Dancing Queen

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For other uses, see Dancing Queen (disambiguation).
"Dancing Queen"
Single by ABBA
from the album Arrival
B-side "That's Me"
Released August 1976
Format 7" single
Recorded 4–5 August 1975 at Glen Studio
Length 3:50
  • Benny Andersson
  • Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Rock Me"
"Dancing Queen"
"Money, Money, Money"
"Dancing Queen"
Single by ABBA
from the album Gold: Greatest Hits
B-side "Lay All Your Love on Me"
Released August 24, 1992
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single
ABBA singles chronology
"Thank You for the Music"
"Dancing Queen"
"Happy New Year"

"Dancing Queen" or sometimes "Dancing King" is a song by the Swedish group ABBA, and the lead single from their fourth studio album, Arrival. Written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson, and produced by the first two. It was released as a single in Sweden on 16 August 1976, with Britain and the rest of Europe just a few days later.[1] It quickly became a monumental worldwide hit, receiving extensive radio airplay and popularity at nightclubs.[1] It became ABBA's only number one hit in the United States, also topping the charts in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, West Germany and Zimbabwe, and reaching the Top 5 in many countries.[2][3]

Musically, "Dancing Queen" is an europop version of American disco music.[3] As disco music dominated the US charts, the group decided to follow the trend, replicating the "Wall of Sound".[3] The song alternates between "languid yet seductive verses" and a "dramatic chorus that ascends to heart-tugging high notes."[4] It features keyboard lines by Andersson, which accentuate the melody's sophistication and classical complexity, while Ulvaeus and Andersson interlace many instrumental hooks in and out of the mix.[4] Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog's layered vocals have been noted for their dynamism,[3] "[negotiating] the melody's many turns flawlessly."[4] Lyrically, the song concerns a visit to the discotheque, but approaches the subject from the joy of dancing itself, thus having a greater emotional content than many disco songs.[4]

Widely regarded as one of the greatest pop songs of all time,[5] "Dancing Queen" is considered ABBA's most enduringly popular song.[1] According to Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic, the track's "sincerity and sheer musicality have allowed it to outlast the disco boom and become a standard of dance-pop."[4] The song's release also cemented ABBA as an international act and signified the beginning of the group's 'classic period', which would encompass the following four years.[1] Still a favorite at dance clubs today, it has become a standard for dance divas like Carol Douglas and Kylie Minogue,[4] and has been covered numerous times by acts including the Sex Pistols and U2. Since its release, it has been adopted by the homosexual community,[1] and remains one of the most ubiquitous "gay anthems".[6]


The recording sessions for "Dancing Queen" began on 4 August 1975. The demo was called "Boogaloo" and as the sessions progressed, Andersson and Ulvaeus found inspiration to the dance rhythm in George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby", as well as the drumming on Dr. John's 1972 album Dr. John's Gumbo. The main melodic riff echoes 'Sing My Way Home' by Delaney & Bonnie (from Motel Shot, 1971). Fältskog and Lyngstad recorded the vocals on sessions in September 1975, and the track was completed three months later.

During the sessions, Benny Andersson brought a tape home with the backing track on it and played it to Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who apparently started crying when listening: "I found the song so beautiful. It's one of those songs that goes straight to your heart." Agnetha Fältskog later said: "It's often difficult to know what will be a hit. The exception was 'Dancing Queen'. We all knew it was going to be massive".[citation needed] Benny Andersson agreed, calling it "one of those songs where you know during the sessions that it's going to be a smash hit".[citation needed]

While working on the lyrics, half of the second verse was scrapped: "Baby, baby, you're out of sight/hey, you're looking all right tonight/when you come to the party/listen to the guys/they've got the look in their eyes...". It survives in footage from a recording session.[7]

After having been premiered on German and Japanese TV during the spring of 1976, "Dancing Queen" saw its first live and domestic performance, televised on Swedish TV on 18 June 1976, during an all-star gala staged by Kjerstin Dellert at the Royal Swedish Opera[8] in honour of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his bride to be, Silvia Sommerlath, who were to be married the next day.[9][10]

For their 1980 Spanish language album/compilation "Gracias Por La Música", ABBA recorded a Spanish version of "Dancing Queen", renamed "Reina Danzante", with Spanish lyrics provided by Buddy and Mary McCluskey. The track was later retitled "La Reina Del Baile" when included on the later compilation album ABBA Oro: Grandes Éxitos in the 1990s.

