Mamma Mia (song)

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"Mamma Mia"
Mamma Mia Intermezzo No 1.jpg
Single by ABBA
from the album ABBA
B-side "Intermezzo No.1"
"Hey, Hey Helen" (Australia)
"Tropical Loveland" (UK, Canada, US)
Released September 1975
Format 7" single
Recorded 12 March 1975 at Metronome Studio
Genre rock and roll
Length 3:35
Label Polar (Denmark)
Epic (UK)
Atlantic (Canada, US)
Carnaby (Spain)
Polydor (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland)
RCA Victor (Australia)
Disques Vogue (Belgium)
Songwriter(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Stig Anderson
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Mamma Mia"
"Mamma Mia"
Music video
"Mamma Mia" on YouTube

"Mamma Mia" is a song recorded by the Swedish pop group ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It is the opening track on the group's third album, the self-titled ABBA. The song's name is derived from Italian, where it is an interjection used in situations of surprise, anguish, or excitement, which corresponds to the English interjection "my" but literally means "My mommy". The interjection "my my" can be found indeed in some lines within the song.

History and impact[edit]

The distinctive sound at the start of the song is the marimba.[1] According to biographer Carl Magnus Palm, the instrument was incorporated at the last minute, added after Benny Andersson found it in the studio and decided its "tick tock" rhythm was perfect for the track.[2]

"Mamma Mia" was written at the home of Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, and was the last track recorded for the album ABBA. It was one of four songs from the album to have a music video made to promote the album. Initially, however, "Mamma Mia" was never intended for release as a single.[1] Around this time, many artists were recording ABBA songs (such as "Honey, Honey" and "Bang a Boomerang"), similarly ABBA offered "Mamma Mia" to British pop group Brotherhood of Man, who turned it down.[3]

"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" topped the Australian charts for three weeks; however, the promo clip for "Mamma Mia" proved the more popular after repeat screenings on Australian television, notably Molly Meldrum's Countdown. ABBA’s Australian record company, RCA, asked that "Mamma Mia" be released as a single but Polar Music refused.[4] However, Stig Anderson agreed to this; "Mamma Mia" was released in Australia in August 1975, where it spent 10 weeks at number one.[1]

After this success in Australia, Epic Records in the United Kingdom took notice of ABBA for the first time since Eurovision and "Waterloo". From then on, Epic began to heavily promote ABBA's singles with the immediate result of "S.O.S." reaching the Top 10 in the important British market, their first hit since "Waterloo". "Mamma Mia" soon followed, reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart in January 1976, the second of ABBA's 18 consecutive Top 10 singles there.[1]

The B-side for the Australian release of "Mamma Mia" was "Hey, Hey Helen". In most other countries the B-side was the instrumental "Intermezzo Number 1". ABBA's British label Epic selected "Tropical Loveland" as the B-side for the UK release, feeling another vocal track, especially one showcasing ABBA in a different musical style, would better promote the parent album.

Track listing[edit]

International single[edit]

  1. "Mamma Mia"
  2. "Intermezzo No. 1"

UK single[edit]

  1. "Mamma Mia"
  2. "Tropical Loveland"

Charts and certifications[edit]

A-Teens version[edit]

"Mamma Mia"
Single by A-Teens
from the album The ABBA Generation
Released 10 May 1999
Format CD Single
vinyl 12"
Recorded January 1999
Genre Pop, Europop
Length 3:44 (Album Version)
3:42 (Radio Edit)
Label Universal Music Group
Songwriter(s) B. Andersson
S. Anderson
B. Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Ole Evenrude
A-Teens singles chronology
"Mamma Mia"
"Super Trouper"
"Mamma Mia"
"Super Trouper"

"Mamma Mia" became the first single by the A-Teens which was released as the debut single from the album The ABBA Generation. The song is a cover version of the popular hit by ABBA. Unlike the original, this version leaves out the second refrain "Mamma Mia, even if I say, Bye bye, leave me now or never; Mamma Mia, it's a game we play, Bye bye, doesn't mean forever."

