One of Us (ABBA song)
|"One of Us"|
|Single by ABBA|
|from the album The Visitors|
|B-side||"Should I Laugh or Cry"|
|Released||7 December 1981 (Sweden)
4 December 1981 (UK)
12 February 1983 (US)
|Recorded||21 October 1981
at Polar Music Studios
|ABBA singles chronology|
"One of Us" ("En av oss" in Swedish) from 1981 was the first single from Swedish pop group ABBA's final studio album The Visitors, their eighth for Polar, and their seventh for Epic and Atlantic. The song is also included on the Gold: Greatest Hits compilation.
"One of Us," which had the working titles "Number 1" and "Mio Amore", was one of the last songs recorded for ABBA's 1981 album The Visitors, and features a lead vocal by Agnetha Faltskog. It was one of a number of tracks that explored the darker territory of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's songwriting as the two men's divorces were beginning to influence their musical output. Indeed, the message of the song was about a woman trying to revive a dead relationship. Despite the somewhat depressing context and reservations by manager Stig Anderson, "One of Us" was released as the 1st single from The Visitors, coupled with the non-album track "Should I Laugh or Cry" Ulvaeus had favored releasing it as the 1st single from the new album and was vindicated when the majority of the record companies agreed with him. Indeed, it proved to be a wise move as it was ABBA's last No. 1 single. The decision to release this as a single was made so late that it wasn't available in Swedish shops until after the album "The Visitors" had been released.
In the United Kingdom, this single was issued in a different sleeve. The official sleeve depicted the album cover photo, and was used in most countries. Epic Records wanted a different image for the British release, and used separate photos of the group members together with a large ABBA logo. Agnetha and Frida appeared on the front cover, with Bjorn and Benny on the back. The photos were actually out-of-date, as Frida was depicted still with her frizzy perm, while Bjorn was beardless. A limited edition picture disc using very similar artwork was also issued, Epic Records again making up for their earlier poor presentation of ABBA singles up until mid-1979.
The B-side, "Should I Laugh or Cry", included a spoken count-in (in Swedish) from Benny. This count-in appeared on UK and South African releases, but not internationally. The master tapes supplied to Epic contained the error, but were not picked up in time, and so appeared on the single release. In the early 2000s, Epic's rights to ABBA's music in the UK had long since expired. However, they still owned all the UK master tapes for the singles. These were then returned to Polar Music (itself owned by Universal Music) in Stockholm, who later issued the error count-in version as a "rarity" in The Complete Studio Recordings boxed set, thereby making it available to a worldwide audience (and on CD for the first time). The count-in version has now also been released on The Visitors (Deluxe Edition) CD released on April 23, 2012.
"One of Us" was ABBA's last major hit, and their last No. 1 single in many countries. It became ABBA's 13th and final Eurochart and Irish No. 1 single, and also topped the charts in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, while reaching the Top 3 in Austria, Great Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It also hit the Top 10 in France, Norway, South Africa and Spain.
The track debuted at #11 on the UK Singles Chart on 12 December 1981 and peaked at #3 the following week, where it stayed for 3 weeks. After 10 weeks in the charts, it exited on 13 February 1982. When "One of Us" was released as a single in the United States in February 1983, it proved to be ABBA's worst ever performing charting song in that territory, reaching a high of #107, though it should be pointed out that the song was released over a year after its release elsewhere and ABBA had disbanded by this time. Nevertheless, "One of Us" was ABBA's swansong in terms of their hit-making career.
In November 1981, the music video was shot, directed by Lasse Hallström. It sees Fältskog playing a woman who is moving into a new house, presumably after a divorce or break-up with her partner in reflection of the lyrics. This is interspersed with individual shots of the ABBA members in a studio standing against a wall of mirrors.
Weekly singles charts
As an attempt to promote the A-Teens a bit more, Universal Music Group released a one-track promo single of "One of Us" on radio in late 1999. The song was promoted in Scandinavia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Japan.
A special music video was filmed for a TV special in Sweden. It was not used as an official video. It shows parts of shows in Sweden and behind-the-scenes footage of the band having fun, waiting in a room of Stockholm Records' building.
Other cover versions
- In 1982, with lyrics in German, as Ich Sah Deine Tränen, schlager singer Marianne Rosenberg recorded the song. This version peaked at No. 66 on the singles chart in the former Germany that year.
- In 1989, Véronique Béliveau covered it on her album Veronique.
- In 1993, French pianist Richard Clayderman recorded his instrumental version, together with 14 other ABBA songs, for his album, Richard Clayderman Plays ABBA.
- In 1995, Swedish eurodance singer Pandora covered the song, which was released as a single and included as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of her album Tell the World. The song was later re-recorded and remixed in 2008 as a single by the United DJ's.
- In 1996, British singer Hazell Dean recorded a cover of this song for her tribute album The Winner Takes It All: Hazell Dean Sings ABBA.
- In 1997, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus recorded a cover of the song for their album ExtrABBAganza!.
- In 1998, German rave/techno group Dune recorded a slow, orchestral version of the song for their album Forever and Ever with The London Session Orchestra. Their version featured singer Tina Lacebal on vocals.
- In 1999, a version by British pop duo Go West was included on the album ABBA: A Tribute – The 25th Anniversary Celebration.
- In 2001, the compilation ABBAMetal (also released as A Tribute to ABBA) featured a rendition by German gothic metal band Flowing Tears.
- In 2001, Spanish singer-songwriter Javier Álvarez included an English language rendition of the song on his album Grandes éxitos.
- In 2001, a dance cover of the song by Donna Burke was included on the Japanese import ABBA Ibiza Caliente Mix compilation.
- In 2002, Swedish eurodance/pop group Da Buzz included a cover of the song as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of their album Wanna Be With Me. Their version slightly reworks the melody of the song, but keeps the original lyrics intact.
- In 2004, the German "ABBA Mania" album included a cover of the song by pop group US5.
- In 2006, A cover of the song by Finnish a cappella choral ensemble Rajaton can be found on their ABBA tribute album Rajaton Sings ABBA With Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
- In 2008, Scottish singer Julienne Taylor covered it on her album Time For Love.
- The song is performed in Mamma Mia! by the character, Donna. It was one of the omitted songs in the 2008 movie adaptation, as well as its soundtrack.
- "search ABBA, release date and certification". BPI. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- ABBAsite - How the videos were made
- "UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". everyHit.com. 16 March 2000. Retrieved 5 February 2012.