The Visitors (song)

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"The Visitors"
Single by ABBA
from the album The Visitors
B-side "Head over Heels"
Released April 1982
Format 7" single
12" single
Recorded 22 October 1981 at Polar Music Studios
Genre Electronic, art rock
Length 5:49
Label Polar Music
Writer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
Producer(s) Benny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Head over Heels"
"The Visitors"
"The Day Before You Came"
Not to be confused with Visitors (song), released in 1985 by Koto.

"The Visitors", originally "Den första" (meaning "The First"), was the final single release from Swedish pop group ABBA's studio album of the same name, released in the United States in 1982. The lead vocal was sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad and its mix of psychedelic, Indian-flavoured verse melody and 1980s synth rock in the chorus, was an unusual and intriguing step for ABBA.


The official stated theme is a protest against the mistreatment of political dissidents in the Soviet Union at the time, as ABBA seemed to input political issues into their lyrics in the final days of the group.[1] Ulvaeus has stated that at the time of release he preferred that the song should have a sense of mystery so did not explain the exact meaning.[2]

In 1982, the album The Visitors was banned in the Soviet Union, possibly due to the band allowing a video of "When All Is Said and Done" to be shown in the United States Information Agency television special, Let Poland Be Poland, along with a spoken message from Ulvaeus and Andersson,[3] broadcast via satellite around the world on 31 January 1982. The show, which also featured Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, was a public protest against the then-recent imposition of martial law in Poland.[4] However, ABBA's segment was not included in the broadcast, the official reason given being time restraints. However, it is likely that the segment was omitted because Ulvaeus and Andersson exemplified, in addition to Poland, US-supported dictatorships Chile and El Salvador as countries where citizens' human rights are routinely violated.[5]


"The Visitors" was released as the album's second (and final) single in the US instead of "Head over Heels," which remained as the B-side.

The single peaked just outside of the Top 60 at No. 63 on the singles chart in the U.S., and a double A-sided "The Visitors/When All Is Said and Done" 12" single reached No. 8 on the Billboard dance chart. The song was also remixed by Greg Silvia subscription DJ remix service, Hot Tracks, into a much longer version that brought additional club play. This was the single most-requested remix by Hot Tracks, and was featured in Volume One of "The Best of Hot Tracks."[6] AllMusic reviewer Bruce Eder describes the song as "a topical song about Soviet dissidents that also manages to be very catchy."[7] Even though the song did not have any success in some countries, "The Visitors" was No. 1 in Costa Rica.

Cover versions[edit]

  • A Hi-NRG cover version of the song was released as a single by a group called Moonstone in the late 1980s.
  • Abbacadabra released several dance cover remixes of the song under Almighty Records during the late 1990s. Various remixes can be found on the 2008 compilation We Love ABBA: The Mamma Mia Dance Compilation. Audio samples can be heard on the official Almighty Records website.[8]
  • British group the Television Personalities included a cover of the song on their 2006 album And They All Lived Happily Ever After.[9]


Chart (1982) Peak
US Cashbox Top 100 Singles[10] 81


  1. ^ abba for the record – vinyl singles
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Time Magazine article "Better to Let Poland Be?"
  5. ^ Carl Magnus Palm - Bright Lights, Dark Shadows p.454
  6. ^ Billboard chart positions Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  7. ^ The Visitors album review Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  8. ^ "Abbacadabra | The Visitors". Almighty Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Damaged Goods Records: Television Personalities". Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  10. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]