Ace of Base was influenced by Kayo's "Another Mother" to create "All That She Wants".
While their predecessor single, "Wheel of Fortune", was a modest success, "All That She Wants," led Ace of Base to take off internationally. After hearing Swedish top 20 hit "Another Mother" by Kayo, the band decided that was exactly the sound they wanted to create. A demo version of "All That She Wants", titled "Mr. Ace", was produced in 1991 and featured different lyrics and rap vocals.
The song was initially in major key, but was changed to minor upon Linn Berggren's insistence. Jonas and Ulf contacted the producer of "Another Mother", Denniz PoP, and sent him this demo. The tape got stuck in the cassette tape player in his car, so he listened to it over and over again, which helped him decide to help produce the track.
Denniz introduced many changes to the song. Denniz was not fond of the rap vocals on the original demo, and these were subsequently replaced with short spoken word sections. A new second verse was also added. Though vocals were recorded by all four members for this version, Jenny's vocals were eventually cut on the final release. Denniz would go on to co-produce all officially released versions of the song that were available at the time, notably a more uptempo version of the song, dubbed the "Madness Version".
This version features entirely different vocals and more spoken-word sections. Ace of Base would later collaborate with Denniz Pop on "The Sign" and multiple tracks on the band's sophomore release, The Bridge.
"All That She Wants" is a dark fusion of dub-reggae with pop which became the band's trademark sound. On release in October 1992, it quickly climbed to number one on the Danish chart while the previous single was still sitting at number two. Keen to rush out an album for the Christmas market, Mega Records pressed the band for an album and it was hastily recorded, mixed, and released within a few weeks.
"All That She Wants" reached the number one position in ten countries and peaked at top three positions in most other places where it was released. It was released as the band's first single from The Sign in the United States, where it peaked at number two and was certified platinum. The song was a very successful radio hit in the United States, sustaining the number one position on the US BillboardTop 40 Mainstream chart for nine consecutive weeks.
"All That She Wants" was listed at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts and at number 70 on the 1990s decade-end charts. In Germany, the song was the best-selling single of 1993.
A music video directed by Matt Broadley was produced to promote the single. The video had a very low budget, and was filmed in one day with only two takes. The music video was meant to serve as an explanation for the song. It depicts the band members performing in a cramped apartment, interlaced with shots of a woman getting ready to go out. The video has a brown monochromatic filter.
Swedish band Grass Show covered the song on their 1997 debut album Something Smells Good In Stinkville.
American popstar Britney Spears recorded a demo version of the song using lyrics from the chorus for her 2007 album Blackout but it failed to make the final cut for the album. The demo leaked onto the internet in January 2008.
The 2008, Holly Ray and Sean Kingston track Off The Meter sampled the signature whistling rhythm from the song.
Wizo, a German punk band, have covered this song (in English).
Breakcore producer Shitmat sampled part of this song on his Killababylonkutz album, on the track Ace of Base Babylon.
The Italian girlband Lucky Star covered the song for their first album LS3 released in 2006.
British rock band The Kooks covered this song as part of the Radio 1 Established 1967 compilation CD, a CD to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio 1. 40 modern day music artists covered a single from the past 40 years of Radio 1's charts, and The Kooks ended up with this song.
ReinXeed, a Swedish symphonic metal/power metal band, released a version of this song as a part of their 2011 compilation album titled Swedish Hitz Goes Metal.
In 2014, Nana Vespertine covered "All That She Wants" in a vintage jazzy style.
In 2014, the song was covered by the German electropop duo Eleven's 2.
^Larkin, Colin (2010). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Volume 1. Guinness Publishing. p. 51. ISBN978-1-5615-9176-3. When Ace of Base scored a massive worldwide number 1 in 1993 with 'All That She Wants', the comparisons to fellow Swedish group, Abba, seemed obvious: Two female vocalists, one blonde, one brunette, and two male musicians, playing catchy dance pop.