In 1993, in honor of Swedish Queen Silvia´s 50th birthday, Anni-Frid Lyngstad was asked to perform "Dancing Queen" on stage, repeating ABBA's 1976 performance of the song at the wedding reception of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Frida contacted The Real Group and together they did an a cappella version of the song on stage at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, in front of the king and queen. The Swedish Prime Minister at the time, Ingvar Carlsson, was also in the audience that night and said it was an ingenious idea to perform "Dancing Queen" a cappella. This performance with Lyngstad and The Real Group was filmed by Swedish Television SVT and is included in Frida – The DVD.

For the 1994 Australian film Muriel's Wedding songwriters Ulvaeus and Andersson allowed the use of “Dancing Queen” and other ABBA hits for its soundtrack. It was one of the ABBA songs included in Mamma Mia! the West End musical that was first produced in 1999 and which was later adapted into a movie in 2008.

The first International Standard Musical Work Code was assigned in 1995 to "Dancing Queen"; the code is T-000.000.001-0.


"Dancing Queen" became a massive worldwide hit, topping the charts in more than a dozen countries including ABBA's native Sweden (where it spent 14 weeks at the top),[11] Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom,[12] Ireland, Mexico,[citation needed] the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway (where it charted for 32 weeks (VG-lista Top 10), making it the 11th best-performing single of all time in that country),[13] South Africa and Rhodesia. "Dancing Queen" also topped the charts in the United States, ABBA's only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100,[14] and was a Top 5 hit in Austria, Finland, France and Switzerland. The song sold over three million copies.[15]

In the UK Singles Chart, "Dancing Queen" was the last of three consecutive No. 1s for ABBA in 1976, following "Mamma Mia" and "Fernando" earlier in the year.[12]

In 1992, the song was re-released in the UK, as Erasure sparked an ABBA revival after the success of their Abba-esque EP topping the UK charts. The re-issued "Dancing Queen" reached #16 in the UK in September 1992.

In 2000, "Dancing Queen" came fourth in a Channel 4 television poll of "The 100 Best Number Ones". It was chosen as #148 as part of the 365 Songs of the Century list. It is also ranked #174 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,[16] the only ABBA song on the list. That same year, it made VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs in Rock & Roll at #97. Also in 2000, editors of The Rolling Stone with MTV compiled a list of the best 100 pop songs. "Dancing Queen" was the 12th highest placed song from the 1970s.[17]

On 9 November 2002, the results of a poll, "Top 50 Favourite UK #1's", was broadcast on Radio 2, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Official UK Charts Company. 188,357 listeners voted and "Dancing Queen" came out at #8. On 5 December 2010, Britain's ITV broadcast the results of a poll to determine "The Nation's Favourite ABBA Song", in which "Dancing Queen" was placed at #2.

On 19th August 2005, the song was featured on a music player turned on by Boabby the Barman in The Clansman pub in Series 4 Episode 5 ('Hatch') of the Scottish Sitcom Still Game.

In 2009, the British performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited celebrated its 75th anniversary by listing the 75 songs that have played most in Great Britain on the radio, in clubs and on jukeboxes. "Dancing Queen" was number eight on the list.[18]

Former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain named "Dancing Queen" as his favorite song in a top 10 list submitted to Blender Magazine in August 2008.[19] Also in August 2008, "Dancing Queen" surpassed the 500,000 mark for digital sales in the United States (512,000).[citation needed]

In August 2012 listeners to the 1970s-themed UK radio station "Smooth 70s" voted "Dancing Queen" as their favourite hit from the decade.[20]

In October 2014 the musical instrument insurer Musicguard carried out a survey determining "Dancing Queen" to be the United Kingdom's favourite "floorfiller". Contrary to its closest competitors, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (#2) and "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles (#3), it turned out be very popular throughout the nation whereas the other two were strong regional favourites.[21][22]

In March 2015, "Dancing Queen" became the five thousandth song in "The Chain" on the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC 6Music. The Chain is officially the longest listener-generated thematically linked sequence of musically based items on the radio.

