Head over Heels (ABBA song)

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"Head over Heels"
Single by ABBA
from the album The Visitors
A-side "The Visitors"
Released 19 March 1982
Format 7" single
Recorded 2 September 1981 at Polar Music Studios
Genre Pop
Length 3:45
Label Polar Music
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"When All Is Said and Done"
"Head over Heels"
"The Visitors"
Music video
"Head Over Heels" on YouTube

"Head over Heels" is a 1981 song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA, released as a single the following year. It was extracted from their final studio album, The Visitors, and released as a Double A-side with the title track of that album.


"Head over Heels", whose working title was "Tango", was written and composed by both Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Agnetha Fältskog sang the lead vocals, singing about her "very good friend," played in the music video by Anni-Frid Lyngstad, an overactive high-society woman who rushes through the shops, with her hapless and exhausted husband (played by Ulvaeus) following behind. The song's video was the group's final clip directed by long-time collaborator Lasse Hallström.

Jim Colyer describes the song's premise as about "a motivated lady in an age of women's liberation" who finds herself in situations which "call for assertiveness" such as: "pushing through unknown jungles, pushing through the darkness and pushing through the crowd".[1]

As with the previous single "One of Us", Epic Records in the UK used a different picture sleeve from the standard one used in most countries.

The single[2] was not released in the United States, who flipped the B-side to release "The Visitors" as a single instead, with "Head over Heels" as the B-side.[3]

The sheet music has been released,[4] and the song has been choreographed for dance numbers.[5][6]


"Head over Heels" was not a successful chart hit by ABBA's standards. The release came as the group's popularity was declining, and became ABBA's worst selling single since "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", seven years earlier.[7] It only managed to chart as high as #25 in the UK, breaking a run of 18 consecutive Top 10 hits (from "SOS" in October 1975 to "One of Us" in December 1981). This 18-hit run had equaled that of The Beatles, who had consecutive Top 10 hits from 1964 (with "A Hard Day's Night") to 1976 (with "Yesterday"), broken by "Back in the U.S.S.R.". Although "Head over Heels" did experience Top 10 success in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and France, by this time, ABBA's chart domination was all but over, and the group effectively disbanded a year later. The track was excluded from their retrospective double LP The Singles: The First Ten Years, which was released later in 1982.

George Starostin of Only Solitaire said the song was the third best track on The Visitors, and described the "bouncy ballad" as a "slightly stupid, slightly corny, but immaculately written [song] notorious for...incorporating elements of a tango". He also complemented the vocal melody, which he said less talented bands would "simply kill for".[8]

Reviewer Don Ignacio said "Head over Heels" was close to the highlight of the album, after "One of Us". He described it as "a surprisingly jazzy number that manages to not betray the synth-heavy mood of the album". He added that the song has one of his "favourite vocal performances on an ABBA record".[9]

Richard of PopLoveDance said it is "criminally...unjust" that the song, the second UK single from The Visitors, only reached #25 in the charts. He added that in his opinion the track is "at least as good as half of [ABBA's] 70s hits, and one of the most early ABBA-esque on the album with the big chorus, harmonies and pop production". He commented that the song, released near the end of the band's career, is "a true lost 'hit'", and gave it a rating of 9.5/10.[10]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 8
Belgian Singles Chart 2
British Singles Chart 25
Dutch Singles Chart 4
French Singles Chart 10
German Singles Chart 19
Irish Singles Chart 14
Polish Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 18

Cover versions[edit]

  • 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.
  • The song is covered on an ABBA tribute album presented by the San Juan Music Group.
  • The K&K Studio Singers recorded the song in Polish as "Dumna Jak Paw".


  1. ^ Colyer, Jim (26 March 2009). "ABBA MUSIC". jimcolyer.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "ABBA - Head Over Heels / The Visitors (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "ABBA - The Visitors b/w Head Over Heels (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Head over Heels (ABBA)". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Big Dave – Leicestershire: Awesome Linedancing". Docs.google.com. March 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bear City Dancers: Head over Heels" (PDF). Docs.google.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 185. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  8. ^ Starostin, George. "ABBA: THE VISITORS". Only Solitaire. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ Ignacio, Don. "ABBA: The Visitors (1981)". Don Ignacio. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ "ABBA's finest hour re-released and reviewed". April 10, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 

External links[edit]