Ring Ring (song)
|"Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)"|
A-side label of the original Swedish release
|Single by ABBA|
|from the album Ring Ring|
|B-side||"Åh vilka tider"|
|Released||14 February 1973|
|Recorded||10 January 1973, Metronome Studio, Stockholm|
|Genre||Pop rock, glam rock, europop, schlager|
|ABBA singles chronology|
"Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)"
|Single by ABBA|
|from the album Ring Ring|
|B-side||"Rock'n Roll Band, I Am Just A Girl"|
|Released||19 February 1973|
|Songwriter(s)||Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Stig Anderson, Neil Sedaka & Phil Cody|
|Producer(s)||Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus|
"Ring Ring" is a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries (although the rest of Europe, North America and Australia would be introduced to ABBA the following year). The song was written in Swedish by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, along with their manager Stig Anderson, with an original title of "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)" ("Ring Ring (If Only You Called)"). Translation into English lyrics was helped by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody. The Swedish version reached No. 1 in the Swedish charts.
"Ring Ring" tells of a lover waiting all alone by the telephone for the object of her desire to call.
After the success of "People Need Love" in 1972 by Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid (as the group was then known), the group's manager, Stig Anderson, realised the potential of coupling the vocal talents of the women with the writing talents of the men. It was then decided that the quartet would record an LP. This eventually turned out to be the album Ring Ring.
Andersson, Ulvaeus and Anderson were invited to submit a song for the selection process for choosing the Swedish entry for the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest. After several days, Andersson and Ulvaeus came up with the tune for the Swedish version of "Ring Ring", with the working title "Klocklåt" (Clock Tune). Stig Anderson wrote the lyrics with the intention of making a "poppy" song, trying to remove the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest at the time.
After this, the song was retitled "Ring Ring". To make it more accessible to a universal audience, Anderson asked American songwriter Neil Sedaka, together with his songwriting partner, Phil Cody, to pen the lyrics for an English version.
On 10 January 1973, the song was recorded at the Metronome Studio in Stockholm. Michael B. Tretow, the studio engineer, collaborated with Andersson and Ulvaeus over many of their subsequent singles and albums. Tretow had read a book about record producer Phil Spector (Richard Williams' book Out of His Head: The Sound of Phil Spector), famed for his "Wall of Sound" treatment to the songs that he produced. While Spector used several musicians playing the same instruments in the same recording studio at the same time, this was far too expensive for this case. Thus, Tretow's solution was to simply record the song's backing track twice, in order to achieve an orchestral sound. By changing the speed of the tape between the overdubs, making the instruments marginally out of tune, this increased the effect. This was unlike anything that had been done before in Swedish music.
However, when Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid performed "Ring Ring" in the Swedish heats on 10 February 1973, they only finished third. Nevertheless, the song fared much better in the Swedish charts, both in its Swedish and English language incarnations, where it hit number one and number two respectively.
It was only now the quartet decided that performing as a group was a serious and realistic idea. They toured Sweden, and despite the failure of "Ring Ring" to represent the country at the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest, they began to prepare themselves for 1974's competition, with "Waterloo".
Reception and other versions
Though "Ring Ring" did not get the opportunity to represent Sweden in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest, the subtitled Swedish Version ("Bara Du Slog En Signal") performed extremely well in the Swedish charts, giving the quartet their first No. 1 hit. The English version did almost as well, peaking at No. 2 in Sweden, Norway and Austria, and reaching the Top 10 in the Netherlands, South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) charts. (On the official South African year-end chart for 1974, "Ring Ring" was placed 13th; while its successor "Waterloo" was placed as the 14th best selling singles for that year). It did, however, top the charts in Belgium, becoming the first of 16 chart-toppers for ABBA in that country. It was the group's first release in the UK in October 1973, but failed to chart, selling only five thousand copies. A remixed version of the song, later described by Carl Magnus Palm as having a "superfluous saxophone solo and leaden sound", reached No. 32 in June 1974, with "Rock'n Roll Band" issued on the B-side (after the No. 1 success of "Waterloo"), and would later hit No. 7 in Australia during the height of "ABBAmania". A second remixed version, different than but based on the one released in the UK, was included as a bonus track on the original US and Canadian release of the Waterloo album. A German-language version of the song was also recorded, and was released in what was then West Germany, but failed to chart. A Spanish version was also recorded (with lyrics by Doris Band), but this was not released until the 1993 CD compilation Más ABBA Oro in selected countries, and internationally on the 1999 edition of ABBA Oro: Grandes Éxitos.