The song was parodied in the Gravity Falls episode "Dipper vs Manliness", which features the song "Disco Girl," by a fictional Icelandic pop group named "Babba".

Track listings[edit]

[23] 7" Vinyl

1992 CD Re-issue

  1. "Dancing Queen"
  2. "Lay All Your Love On Me"

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Moviestar" by Harpo
Swedish Singles Chart number-one single
24 August 1976 – 23 November 1976 (fourteen weeks)
Succeeded by
"Daddy Cool" by Boney M.
Preceded by
"Kiss and Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
4 September 1976 – 2 October 1976 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mon Amour" by BZN
Preceded by
"Nice and Slow" by Jesse Green
Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single (first run)
4 September 1976 – 9 October 1976 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"In Zaire" by Johnny Wakelin
Preceded by
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single
4 September 1976 – 6 November 1976 (ten weeks)
Succeeded by
"Daddy Cool" by Boney M
UK Singles Chart number-one single
4 September 1976 – 9 October 1976 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mississippi" by Pussycat
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
6 September 1976 – 25 October 1976 (eight weeks)
Succeeded by
"Let's Stick Together" by Bryan Ferry
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
10 September 1976 – 15 October 1976 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mississippi" by Pussycat
Preceded by
"Moviestar" by Harpo
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart number-one single
6 September 1976 – 22 November 1976 (twelve weeks)
Preceded by
"Daddy Cool" by Boney M.
German Singles Chart number-one single
17 September 1976 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Daddy Cool" by Boney M.
Preceded by
"In Zaire" by Johnny Wakelin
Belgian Flemish VRT Top 30 number-one single (second run)
23 October 1976 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Mon Amour" by BZN
Preceded by
"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" by Barbra Streisand
Canadian RPM Singles Chart number-one single
2 April 1977 – 9 April 1977 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Things We Do for Love" by 10cc
Preceded by
"Rich Girl" by Daryl Hall and John Oates
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
9 April 1977 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Don't Give Up on Us" by David Soul
Preceded by
"She'd Rather Be With Me" by Pat McGlynn
Japanese Oricon International Weekly Singles Chart number-one single
8 August 1977 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Hotel California" by The Eagles

Cover versions[edit]

A-Teens version[edit]

"Dancing Queen"
Single by A-Teens
from the album The ABBA Generation
Released 7 March 2000
Format CD single
12" vinyl
Recorded 1999
Genre Pop, Europop
Length 3:52 (Album Version)
3:20 (UK Radio Edit)
Label Universal Music Group
Writer(s) B. Andersson, S. Anderson, B. Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Ole Evenrude
A-Teens singles chronology
"Take a Chance on Me"
"Dancing Queen"
"Upside Down"

"Dancing Queen" was A-Teens' fourth and final single from their first album The ABBA Generation.

When the single came out in the spring of 2000, it peaked at number one in Mexico, becoming their first number one hit in that country. The song was also a smash hit in South America peaking at number three in Argentina, number five in Chile, number six in Colombia and number fifteen in Brazil.

This was the main single for the United States promotion, when the album was released in March 2000. "Dancing Queen" reached ninety-five on the Billboard Hot 100, thirty-six on Airplay and number thirteen on the Hot Single Sales Chart.[38][39]

"Dancing Queen" was released as a double A-side with "The Name of the Game" in Europe, where both the songs were promoted on radio at the same time, because Universal Music Group thought that "Dancing Queen", being the last single, needed a back-up to be successful. The video for "The Name of the Game" was an unofficial video, made especially for an A-Teens TV special in Sweden and it was never intended to be a promotional video. It was only aired by Channel 4.