When the single came out in the spring of 1999, it became a smash hit in their home country, Sweden, where it peaked at number-one and stayed there for eight consecutive weeks earning a platinum certification.[21]

On the initial pressings of the single, the name of the band appeared as ABBA*Teens, but Universal Music Group thought it would be better to change the name of the band to A-Teens so the new pressings of the single were made.

The single reached the top twenty in almost every European country, reaching number three in Norway, number nine in Switzerland and the Netherlands, number ten in Germany, number twelve in the United Kingdom, number fourteen in Austria and Finland, among others. A Spanish version of the song was recorded for promotion in Latin America and Spain.

Despite the worldwide success, the song failed to attract the Australian public, peaking at seventy-two on the ARIA Charts. The album flopped, and the A-Teens stopped releasing singles or albums in that country until the 2002 single "Can't Help Falling in Love". "Mamma Mia" also peaked at thirteen in New Zealand, but owing to the lack of success in Australia, the further singles were never released in that country either.

In the United States the single peaked at sixty-three on the Billboard Hot Single Sales Chart, becoming the band's first single to chart in the country.[22]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Henrik Sylvén and was filmed in Sweden. It shows the A-Teens as waiters in an art exposition, and they are suppressed by the manager; but soon they discover that one of the paintings transports them to a party where the manager and patrons he's helping also join in on the fun.

The video reached number one on several music channels, and was the main single outside the US, where "Dancing Queen" was used as the main single to promote the album.[23]

Chart positions[edit]

  • 1 (Argentina, Chile, Sweden)
  • 3 (Norway, Ukraine)
  • 9 (Bavaria, Netherlands, Switzerland)
  • 10 (Germany)
  • 12 (Mexico, United Kingdom)
  • 13 (New Zealand)
  • 14 (Austria, Finland)
  • 51 (France)
  • 72 (Australia)


European 2-Track CD Single

  1. Mamma Mia [Radio Version] – 3:43
  2. Mamma Mia [Extended Version] – 5:48

International Edition

  1. Mamma Mia [Radio Version] – 3:43
  2. Mamma Mia [Giuseppe Remix] – 5:35
  3. Mamma Mia [Jam Lab Remix] – 3:56
  4. Mamma Mia [Extended Version] – 5:48

U.K. CD1

  1. Mamma Mia [Radio Version] – 3:45
  2. Lay All Your Love On Me – 4:04
  3. Mamma Mia [Karaoke Version] – 3:45

Video: Mamma Mia

U.K. CD2

  1. Mamma Mia [Extended Version] – 5:48
  2. Mamma Mia [The Bold & The Beautiful Glamourmix Edit] – 3:46
  3. Mamma Mia [Trouser Enthusiasts' Undying Dub] – 9:20

U.K. Cassette

  1. Mamma Mia [Radio Version] – 3:45
  2. Mamma Mia [Karaoke Version] – 3:45

U.S. CD Single

  1. Mamma Mia [Radio Version] – 3:43
  2. Mamma Mia [Extended Version] – 5:48

Promo CD

  1. Mamma Mia – 3:43

12" Vinyl Promo

  1. A. Mamma Mia [The Bold & The Beautiful Glamourmix Edit] – 3:46
  2. B. Mamma Mia [Extended Version] – 5:48

Live cover performances[edit]

  • Taiwanese singer A-mei has performed the song live.
  • The song is featured in the Mamma Mia! musical, and sung by the character of Donna. In the context of the musical, the song is used as Donna's surprise at finding the three men she went out with at the same time. Donna explains how much pain the men caused her at the separation, but also in the song she explains how easily she can succumb to temptation. In the 2008 Mamma Mia! film adaptation, it is sung by Meryl Streep, who plays Donna. In both cases, the length of the song is exactly the same as the original, but like the A-Teens version (see above), the second refrain is omitted and the main refrain is sung twice in succession.
  • Elena Temnikova, Russian singer, sang this song on the 2003 television show Star Factory.
  • Miley Cyrus sang this song in 2005 in one of her Hannah Montana audition tapes[citation needed].
  • The James Last Orchestra performed the song on tour in 2006 as part of a big band ABBA tribute. The band's performance at London's Royal Albert Hall was recorded and released on CD and DVD.[24]
  • The Phoenix Metropolitan Men's Chorus sang "Mamma Mia" in a show entitled ExtrABBAganza that included almost all of the group's greatest hits.
  • The song was sung on Australian Idol Season 6 by Chrislyn Hamilton during ABBA week.
  • The song has also been performed, but without the lyrics, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.[25]
  • English-Irish pop band One Direction performed part of the song on their live concert in stockholm, Sweden[26]

