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Thank You for the Music

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"Thank You for the Music"
Single by ABBA
from the album The Album
A-side"Eagle"
Released18 May 1978
Recorded21 July 1977
StudioGlen Studio
GenrePop
Length3:52
LabelPolar
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Benny Andersson
  • Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Take a Chance on Me"
(1978)
"Thank You for the Music" / "Eagle"
(1978)
"Summer Night City"
(1978)

"Under Attack"
(1982)

"Thank You For The Music"
(1983)

"Dancing Queen"
(1992)

"Voulez-Vous"
(1992)

"Thank You For The Music"
(1992)

"Summer Night City"
(1993)
Alternative cover
1983 artwork for UK release
Music video
"Thank You for the Music" on YouTube

"Thank You for the Music" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally featured on the group's fifth studio album, The Album (1977), and was released as a double-A sided single with "Eagle" in May 1978 in limited territories, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. In South Africa where it peaked at number 2 in August 1978 and became the eighteenth best-selling single of that year.

"Gracias por la Música" is the Spanish-language recording of "Thank You for the Music", with lyrics by Buddy and Mary McCluskey. The B-side was the Spanish-language version of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" entitled "¡Dame! ¡Dame! ¡Dame!". The song was released in 1980 to promote the band's Spanish-language album/compilation Gracias Por La Música. It was the group's seventh best-selling Spanish single, and also peaked at number 4 in Argentina.

"Thank You for the Music" also formed part of ABBA: The Movie which featured studio recordings of selected songs from the then newly released album ABBA: The Album. The song is included in the final scenes as the hapless journalist finally gets to broadcast his ABBA radio special, including an interview, on Australian radio. The song is accompanied by footage of a studio recording session, a live stage performance and a mimed studio performance by the four members of the group. The song also plays over the closing titles as the camera pans out from the band performing in a hut on an island in the Stockholm archipelago to views of the archipelago itself.

The song was re-released in November 1983, to promote the Epic Records compilation album of the same name.

History[edit]

The recording of "Thank You for the Music" started in Marcus Music Studio in Stockholm, on 2 June 1977. The group had also performed the tune at their concert tour through Europe and Australia during the spring of 1977, as part of a mini-musical "The Girl with the Golden Hair" where the song was used as an ending encore. The lyrics used in this live version were slightly different from the studio version recorded later. Before the tour, in December 1976, Andersson and Ulvaeus also performed a segment of the melody on piano and acoustic guitar on the Swedish evening news programme "Rapport".

The first recording of the tune had a jazzy cabaret feel with Agnetha Fältskog on a solo song, inspired by artists in the style of Doris Day and similar. The group later made another arrangement of the same melody, which became the more widely known version. The first version was released in its entirety on the 1994 CD box "Thank You for the Music". The later version was recorded on 21 July 1977 in Glen Studio (a family studio that used to be located in the Glenmark family home but now relocated to a small former grocery shop close to their home).

The song was included on "The Album" and was used as a final melody in the film "ABBA - The Movie", which had its premiere at Christmas of 1977. The single "Eagle" of May 1978 also had this song as its B-side. It was later included in "Greatest Hits Vol. 2" released in the fall of 1979 when ABBA started touring North America and Europe. A promotion video was recorded in February 1978, directed by Lasse Hallström, where ABBA sings "Thank You for the Music" in front of kids singing along.

"Thank You for the Music" was later included on "ABBA Gold - Greatest Hits" of 1992. In 1999, it was used for the musical "Mamma Mia!", and in 2008 for the film with the same title. When the musical was translated into Swedish by Niklas Strömstedt, it got the title "Tack för alla sånger" ("Thanks for all the songs").

