Voulez-Vous (song)

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"Voulez-Vous"
Single by ABBA
from the album Voulez-Vous
Released 2 July 1979
Format Single
Recorded 1 February 1979 at Criteria Recording Studios, Miami, Florida, USA
Genre Disco,[1][2] europop[3]
Length 5:11 (Album version)
4:21 (Single version)
6:09 (Extended promo version)
Label Polar Music, Atlantic(12" single)
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Certification Silver (UK)
ABBA singles chronology
"Does Your Mother Know"
(1979)
"Voulez-Vous"
(1979)
"Angeleyes"
(1979)
Music video
"Voulez-Vous" on YouTube

"Voulez-Vous" ("do you want?" in French) is a disco track by Swedish pop group ABBA, written and composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (under the working title "Amerika"). Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad shared the lead vocals.

The song is the second track on the group's 1979 album of the same name. In the UK and Ireland, "Voulez-Vous" was released as a double A-side with "Angeleyes" ("Angeleyes" was the dominant A-side); nearly everywhere else, "Voulez-Vous" was a single A-side. The song also features on the Gold: Greatest Hits album, first as a 4:21 edited version when the compilation was first released in 1992 and then in its full 5:09 version from 1999 onwards. "Angeleyes" is featured on the More Gold: More Hits compilation. "Voulez-Vous" was re-released as a single in 1992 to promote Gold: Greatest Hits.

"Voulez-Vous" is also the only ABBA song to have been officially released as an extended dance remix – albeit only as a promo. The 6:07 version of the track, released as a double A-side 12" single by Atlantic Records in the United States in 1979, was included as a bonus track on the 2001 compilation The Definitive Collection.

A songwriting trip to the Bahamas saw the birth of this melody, and the proximity to Miami made it convenient to recording the backing track at Criteria Studios with members of the disco group Foxy. Criteria Studios is where The Bee Gees made their disco-era records. "Voulez-Vous" is the only ABBA song to be recorded outside of Sweden, not including live recordings.

Reception[edit]

Compared to ABBA's hits both before and after, "Voulez-Vous" was not a major hit for the group. It did top the charts in Belgium, while reaching the Top 5 in Great Britain, Ireland, France and The Netherlands. It peaked at No. 9 in South Africa, Spain and Switzerland, but failed to make the Top 10 anywhere else.

Tracklistings[4][edit]

12" Disco Single, 1979

7" Vinyl

12" Vinyl

1992 CD Re-Issue

  1. "Voulez Vous"
  2. "Summer Night City"

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report) 79
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 43
France (SNEP)[6] 5
Germany (Media Control Charts)[7] 14
Irish Singles Chart[8] 3
Japan (Oricon) 18
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 3
South African Chart 9
Spain (PROMUSICAE) 9
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 9
UK (Official Charts Company)[12] 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 80
Preceded by
"Theme From the Deer Hunter (Cavatina)" by The Shadows
Belgian VRT Top 30 Singles Chart number-one single
11 August 1979 – 25 August 1979
Succeeded by
"Quiéreme Mucho" by Julio Iglesias

Cover versions[edit]