The master tapes of the 1974 remix were presumed missing, or at least unobtainable, for some years. For this reason, it did not appear on the 1994 4-CD box-set Thank You for the Music. In 1999, a CD box-set of singles was released. The 1974 single remix was included, but had been mastered from a vinyl single as the master tape was still not available. However, in 2001, The Definitive Collection was released which finally included the 1974 single remix sourced from the master tape. It was later revealed on Carl Magnus Palm's website that Polar Music had acquired the single master tapes from Epic Records in the UK. This had presumably occurred between 1999 and 2001.
A. "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)"
B. "Åh vilka tider"
UK, Spain, Brazil, Italy, France, Germany, Peru, Austria, Netherlands
A. "Ring Ring" (English version)
B. "Rock'n Roll Band"
Sweden, Denmark, Columbia
A. "Ring Ring" (English version)
B. "She's My Kind of Girl"
A. "Ring Ring" (German version)
Chart positions (Swedish and English versions)
|Australian Singles Chart||92 (First), 7 (1976 re-release)|
|Austrian Singles Chart||2|
|Belgian Singles Chart||1|
|British Singles Chart||32|
|Dutch Singles Chart||5|
|French Singles Chart||82|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||17|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||2|
|Rhodesian Singles Chart||12|
|South African Singles Chart||3|
|Swedish Singles Chart||1 (Swedish)|
- "Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal)" (Swedish Version)
- "Ring Ring" (English Version)
- "Ring Ring" (English Version) - (1974 Remix, UK Single Version)
- "Ring Ring" (English Version) - (U.S. Remix 1974)
- "Ring Ring" (German Version)
- "Ring Ring" (Spanish Version)
- "Ring Ring" (Medley of Swedish, Spanish and German Versions)
- Magnus Uggla recorded a rock version of the song in 1979.
- In 1977, Tina Arena and John Bowles recorded a version for their album "Tiny Tina and Little John".
- In 1978, a Swedish country band called Nashville Train (which included some of ABBA's own backing band members) recorded the song on their album ABBA Our Way.
- In 1992, Swedish alternative rock band Sator recorded a version for the Swedish tribute album ABBA: The Tribute.
- In 2000, Swedish band The Black Sweden included a cover of the song on their ABBA tribute album Gold. The beginning of this version includes a riff from the Judas Priest song "Breaking the Law".
- The 1995 New Zealand compilation Abbasalutely includes a cover by Breast Secreting Cake.
- A eurodance cover version can be found on the 1999 album ABBAdance by Angeleyes.
- Studio 99 released two versions of the song on their ABBA tribute albums, one performed in the traditional ABBA style & the second a slower, techno-oriented mix, heavily based off the U.K. remix.
- Australian rock band Audioscam covered the song on their 2008 album Abbattack. Samples from the album can be heard on their official MySpace page.
- In 2012, Norwegian band The Dahlmanns recorded a version for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits of the Seventies" for radio station WFMU.
In popular culture
- The song features in the film ABBA: The Movie (1977), during a girl's ballet class.
- In the episode of Still game, Ring, while waiting for the ring for Tam Mullen. Winston Ingram sings the first line of the chorus.
On 5 December 2010, on a poll on British channel ITV1, for The Nation's Favourite ABBA song "Ring, Ring" (1974 version) was voted No. 25.
- Scott, Robert (2002) 'ABBA: Thank You for the Music - The Stories Behind Every Song', Carlton Books Limited: Great Britain, p. 26
- Vincentelli, Elisabeth (31 March 2018). "The Year Abba channeled Phil Spector and conquered the world". Salon (website). Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Faltskog, Agnetha & Ahman, Brita (1997) 'As I Am: ABBA Before & Beyond', Virgin Publishing, p.46
- Scott, Robert (2002) 'ABBA: Thank You for the Music - The Stories Behind Every Song', Carlton Books Limited: Great Britain, p.26
- Carl Magnus Palm (20 February 2014). "Abba: Bright Lights Dark Shadows". Books.google.co.uk. p. 344. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- Au. "Audioscam | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Profile.myspace.com. Archived from the original on 5 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Dahlmanns MySpace Website