Reception[edit]

It was not released as a single in the United Kingdom and Ireland until late 1983, peaking at number 33 and number 17 respectively. In the Netherlands, the song peaked at number 23. The title of the song "Thank You for the Music" is often taken to signal the end of ABBA, leading it to be considered a farewell song.[citation needed]

As of September 2021, it is ABBA's 20th-biggest song in the UK, including both pure sales and digital streams.[1]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Personnel[edit]

ABBA

Additional personnel and production staff
  • Lasse Wellander – acoustic lead guitar, mandolin
  • Rutger Gunnarsson – bass
  • Roger Palm – drums, tambourine

Cover versions[edit]

  • Irish siblings The Nolans, who were often seen on various British variety TV programmes in the 1970s and early 1980s, recorded their own cover of this song. It is included on their album Nolan Sisters.
  • German eurodance group E-Rotic recorded a cover of the song for their 1997 ABBA tribute album Thank You for the Music.[11]
  • British vocalist Dame Vera Lynn recorded a version of this song[12] for her self-titled album.
  • The song's chorus was included as part of a medley entitled "Thank ABBA for the Music" on the 1999 compilation ABBAmania, which coincided with a British TV special. It was performed by Tina Cousins, Billie Piper, Steps, Cleopatra and B*Witched, and peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 4 in April 1999.
  • The subsequent ABBAMania 2 album from 2004 contains a cover of the song performed with British TV actors Charlotte Bellamy, Jane Danson, Wendi Peters, Bernie Nolan (of the Nolans), Tricia Penrose, Will Mellor, and Lee Otway on lead vocals.
  • The German 2004 ABBA Mania compilation features a cover version performed by all the music artists who appeared in the TV special, with Barbara Schöneberger on lead vocals.
  • American actress/singer Jan Gelberman recorded a cover of the song for her album With Love To Share.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • In the soundtrack for the 2008 film adaptation of the stage musical Mamma Mia!, the song is included as a hidden track sung by actress Amanda Seyfried. In the film itself, it is heard in the end credits.
  • In August 2008, Gunilla Backman performed Björn Ulvaeus' Swedish version of the song from Mamma Mia! ("Tack för alla sånger") on TV show Allsång på Skansen (Sing-along at Skansen).[15] It may be notable for the lyric which in the English version is "Thanks for all the joy they're bringing / Who can live without it" but in Swedish is "Vem behöver religioner? / Dom kan vi va utan"[16] which roughly translates as "Who needs religion? / We can live without it", the line continuing with (roughly translated) "but never without music".

Live covers and appearances in other media[edit]

  • A live version was performed on TV by The Carpenters on The Tonight Show hosted by John Davidson, on 27 June 1978.[17] They first heard the song when ABBA performed it on Starparade, as the Carpenters were sharing the bill with them for that particular episode. They laid down a track for it but Richard Carpenter said:

    Nobody does ABBA like ABBA. I realized that, as usual, Benny and Bjorn had done the definitive arrangement and all I'd be doing was copying it; something I just don't do, of course. It's an outtake, never completed and in storage with the rest of the stuff in Pennsylvania.[18]

  • ABBA performed the song live on the Mike Yarwood Christmas show in 1978.
  • The song is performed in the Mamma Mia! musical by the characters of Sophie and Harry. It is also sung by Amanda Seyfried in the end credits of the 2008 Universal Picture.
  • The song is briefly included in the ABBA medley performed by Alan Partridge on his mock chat show Knowing Me Knowing You, which is itself titled after the ABBA single of the same name. One of the show's running gags is based around the character's fondness of the band.
  • This song was the last to be heard on Magic (TV channel) as a part of it's closing trailer before it shuttered on 1 July 2024.

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK Official Charts ABBA's Official Top 20 biggest songs
  2. ^ "Cash Box - International Best Sellers" (PDF). Cashbox. 17 May 1980. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  3. ^ David Kent (2006). Australian Charts Book 1993—2005. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-646-45889-2.
  4. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  5. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Thank You for the Music". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – ABBA" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Dutch Charts > ABBA" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Official Charts Company" ABBA". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1978". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  10. ^ "British single certifications – ABBA – Thank You for the Music". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  11. ^ "E-Rotic Page". Eurodancehits.com. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  12. ^ Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", page 209. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995
  13. ^ "Resume". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  14. ^ Sitefactory (22 July 2012). "Lauluyhtye Rajaton - Etusivu". Rajaton.net. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  15. ^ "ABBA on TV - Allsång på Skansen". abbaontv.com. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Björn Ulvaeus speaks on Humanism". iheu.org. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  17. ^ Carpenters: Decade 1969-1979; Edited by: The Carpenters.
  18. ^ Carpenter, Richard. "Carpenters Fans Ask: Question 21". Richard Carpenter's richardandkarencarpenter.com. Archived from the original on 10 October 2023. Retrieved 15 January 2019.

External links[edit]