Fernando (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ABBA - Fernando.png
Artwork for most releases (Scandinavian release pictured)
Single by ABBA
from the album Greatest Hits
  • "Tropical Loveland"

"Hey Hey Helen" (UK)

  • "Rock Me" (US)
  • 27 March 1976 (UK)
  • 12 April 1976 (Sweden)
  • August 1976 (US)[1]
Recorded3 September 1975
  • Benny Andersson
  • Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Mamma Mia"
"Dancing Queen"
Music video
"Fernando " on YouTube
Anni-Frid Lyngstad - Fernando.jpg
Song by Anni-Frid Lyngstad
from the album Frida ensam
Released10 November 1975 (1975-11-10)
LabelPolar Music
  • Benny Andersson
  • Björn Ulvaeus
  • Stig Anderson
  • Benny Andersson
  • Björn Ulvaeus
Music video
"Fernando (Swedish version)" on YouTube

"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in March 1976 as the brand new track for the 1976 compilation album Greatest Hits, and was also 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 is one of ABBA's best-selling singles of all time, with six million copies sold in 1976 alone.[2] 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 as a solo single 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.[3] The name "Fernando" was inspired by a bartender of that name who worked at a club the band frequented in Stockholm, Sweden.[citation needed]

Swedish-language version[edit]

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".

English-language version[edit]

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".[4] "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".[4]

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.

Spanish-language version[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6][7] "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.[8] 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.[9] It spent 10 weeks in the UK Top 10 (more than any other ABBA single),[10] and was also the second of three consecutive UK No. 1 singles for ABBA, after "Mamma Mia" and before "Dancing Queen".[11]

In Portugal the single sold 80,000 copies;[12] in France it went to No. 1 and sold 850,000 copies.[13]

The song was also chosen as the "Best Studio Recording of 1975", ABBA's first international prize.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cher version[edit]

Cher - Fernando - Single.png
Single by Cher
from the album Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: The Movie Soundtrack and Dancing Queen
Released21 June 2018
Producer(s)Benny Andersson
Cher singles chronology
"Ooga Boo"
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"
Music video
"Fernando" on YouTube

American singer and actress Cher recorded Fernando as the third single from the movie soundtrack of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Her version was released on 21 June 2018, by Capitol and Polydor Records.[35] Produced by Benny Andersson, the song debuted on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in July 2018 at number 22. This cover version features background vocals by actor Andy García and also references the Mexico–Guatemala conflict of 1959, part of which had been seen by Cher's character, Ruby Sheridan, Donna's mother, along with her long lost love, Fernando Cienfuegos.[36] Cher's solo cover version without background vocals by García appears on her 2018 ABBA tribute album Dancing Queen.[37][38][39]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for Idolator, Mike Wass felt that, in contrast to Cher's version of "Mamma Mia", which sounds "playful and well-intentioned that it's impossible to resist," "Fernando" sounds "disarmingly faithful to the original, which is probably due to the fact it was co-produced by ABBA's own Benny Andersson. It has a warm, live feel that was so peculiar to ABBA's ’70s fare and that sound really suits our heroine's soaring vocals."[40]

Live performances[edit]

Cher performed "Fernando" at the CinemaCon 2018 to promote Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again film.[41] During her Here We Go Again Tour she also performs the song together with "Waterloo" and "SOS".[42] On 31 October 2018 "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" and "Take Me Home" were cut from her Classic Cher concert residency and "Waterloo", "SOS" and "Fernando" were added.[43]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Digital download[edit]

  • "Fernando" (feat. Andy García) – 3:59
  • "Fernando" (solo version) – 3:57


Chart (2018) Peak
CIS (Tophit)[44] 342
Hungary (Single Top 40)[45] 26
Scotland (OCC)[46] 24
UK Singles (OCC)[47] 92
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[48] 22

Other cover versions[edit]

  • 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").[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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 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[edit]


  1. ^ "ABBA - Fernando / Rock Me - Atlantic - USA - 45-3346". Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  2. ^ Karen Collins (12 January 2008). "Fernando the Flute – Details". Tagg.org. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  3. ^ ABBA fan magazine 1980
  4. ^ a b Palm, Carl (13 October 1994). ABBA: The Complete Recording Sessions. Verulam Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0907938101.
  5. ^ ABBA fan magazine 1977.
  6. ^ Adams, Cameron (2 May 2017). "Ed Sheeran breaks Australian music chart record with Shape of You". Australia: News Corp. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  7. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2017/05/12/ed-sheerans-shape-of-you-is-the-longest-running-no-1-hit-of-all-time-in-australia/#3027fa7a3bd3.Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ http://home.zipworld.com.au/~callisto/weeksuk.html.Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  11. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 122. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  12. ^ Tenente, Fernando (8 September 1979). "Abba the world - Portugal". Billboard. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Rich Diversity of Marketing - French Companies - From Paris With Hits". Billboard. 9 April 1977. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Image: RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Image: RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 14, 1976" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ABBA – Fernando" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  19. ^ "Old-Charts". Old-Charts. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970–1992" Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1976 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 8 December 1963. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1976". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  25. ^ http://swisscharts.com/charts/jahreshitparade/1976 Swiss YE charts, 1976
  26. ^ "Top 50 Singles of 1976". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 25. 25 December 1976.
  27. ^ Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
  28. ^ Baker, Glen (8 November 1979). "Billboard Magazine Volume 91, No. 36". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Canadian certifications – ABBA – Fernando". Music Canada. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Les Singles en Or" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  31. ^ "French certifications – Fernando" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  32. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (ABBA; 'Fernando')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  33. ^ Tenente, Fernando (8 September 1979). "Abba the world - Portugal". Billboard. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  34. ^ "British certifications – ABBA – Fernando". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Fernando in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "New Music Friday: Tinashe, DJ Snake, Mamma Mia Soundtrack..." latfusa.com. 13 July 2018.
  36. ^ Review by IDOLATOR Retrieved 21 June 2018 2:43 pm
  37. ^ Tornow, Sam (9 August 2018). "Cher Announces 'Dancing Queen' Album Release Date". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  38. ^ "Cher to Release New Album, 'Dancing Queen,' Next Month". Variety. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  39. ^ "CHER'S 'DANCING QUEEN': A TRACK-BY-TRACK REVIEW". attitude. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  40. ^ "Album Review: Cher's 'Dancing Queen'". Idolator. 13 October 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  41. ^ Review by Billboard Retrieved 25 May 2018
  42. ^ Cashmere, Paul (24 September 2018). "Cher Opens Here We Go Again Tour In Auckland And Then Heads Out For Gelato". Nosie11. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  43. ^ Caulfield, Keith (9 February 2017). "Cher Returns to the Concert Stage With Glitz & Hits (But No Politics)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  44. ^ Cher — Fernando. Tophit. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  45. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  46. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  47. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  48. ^ "Hot Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 5 July 2018.

External links[edit]