral ensemble Rajaton can be found on their 2006 ABBA tribute album Rajaton Sings ABBA With Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
  • The song was covered in a jazz/lounge music style by American group BNB on their 2008 album Bossa Mia: Songs of ABBA.[12]
  • Australian rock band Audioscam covered the song on their 2008 album Abbattack. Samples from the album can be heard on their official MySpace page.[13]
  • Deborah Sasson (de) recorded "Fernando" for her 2004 album The Pop Album.
  • Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby included a cover on their 2010 album, Two-Way Family Favourites, with Amy Rigby singing vocals.
  • The von Trapps recorded a Swedish language version with Pink Martini, which appears on their 2014 album Dream a Little Dream.

Live cover performances[edit]

  • Only a few lines of the song are sung briefly by the character of Donna in the Mamma Mia! musical. The song was originally to be featured in the musical as a flamboyant dance number, with Donna entertaining the clientele at the taverna, but was cut as it didn't move the story along.[14] In the movie adaptation, Meryl Streep, who plays Donna, is heard briefly humming a few notes of the song.
  • The song has been performed live in English as a duet by Swedish singers Helen Sjöholm and Karin Glenmark.
  • The song was sung on Australian Idol season 6 by Wes Carr during ABBA week. A recorded version of Carr's version was included on the album Australian Idol Top 10:The Most Memorable songs from the series.
  • Charo performed the song at her 1988 concert in Reno at Bally's.

Appearances in other media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karen Collins (12 January 2008). "Fernando the Flute – Details". Tagg.org. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  2. ^ ABBA fan magazine 1980
  3. ^ ABBA fan magazine 1977.
  4. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 122. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  5. ^ "Kent Music Report National Top 100 Singles, No 120". Kent Music Report. 11 October 1976. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Baker, Glen (8 November 1979). Billboard Magazine Volume 91, No. 36. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Canadian certifications – ABBA – Fernando". Music Canada. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "French certifications – Fernando" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (ABBA; 'Fernando')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "British certifications – ABBA – Fernando". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012.  Enter Fernando in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Click Go
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Profile.myspace.com. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  14. ^ Andersson, Benny; Ulvaeus, Bjorn; and Craymer, Judy (2006), "Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? – The Inside Story of Mamma Mia and the Songs of ABBA", Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, p.148

External links[edit]