Greatest Hits (ABBA album)

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Greatest Hits
Greatest hits album by ABBA
Released November 17, 1975 (1975-11-17)
Recorded March 1972-
March 1975
Genre Pop
Length 48:00
Label Polar (Sweden)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Universal Music (2006 reissue)
Producer Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA chronology
ABBA
(1975)
Greatest Hits
(1975)
Arrival
(1976)
Alternative cover
UK Edition
Singles from Greatest Hits
  1. "Fernando"
    Released: March 27, 1976 (UK), April 12, 1976 (Sweden), September 4, 1976 (US)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Robert Christgau C+[1]

Greatest Hits is a compilation album by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in 1975 in Scandinavia and in 1976 in other parts of the world. The later editions included the group's current single "Fernando".

Overview[edit]

Greatest Hits was rush-released in Scandinavia in November 1975 to counter expected import sales of similar collections released by licencees in Europe, such as French Disques Vogue's ABBA's Greatest Hits and West German Polydor's The Best Of ABBA. The album was the best selling album of 1976 in the UK, the second best selling album of the 1970s in the UK, and is the second-best selling album in the UK for ABBA,[2] staying in the charts for 130 weeks.[3] The album was certified Platinum in the US.[4] Its compilation successor was Greatest Hits Vol. 2, released in 1979, and this album was later referred to as "Greatest Hits Volume 1".[3]

The tracks, taken from ABBA’s first three studio albums, had all but one been single sides somewhere in the world. Despite the title of the compilation, only half of the tracks had actually charted as hit singles in major territories. One track, "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)," was never released as a single and thus was never certified a hit in any territory or country. "Waterloo," "SOS," "Mamma Mia" and, later, "Fernando" were Top 10 hits in the UK and several other countries, though only the first of these was a Top 10 hit in the US. Other arguable hits in multiple territories included "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (a Top 10 hit in several countries, a number one in Australia, and a Top 20 hit in the US, though barely cracking the Top 40 in the UK), "Honey Honey" (a Top 20 hit in several countries and a Top 30 hit in the US), "Hasta Mañana" (a Top 10 hit in South Africa and New Zealand and a Top 20 hit in Australia), and "So Long" (a Top 20 hit in Germany and a Top 10 hit in Sweden). Ironically, in Australia, where several of the tracks had reached Number One, the release of Greatest Hits was beaten to the market by the local compilation The Best Of ABBA, precluding a release there for years. Nevertheless, the official greatest hits package was an enormous success. Even Rolling Stone, often one of ABBA's harshest critics in the US, declared in the years shortly after its release, "Anyone who could listen to this record five times and not wind up humming half the songs is an android."

There are two versions of the sleeve, both versions of the sleeve featured a gatefold design. The bizarre cover painting on the original Swedish release was made by artist Hans Arnold. It was originally awarded as a prize from a magazine where ABBA were voted Artists Of The Year. The group liked it so much that they used it for the gatefold sleeve of the album. This original artwork was not used in all countries. A completely different design was used in the UK, North America and some other territories, featuring the group sitting in a park on a chilly autumn day. Benny and Frida are kissing, while Björn reads a technical paper and Agnetha looks rather forlorn straight into the camera. That image was printed on the inside of the gatefold on those versions featuring the Arnold painting as front cover.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, except where noted.

Side A[edit]

  1. "SOS" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:22
  2. "He Is Your Brother" – 3:17
  3. "Ring Ring" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus, N. Sedaka, P. Cody) – 3:03
  4. "Hasta Mañana" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:09
  5. "Nina, Pretty Ballerina" – 2:52
  6. "Honey, Honey" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 2:55
  7. "So Long" – 3:06

Side B[edit]

  1. "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:15
  2. "People Need Love" – 2:43
  3. "Bang-A-Boomerang" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:02
  4. "Another Town, Another Train" – 3:10
  5. "Mamma Mia" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:32
  6. "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)" – 3:05
  7. "Waterloo" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 2:42

(P) 1972 [2, 9] / (P) 1973 [3, 5, 11] / (P) 1974 [4, 6 - 7, 13 - 14] / (P) 1975 [1, 8, 10, 12] Polar Music International AB, Stockholm

Notes on track listing[edit]

The song "Fernando" was added to Greatest Hits when the LP was released in certain countries during the first few months of 1976. In Australia and New Zealand,' "Fernando" was released on the Arrival album.

Variations on the tracklisting exist. For instance, "Fernando" was added as the opening track on the 1976 re-release of the album in Norway and Denmark, whereas in the UK and elsewhere it was added as the closing track. In the USA, as noted below, "Hasta Mañana" was omitted and the other tracks were significantly rearranged.

In 2006 the album was re-released on CD to mark its 30th anniversary, in a miniature replica gatefold album sleeve. The design and tracklisting was based on the 1976 Norway/Denmark re-issue, featuring the Scandinavian artwork with the park bench photo on the inner gatefold and "Fernando" as the opening track.

The UK park bench artwork was designed by CBS/Epic in the UK, and was also used in North America. It was issued on CD in 1984 by Atlantic in the US but was later deleted. This version copied the original vinyl album cover but without the tracklisting on the front.

Track listing (US version)[edit]

All songs written and composed by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, except where noted.

Side A[edit]

  1. "SOS" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:22
  2. "He Is Your Brother" – 3:17
  3. "Ring, Ring" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus, N. Sedaka, P. Cody) – 3:03
  4. "Another Town, Another Train" – 3:10
  5. "Honey, Honey" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 2:55
  6. "So Long" – 3:06
  7. "Mamma Mia" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 2:54

Side B[edit]

  1. "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:15
  2. "People Need Love" – 2:43
  3. "Waterloo" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 2:42
  4. "Nina, Pretty Ballerina" – 2:52
  5. "Bang-A-Boomerang" (written by B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus) – 3:02
  6. "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)" – 3:05
  7. "Fernando" – 4:15

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1976 UK Album Chart 1[5]
Norway Album Chart 1
Belgium 2
Finland 3
Sweden 1
West Germany 2
Billboard 200 - United States 48
RPM albums - Canada 2
Japan 4
Rhodesia 1

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Fernando" UK Singles Chart 1
Norway's Singles Chart 2
Billboard Hot 100 - USA 13
Billboard Adult Contemporary - USA 1
Cashbox singles - USA 10
RPM singles - Canada 4
RPM Adult Contemporary - Canada 1
Steede Report airplay - Canada 2

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[6] 1× platinum 64,875[6]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Greatest Hits". Robert Christgau. 
  2. ^ http://www.bpi.co.uk/assets/files/top%2040%20albums.pdf
  3. ^ a b Scott, Robert (2002) 'ABBA: Thank You for the Music - The Stories Behind Every Song', Carlton Books Limited: Great Britain, p.72
  4. ^ Faltskog, Agnetha & Ahman, Brita (1997) 'As I Am: ABBA Before & Beyond', Virgin Publishing, p.79
  5. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
Preceded by
Rock Follies (Television soundtrack)
Stupidity by Dr. Feelgood
UK Albums Chart number one album
8 May 1976 - 3 July 1976
16 October 1976 - 23 October 1976
Succeeded by
A Night on the Town by Rod Stewart
Soul Motion by Various artists