Under Attack

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This article is about the ABBA song. For the Casualties album, see Under Attack (album).
"Under Attack"
Single by ABBA
from the album The Singles: The First Ten Years
B-side "You Owe Me One"
Released 3 December 1982 (UK)
21 February 1983 (Worldwide)
Format 7" single
Recorded 2 – 4 August 1982
at Polar Music Studios
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:45
Label Polar Music, Epic, Atlantic
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"The Day Before You Came"
(1982)
"Under Attack"
(1982)
"Thank You for the Music"
(1983)
Music video
"Under Attack" on YouTube

"Under Attack" is the last widely released single by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured as a track on the 1982 compilation album The Singles: The First Ten Years, but was released as a single the following year in most countries. However, in the United Kingdom it was released on 3 December 1982. "Under Attack" was ABBA's 28th single for Polar Music.

Background[edit]

Recording for "Under Attack" began between 2 and 4 August 1982 at Polar Music Studios, Stockholm.[1] The group had originally intended to release a new studio album, but the stress of the working environment led them to indefinitely shelve the project and instead release a double-album compilation of their past singles. Since it was decided that there would be two new tracks on the compilation, ABBA set to work recording the songs. The two tracks that made it onto what became The Singles: The First Ten Years were "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack". The former was released as a single in October 1982. "Under Attack" contains fragments from two unreleased ABBA songs: "Just Like That" and "Rubber Ball Man", also known as "Under My Sun".

On 11 December 1982, ABBA performed "Under Attack" on the BBC's Late Late Breakfast Show, in what was their last collective performance.[2][3]

Music video[edit]

A music video for "Under Attack" was filmed on 16 November 1982.[2] Filmed in an empty warehouse, the video involves ABBA navigating their way through a room filled with red beacon lights. The video ends with the four members walking away in the distance, their backs to the camera.

Reception[edit]

"Under Attack" was not a commercial success upon its release. ABBA's popularity was in decline and the two preceding singles ("Head over Heels" and "The Day Before You Came") had failed to reach No. 1 anywhere. Although a Top 5 hit in Belgium and the Netherlands,[2] and a minor Top 20 single in a couple of other European territories, it did not become a major hit anywhere else. It peaked at No. 26 in the United Kingdom.[4] In Australia, where the group's popularity only a few years earlier had rivaled that of The Beatles, "Under Attack" was a sad swan-song, only reaching No. 96 in the singles chart. After the single's release, it was decided that ABBA would take a "break"; however, they would not record as a group again and later disbanded.[5]

Musically, "Under Attack" is a song with strong production values and tight harmonies – it has a stereo sound that was popular in its day with a "soft fade" to end the song. The lead vocal has an interesting frequency equalization effect, not unlike certain parts of David McWilliams's "The Days of Pearly Spencer". Despite not being a commercial success, Rolling Stone magazine described the song as "the best thing they've done in three years."[6]

"Under Attack" is featured in the musical theatre production Mamma Mia!.[7]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1982)/(1983) Position
Australian Singles Chart 96
Belgian Singles Chart 2[8]
British Singles Chart 26
Dutch Singles Chart 5
Finnish Singles Chart 16
French Singles Chart 43
German Singles Chart 22
Irish Singles Chart 11[9]
Polish Singles Chart 11
Swiss Singles Chart 15

Cover versions[edit]

  • The song is one of the opening numbers performed by the character of Sophie for the second act of the musical Mamma Mia!. In the context of the musical, the song is sung by Sophie as a nightmare about her wedding and also, about how to solve the situation. Again, some of the lyrics are altered to suit the story. However, the song was one of several not included in the 2008 movie adaptation nor its soundtrack.
  • A cover of the song can be found on the ABBA tribute album ABBA Super Hits by Power Generation Project.
  • Dutch artist Ice recorded a version on her 2004 album N Ster Vir My.
  • A hi-NRG/eurodance cover by Abbacadabra can be found on the 2008 compilation We Love ABBA: The Mamma Mia Dance Compilation, released through Almighty Records. An audio sample can be heard on the official Almighty Records website.[10]

Live performances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Recording sessions. Abba Annual.
  2. ^ a b c Palm, Carl Magnus (2002). Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story of Abba. Omnibus Press. p. 459.
  3. ^ Under Attack (ABBA) – from "The Late, Late Breakfast Show". Youtube.
  4. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Crampton, Luke (1991). Rock movers & shakers. ABC-CLIO. p. 20.
  5. ^ ABBA biography. MTV.
  6. ^ Connelly, Christopher (3 February 1983). Album Reviews – ABBA. Rolling Stone.
  7. ^ Adcock, Joe (13 June 2003). 'Mamma Mia!' features ABBA tunes and a wedding plot. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  8. ^ http://www.ultratop.be/nl/song/1b21/ABBA-Under-Attack
  9. ^ http://irishcharts.ie/search/placement?page=2
  10. ^ Abbacadabra. Almighty Records.
  11. ^ Magnus Carlsson – Under Attack. Youtube.

External links[edit]