The Visitors (song)
|Single by ABBA|
|from the album The Visitors|
|B-side||"Head over Heels"|
|Recorded||22 October 1981
at Polar Music Studios
|Genre||Electronic music, Art rock|
|ABBA singles chronology|
"The Visitors", originally "Den första" (meaning "The First"), was the final single release from Swedish pop group ABBA's studio album of the same name, released in the United States in 1982. The lead vocal was sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad and its mix of psychedelic, Indian-flavoured verse melody and 1980s synth rock in the chorus, was an unusual and intriguing step for ABBA.
The official stated theme is a protest against the mistreatment of political dissidents in the Soviet Union at the time, as ABBA seemed to input political issues into their lyrics in the final days of the group. That said, Björn deliberately made the lyrics obscure enough to be open to other interpretations.
In 1982, the album The Visitors was banned in the Soviet Union, presumably due to the band allowing a video of When All Is Said And Done to be shown in the United States Information Agency television special, Let Poland Be Poland, broadcast via satellite around the world on 31 January 1982. The show, which also featured Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, was a public protest against the then-recent imposition of martial law in Poland.
"The Visitors" was released as the album's second (and final) single in the US instead of "Head Over Heels," which remained as the b-side.
The single peaked just outside of the Top 60 at No. 63 on the singles chart in the U.S., and a double A-sided "The Visitors" / "When All Is Said and Done" 12" single reached No. 8 on the Billboard dance chart. The song was also remixed by Disconet into an almost eight minute version attaining additional club play. AllMusic reviewer Bruce Eder describes the song as "a topical song about Soviet dissidents that also manages to be very catchy." The song did not have any success in any other countries.
- A Hi-NRG cover version of the song was released as a single by a group called Moonstone in the late 1980s.
- Abbacadabra released several dance cover remixes of the song under Almighty Records during the late 1990s. Various remixes can be found on the 2008 compilation We Love ABBA: The Mamma Mia Dance Compilation. Audio samples can be heard on the official Almighty Records website.
- British group the Television Personalities included a cover of the song on their 2006 album And They All Lived Happily Ever After.
- abba for the record – vinyl singles
- Time Magazine article "Better to Let Poland Be?"
- Billboard chart positions AllMusic.com. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
- The Visitors album review AllMusic.com. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
- "Abbacadabra | The Visitors". Almighty Records.com. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
- "Damaged Goods Records: Television Personalities". Damagedgoods.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
- "The Visitors" / "When All Is Said and Done" U.S. 12" release info Discogs
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics