|Single by ABBA|
|from the album Voulez-Vous|
|Released||16 January 1979|
|Recorded||13 December 1978|
|Studio||Polar, Stockholm, Sweden|
|ABBA singles chronology|
"Chiquitita" (a Spanish term of endearment for a woman meaning "little one") is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in January 1979 as the first single from the group's seventh album, Voulez-Vous (1979). Agnetha Fältskog performs the lead vocals. Originally, the track "If It Wasn't for the Nights" was going to be the album's lead single, but after "Chiquitita" was completed those plans were abandoned, and it would remain an album track.
Background and release
Many preliminary versions of "Chiquitita" exist. It had working titles of "Kålsupare", "3 Wise Guys", "Chiquitita Angelina" and "In The Arms of Rosalita". A revised version, which had a sound that was influenced by the Peruvian song "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" performed by Simon and Garfunkel, was recorded in December 1978 and released as a single in January 1979.
"Chiquitita" proved to be one of ABBA's biggest hits. It was featured in a 1979 UNICEF charity event, the Music for UNICEF Concert, broadcast worldwide from the United Nations General Assembly. As a direct result of this event, ABBA donated half of all royalties from the song to UNICEF. "Chiquitita" hit No. 1 in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, South Africa and Rhodesia, and was a Top 5 hit in ABBA's native Sweden, the United Kingdom (peaking at No. 2 in both countries where Blondie's "Heart of Glass" was occupying the top spot), Australia, West Germany and Norway, making it the most successful single from the Voulez-Vous album in terms of global charts and one of the most famous charity songs ever. To this day, 50% of the proceeds from the song go to UNICEF in recognition of the "International Year of the Child" in 1979. In 2014, all ABBA members agreed on donating 100% of the royalties from the song to UNICEF. As of 2021, the song's royalties have raised $4.8 million for the charity.
In the United Kingdom, "Chiquitita" debuted at No. 8 in the singles chart, making it the highest place début for any ABBA single release.
In Argentina, sales figures up to the end of July 1979 on the single show 500,000 in the Spanish edition, and 25,000 in the original English language format.
As of September 2021, it is ABBA's ninth-biggest song in the UK including both pure sales and digital streams.
"Chiquitita" was one of the very few singles ABBA released without a custom-made video. Since then, on compilations of the group's videos, a contemporary TV performance of the song has been used, recorded in March/April 1979, quite some time after the single's release. This clip was taped by the BBC during recording of the show ABBA in Switzerland, broadcast across Europe at Easter 1979, although this clip did not feature in the broadcast, being intended for a Christmas programme. ABBA are seen performing the song on a mountainside, with a snowman in the background. Throughout the clip, the bad weather and bad light caused problems during filming, which affected Anni-Frid Lyngstad; her hair constantly flew in her face, and she was forced to keep moving it out of her eyes, so it was not used. During the location shoot in Leysin, the BBC recorded two further versions of the group lip-synching to the song. The group performed the song inside the BBC Big Top used to host 'ABBA in Switzerland' which was included in the final broadcast and a second video was shot of the group sitting around a table in a cafe, for the show Christmas Snowtime Special shown on BBC1 on 23 December 1979, hosted by Dame Edna Everage. The clip of the group filmed outside with the snowman was originally intended for this Christmas show, but producer/director Michael Hurll recorded the second clip as he was not happy with the first. In March 2022, a newer music video version was released.
- Agnetha Fältskog – lead vocals
- Anni-Frid Lyngstad – backing vocals
- Björn Ulvaeus – guitar
- Benny Andersson – keyboards
Certifications and sales
SOS / Chiquitita
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
|Single by Cher|
|Released||8 May 2020|
|Cher singles chronology|
On May 8, 2020, American singer-actress Cher announced she had re-recorded Chiquitita in Spanish with all proceeds going to UNICEF, similar to how ABBA had done in 1979 with the release of the same song.
Cher's Spanish version of "Chiquitita" became her first song to chart on a US Latin Chart ever. It charted at No. 6 on the US Latin Digital Song Sales (Billboard).
An accompanying music video for "Chiquitita" was premiered on UNICEF's website on 9 May 2020, uploaded to Cher's official YouTube channel shortly afterwards. Cher shot her part at home, with the final cut of the video featuring children from around the world in it.
Track listings and formats
- "Chiquitita (Spanish Version)" – 4:49
- "Chiquitita" – 5:14
Credits and personnel
- Published by Universal Songs of PolyGramInt., Inc. (ASCAP) and EMI Grove Park Music Inc. (BMI)
- Recorded by Mark Taylor and Paul Meehan at Metrophonic Studios, London
- Mixed at by Matt Furmidge and Mark Taylor at Metrophonic Studios, London
- Mastered by Sthephen Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood, CA
- Cher – primary vocals
- Ash Soan – drums
- Adam Phillips – guitars
- Hayley Sanderson – backing vocals
- Andy Caine – backing vocals
|US Latin Digital Song Sales (Billboard)||6|
A Spanish various version of Chiquitita were recorded by Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. One version was along singer Ednita Nazario.
- A Spanglish version of Chiquitita was recorded by Spanish singer Charo for her 1981 studio album Bailando con Charo.
- A Spanish version of Chiquitita released as a single by Amaia Montero in 2010 became a number one in the Spanish charts.
- A euro-reggae version was included on the Abba cover album "Thank You For The Music" by eurodance act E-Rotic in 1997.
- This song also great success as a cover in Spanish by Mexican 80s pop girls group Pandora.
- A French version of the song was released by Nana Mouskouri in 1984
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- "Japanese single certifications – ABBA – Chiquitita" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 6 May 2020. Select 2001年2月 on the drop-down menu
- "Dutch single certifications – ABBA – Chiquitita" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 19 November 2019. Enter Chiquitita in the "Artiest of titel" box.
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- "Dancing Queen - Cher | Credits". AllMusic.
- "Cher's Billboard Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
- chart discography Spain (until 2013) / official charts