  • ‘Voulez Vous’ [14] was released by the British (London based) electronic duo Big Bang in 1989 on Swanyard Records (SYRTR 1).[15] B-side ‘Cold Nights In Cairo’. It was produced by Big Bang and Steev Toth. Both 7” and 12” (extended) versions were released. Big Bang consisted of Laurence Malice (Trade nightclub founder) and Iain Williams (writer). The band used session vocalists on all their recordings. What is interesting about this version of 'Voulez Vous' is that the duo incorporated Arabic inspired music (written by Williams) within the song. This recording is probably the first and only time to date any recording artist has added additional music to an original Abba song. (In 2005 Madonna used only an Abba riff sample in her song 'Hung Up'.) Big Bang spearheaded a new musical term, Big Beat, a phrase coined by Iain Williams who explained the idea behind the concept in Metropolitan magazine (June 1989) in an interview with the French journalist Alex Gerry. Big Bang's musical style consisted of heavy hard rock drum beats and synthesizer-generated loops. The concept of the Big Beat sound was later picked up on and adapted by many club Dj's and went on to become widely used by many successful musicians throughout the 1990s such as Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers & The Prodigy. Vocals on 'Voulez Vous' are shared by Jasmine Ventura and Teresa Revill. Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor plays guitar on the track. The record became a dance chart hit and charted at No. 9 in the 1989 year-end UK club dance chart. In 1990 Big Bang represented the United Kingdom in the 13th International Song Festival held in Ireland with their self-penned song ‘Give Me One More Chance’ which came second.
  • "Voulez-Vous" topped the British charts again in 1992, when it was one of four ABBA songs covered on Erasure's EP Abba-esque.
  • Swedish pop group A-Teens recorded a version on their debut album The ABBA Generation.
  • Various eurodance/hi-NRG cover remixes by Abbacadabra were released in the late 1990s through British label Almighty Records. One of Abbacadabra versions was later included on the 1997 Dancemania compilation Covers, and some of them were most recently included on the 2008 compilation We Love ABBA: The Mamma Mia Dance Collection.
  • Dance versions of the song have been recorded by various artists including: Audio Science on the Lay All Your Love on ABBA tribute album; Euphorica (on the 2003 album ABBA Dance); and DJ Ensamble on the 2006 album Trancing Queen.[16]
  • The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus recorded a cover of the song for their 1997 album ExtrABBAganza!.
  • The British 1999 Abbamania album includes a cover by Culture Club. The subsequent ABBAMania 2 album features a rendition sung by British actress Julie Forsyth. Ska Band Madness also covered the song on the programme of the same name.
  • The German ABBA Mania compilation includes a cover of the song by Barbara Schöneberger.
  • A cover by Swedish thrash metal band Morgana Lefay was featured on the tribute album ABBAMetal (also released as A Tribute to ABBA).
  • Another metal version by Swedish band Time Requiem was a bonus track on the Japanese edition of their album The Inner Circle Of Reality.
  • Vietnamese-American singer Da Nhat Yen recorded a version with rap by Chosen One.
  • On the 2004 tribute album Abbalicious performed by various American drag queens, the song was covered by Sade Pendarvis.[17]
  • An electronica cover of the song by Transient can be found on the album The Electronic Tribute To ABBA.
  • Swedish musician Nils Landgren includes a cover of the song on his 2004 tribute album Funky Abba.
  • A cover of the song by Blue System can be found on the 2006 chill out music compilation ABBA Chill Out.
  • 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.
  • Australian rock band Audioscam covered the song on their 2008 album Abbattack. Samples from the album can be heard on their official MySpace page.[18]
  • Icelandic cult rock band HAM released a metal cover version which has become one of their landmark concert songs.
  • British ABBA heavy metal tribute group Abbatoir recorded a cover of the song. An audio sample can be found on their official MySpace page.[19]
  • The Latin boy band Menudo (from Puerto Rico) did a Spanish cover of this song for their own Chiquitita album. They also re-recorded it with their 1981 line up for the album Xanadu.
  • A metal band from Quebec called Minds covered the song in metal style on a disco/dance/pop tribute album called Disco Alterno.

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

  • "Voulez-Vous" is one of the numbers performed in the Mamma Mia! musical.
  • At the beginning of the "Despre tine" video by O-Zone, the people are listening to the song when the band (O-Zone) appears.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stewart Mason. "Voulez-Vous review on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 7 July 2013.  "a thumping great disco track" "one of the great pop/disco singles of the '70s. Unfortunately, the "disco sucks" backlash had already started by the summer of 1979, and "Voulez-Vous" didn't even hit the U.S. Top 40."
  2. ^ John Tobler (2012). Coda Books Ltd, ed. Abba - Uncensored on the Record.  "But of course when [ABBA] disco era came in, with songs like 'Gimme, Gimme, Gimme', 'Voulez Vous', and 'Summer Night City', they really made their mark in America."
  3. ^ "Euro-Pop songs". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 224. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – ABBA – Voulez-vous" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ "Voulez-vous in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "ABBA"
  7. ^ "ABBA – Voulez-vous". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment.
  8. ^ "Voulez-vous in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 31 May 2013.  Only one result when searching "Voulez-vous"
  9. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – ABBA search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ABBA – Voulez-vous" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. ^ "ABBA – Voulez-vous – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  12. ^ "1979 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 11th August 1979". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "ABBA awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Voulez Vous by Big Bang https://soundcloud.com/laurence-malice/voulez-vous
  15. ^ "Big Bang Voulez Vous? (The Imagine Mix) - Swanyard Records Ltd SYRTR 1 Vinyl (12") - UK 1989-Jan-01". Wax.fm. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  16. ^ "Reviews". Eurodancehits.com. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ Au. "Audioscam | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Profile.myspace.com. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  19. ^ UK. "ABBATOIR | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 

External links[edit]