References and appearances in other media[edit]

  • In 1980, a Spanish version of "Mamma Mia" was included on the album Gracias Por La Música.
  • In 1999, a musical with the same name, Mamma Mia! (with an exclamation point to differentiate its name from the title track), opened in London's West End, featuring many of ABBA's songs and production has spread to many other countries, with more than 5,000 performances on Broadway alone. A film adaptation premiered in theaters in 2008.
  • ABBA perform parts of the song live in the film ABBA: The Movie (1977).
  • The song is featured in the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1993) which was made in Australia, the site of the single's greatest success.
  • The song can be heard in another Australian film Muriel's Wedding (1994).
  • The song can be heard in the That '70s Show episode "No Quarter". Jackie plays it trying to get to sleep, to the annoyance of Donna.
  • In a second-season episode of the television drama Boston Legal, the character Ivan Tiggs, performed by Tom Selleck references the song in reaction to his fiance's breaking into a line from Dancing Queen.[27]
  • The A-Teens cover is used as the opening theme of the German reality programme Frauentausch.
  • On 5 December 2010, on a British poll of the nation's favourite ABBA song, the song was placed at number 6.
  • Aus TV series sent up this video in their second season in 1990 with Jane Turner and Gina Riley in the roles of Agnetha and Fredia respectively
Preceded by
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" by ABBA
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
10 November 1975 – 5 January 1976
Succeeded by
"S.O.S." by ABBA
Preceded by
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
UK Singles Chart number-one single
31 January 1976 – 13 February 1976
Succeeded by
"Forever and Ever" by Slik
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
31 January 1976 – 28 February 1976
Succeeded by
"Broken Promise" by Red Hurley
Preceded by
"Moviestar" by Harpo
German Singles Chart number-one single
6 February 1976
Succeeded by
"Moviestar" by Harpo
Preceded by
by Jean-Claude Borelly
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
6 February 1976 – 13 February 1976
Preceded by
"Boom Boom Boom Boom" by Vengaboys
Swedish Singles Chart number-one single
(A-Teens version)

20 May 1999 – 20 July 1999 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of...)"
by Lou Bega


  1. ^ a b c d "Mamma Mia – The Song That Saved ABBA". ABBA – The Official Site. Polar Music International. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Palm, C.M. (2002). Bright Lights, Dark Shadows. London: Omnibus.
  3. ^ BBC Radio Shropshire, Keith Middleton show – Nicky Stevens interview, 29 May 2010
  4. ^ ABC: Love is in the Air: Strange Fruit
  5. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  6. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  7. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-1993. Record Research. p. 11. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Steffen Hung. " – Italian Charts – Singles Digital – 23/10/2008". Italian Charts. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Chart Statistics for Mamma Mia
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "ABBA – Mamma Mia". Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1976 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1963-12-08. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X. 
  17. ^ "Italian single certifications – ABBA – Mamma Mia" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "British single certifications – ABBA – Mamma Mia". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 January 2015.  Enter Mamma Mia in the search field and then press Enter.
  19. ^ "American single certifications – Abba". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  20. ^ Trust, Gary (23 January 2009). "Ask Billboard: Mariah Carey, Abba, Oasis, The Verve". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  21. ^ IFPI Certifications in 1999 Archived 28 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "Mamma Mia" Hot Single Sales Chart
  23. ^ The A-Teens used this single to promote the album in March 2000 on their visit to the United States.
  24. ^ "James Last - Abba Medley (From "String of Hits" DVD"". YouTube. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  25. ^ ""Mamma Mia" – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (ABBA Cover)". YouTube. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  26. ^ "One Direction - Mamma Mia (Stockholm, Sweden 14/6-14 HD)". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  27. ^ David E. Kelley. "Boston Legal : Live Big : Season 2, Episode 16" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-10-10. 

External links[edit]