Music video[edit]

Directed by Patrick Kiely, it was the first A-Teens video to be filmed in the United States. It was filmed on 7 March 2000, the same day the song was released. The video was a tribute to the movie The Breakfast Club. Paul Gleason (now deceased), the actor who played the principal in the movie, plays the same role in the video. When the principal leaves the members of the band (and many extras to serve as background dancers) alone in the detention room (which was actually the library), the school turns into a '70s discotheque. Part of the video also takes place in the dining area outside the school building. Towards the end of the video, the scene returns to normal as detention ends and everyone leaves.


European 2-Track CD single

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "The Name of the Game" – 4:17

European/Mexican CD maxi

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [Pierre J's Main Radio Mix] – 3:27
  3. "Dancing Queen" [Pierre J's Main Extended Mix] – 5:47
  4. "Dancing Queen" [BTS Gold Edition Mix] – 5:13

U.S. CD single

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [extended version] – 5:48

U.S. cassette

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [extended version] – 5:48

Other artists who have recorded covers of the song[edit]

Notable musicians who have performed the song live[edit]


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  2. ^ Mansour, David (June 1, 2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 978-0740751189. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Creswell, Toby (2005). 1001 Songs. Hardie Grant Books. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-74066-458-5. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Guarisco, Donald A. "Dancing Queen - ABBA". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Dancing Queen". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
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  8. ^ Dagens Nyheter 1976-06-19
  9. ^ [1] Archived 15 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Video of the performance on YouTube. Retrieved 6 December 2010
  11. ^ "Sweden". Home.zipworld.com.au. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  12. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 330–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ "BEST OF ALL TIME – SINGLES". VG-lista. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "United States of America". Home.zipworld.com.au. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  15. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 85. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  16. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 July 2008. 
  17. ^ "The Pop 100: The Seventies". Superseventies.com. 1976-06-18. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  18. ^ [2] Archived 6 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "White House DJ Battle". Blender Magazine. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  20. ^ "Smooth Radio presenters head to Smooth 70s". Radio Today. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Boogying Britain: Abba's Dancing Queen voted favourite floorfiller - what else was in top 10?. Mirror, 2014-10-30
  22. ^ Abba's 'Dancing Queen' voted Britain's best 'floorfiller'. Business Standard, 2014-11-02
  23. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 124-125. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  24. ^ "Kent Music Report National Top 100 Singles, No 120". Kent Music Report. 11 October 1976. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Billboard – Google Books. Books.google.ca. 1976-10-09. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  26. ^ Faltskog, Agnetha & Ahman, Brita (1997) 'As I Am: ABBA Before & Beyond', Virgin Publishing, p.65
  27. ^ Downey, Pat; Albert, George; Hoffmann, Frank W (1994). Cash Box pop singles charts, 1950–1993. Libraries Unlimited. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-56308-316-7. 
  28. ^ http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1976.shtml
  29. ^ https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.5502a&type=1&interval=50&PHPSESSID=fdn5oqnr5k6sg5pu2qiktsudt4
  30. ^ http://www.musicoutfitters.com/topsongs/1977.htm
  31. ^
  32. ^ "List of best-selling international singles in Japan". JP&KIYO. 2002. 
  33. ^ "British single certifications – ABBA – Dancing Queen". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Dancing Queen in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  34. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "American single certifications – ABBA – Dancing Queen". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 6 July 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  36. ^ "American single certifications – Abba". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
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  38. ^ "Official home and community – Upside Down charts". A-Teens.Com. 2001-01-04. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  39. ^ [3][dead link]
  40. ^ "Abbacadabra – Dancing Queen – Almighty Records". Almightyrecords.com. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  41. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 209. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  42. ^ [4][dead link]
  43. ^ Davage, I., letter from the MCPS to The JAMs, reproduced in "The KLF 1987 Completeist List" [sic], an insert to Who Killed The JAMs?, KLF Communications JAMS LP2, 1988.
  44. ^ News item, Sounds, 12 September 1987.

External links[edit]