|Single by ABBA|
|from the album Greatest Hits|
|Recorded||3 September 1975|
|ABBA singles chronology|
|Song by Anni-Frid Lyngstad|
|from the album Frida ensam|
|Released||10 November 1975|
"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in March 1976 through Polar Music. The track was featured on the 1976 compilation album Greatest Hits in most countries, but was included on the group's fourth studio album Arrival in Australia and New Zealand. "Fernando" is also featured on the multi-million selling Gold: Greatest Hits compilation. The song was to become one of ABBA's best-selling singles of all time, with six million copies sold in 1976 alone. It is one of fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling singles of all time.
"Fernando" was not originally released as an ABBA song but by band member Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It was featured on her No. 1 Swedish solo album Frida ensam (1975). The song was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and carried the working title of "Tango". Preparations for recording began in August 1975. The writers made last-minute changes to the title before recording. The suggestion of the name "Fernando" was given by their limousine driver Peter Forbes in Shepperton, England.
The original Swedish-language version's lyrics were written by ABBA's manager Stig Anderson and differ substantially from the English-language version. In the original, the narrator tries to console the heartbroken Fernando, who has lost his great love. "The sorrow can be hard to bear, but the fact that friends let us down is something we all have to cope with". The chorus' lyrics are: "Long live love, our best friend, Fernando. Raise your glass and propose a toast to it; to love, Fernando. Play the melody and sing a song of happiness. Long live love, Fernando".
The English version, with completely different lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, presents a vision of nostalgia for two veterans reminiscing in old age about a long ago battle in which they participated. "I wrote all the songs as little stories. "Fernando" was about two old freedom-fighters from the war between Texas and Mexico. I was lying outside one summer night, looking at the stars and it suddenly came to me". "I knew that the title 'Fernando' had to be there, and after pondering a while, I had this vivid image in my mind of two old and scarred revolutionaries in Mexico sitting outside at night talking about old memories".
The B-side to "Fernando" was the song "Hey, Hey, Helen", a track from the group's self-titled third studio album (1975), although in some countries "Tropical Loveland" (also from the album ABBA) was used instead. Some copies of the single use "Rock Me" or "Dance (While the Music Still Goes On)" as a B-side.
The title and rhythm of the song made it an obvious choice for inclusion on ABBA's Spanish album, Gracias Por La Música. The lyrics were translated into Spanish by Mary McCluskey and recorded at Polar Music Studio on 3 January 1980. The song was released as a promotional single in Spain. The lyrics, while adapted for rhythm and rhyme, carry the same sentiment and roughly the same meaning as the English version: "There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright, Fernando. They were shining there for you and me, for liberty, Fernando" becomes "Something was around us perhaps of clarity Fernando, that shone for us two in protection, Fernando" ("Algo había alrededor quizá de claridad Fernando, que brillaba por nosotros dos en protección, Fernando".)
"Fernando" was released in March 1976 and became one of ABBA's best-selling singles, topping the charts in at least 13 countries, and selling over 10 million copies worldwide. It was the longest-running No. 1 in Australian history (spending 14 weeks at the top and 40 weeks on the chart), and remained so for over 40 years, until it was surpassed by Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You", which achieved 15 weeks at No. 1 in May 2017. "Fernando" also reached the top of the charts in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. It was also a Top 5 hit in ABBA's native Sweden (although Lyngstad's version was No. 1 on Sweden's radio chart for nine weeks), Finland, Norway, Spain, Canada and Rhodesia.
The track became ABBA's fourth Top 20 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 13.  It also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, the first of two chart-toppers for ABBA on this chart (the second being "The Winner Takes It All"). The song remains an airplay staple on American radio stations specializing in the MOR, adult standards and easy listening formats.
"Fernando" was the fourth biggest single of 1976 in the UK. It spent 10 weeks in the UK Top 10 (more than any other ABBA single), and was also the second of three consecutive UK No. 1 singles for ABBA, after "Mamma Mia" and before "Dancing Queen".
In Portugal, the single sold 80,000 copies.
The song was also chosen as the "Best Studio Recording of 1975", ABBA's first international prize.
Charts and certifications
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Sales and certifications
American singer and actress Cher recorded Fernando as the third single from the soundtrack of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Her version was released on July 13, 2018, by Capitol and Polydor Records. Produced by Benny Andersson, the song debuted on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in July 2018 at number 22. Her cover version features background vocals by actor Andy García. Cher's solo version of the cover without background vocals by Andy García also appears on her 2018 ABBA tribute album Dancing Queen.
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||26|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||24|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||92|
|UK Singles Download Chart (Official Charts Company)||33|
|UK Singles Sales Chart (Official Charts Company)||33|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||22|
Other cover versions
- In the 1980s, Dominican Ramón Orlando rewrote the lyrics to "Fernando" as "Si tú crees que no te amo" ("If you think I don't love you").
- In 1976, Swedish singer Lena Andersson recorded a German language version of this song. Andersson was also signed to the Polar label and could use the original Anni-Frid Lyngstad/ABBA backing track produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The German version contains a two bar long instrumental passage after the first chorus that was edited out from both the Swedish and the English-language versions.
- In 1976, Paraguayan/Brazilian camp singer Perla covered "Fernando" on her album "Palabras de amor". Perla also covered ABBA's "Chiquitita" on her 1979 album.
- In 1976, French Canadian singer René Simard recorded a French version of this song.
- In 1976, Czech singer Věra Špinarová recorded a Czech version.
- The Swedish singer Lotta Engberg recorded a cover version of the Swedish version in 1997.
- The Swedish dansband Vikingarna also recorded a Swedish cover.
- American actress/singer Audrey Landers recorded a cover of the song.
- U.S. musician/songwriter Pamela McNeill included a rendition of the song on her Tribute To ABBA album. Her husband, Dugan McNeill, helped produce the album.
- German eurodance group E-Rotic covered the song on their album Thank You for the Music.
- The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus recorded a cover of the song for their 1997 album ExtrABBAganza!.
- New York jazz band Sex Mob covered the song for their 2000 album Solid Sender.
- Danish rock/pop duo Olsen Brothers recorded a cover for their 2003 album More Songs.
- The 2004 album ABBAMania 2 featured a cover by British TV actress Jane Danson.
- The German ABBA Mania compilation includes a cover of the song by Barbara Schöneberger and German comedian Dirk Bach.
- A cover by Hong Kong-New Zealand singer Wing appeared on her 2005 album Dancing Queen by Wing, and in the South Park episode "Wing".
- A cover of the song by Velvet Set 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.
- Deborah Sasson (de) recorded "Fernando" for her 2012 album Deborah Sasson.
- Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby included a cover on their 2010 album, Two-Way Family Favourites, with Amy Rigby singing vocals.
- The von Trapps recorded a Swedish language version with Pink Martini, which appears on their 2014 album Dream a Little Dream.
Appearances in other media
- ABBA perform parts of the song live in the film ABBA: The Movie (1977).
- The ABBA recording was featured in the films The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1993) and Muriel's Wedding (1994).
- In 1976, the song was adapted, and performed by ABBA in this version, for use in a series of five television commercials promoting the National brand, used by the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
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- NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATION.
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