ABBA is a Swedish supergroup that took the world by storm in the mid-70s, topping music charts internationally until 1982 and finding a resurgence in 2021. They’re one of the best-selling music groups of all time with international sales estimates falling somewhere between 150 million and almost 400 million worldwide record sales. In this article, we’ll look at 25 of ABBA’s best songs that were all the rage in the 70s.
1. Dancing Queen
It’s almost impossible to have never heard a song from ABBA, and Dancing Queen is one of their most popular. A mixture of American and European disco, it was their only number-one hit in the US, topping charts there and in 16 other countries and the top five in many others. All about the joy of dancing, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015 and is one of the greatest singles of all time.
2. Lay All Your Love On Me
Recorded in 1980 for ABBA’s seventh studio album Super Trouper, Lay All Your Love On Me was the sixth single to be released from it. The track became the highest-selling 12-inch record in UK chart history, peaking at number seven on that country’s play charts.
Any kind of electro-disco music makes for a good dance song, but this one has been ranked on several lists of the best dance tracks of all time and featured in two of Slant magazine’s rankings.
3. Take A Chance On Me
One of my first introductions to this song came on That 70s Show, which is pretty fitting since it was released in 1978. It was the second single to come from their fifth studio album, reaching the Top 10 in both the US and UK of that year.
Easily one of ABBA’s most energetic songs—which is saying something for this group—Take A Chance On Me layers the vocals of the group to almost create a wall of sound, but in the most pleasing way, you can imagine. On lists of their greatest tracks from major publications, it’s been ranked in the Top 10—number two by Billboard and number nine by Rolling Stone magazine.
4. Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia was ABBA’s second single to reach number one in the UK since 1974’s Waterloo and the lead track on their 1975 self-titled album. It made the Top 10 in more than 10 countries and helped bring them back into the spotlight, guaranteeing more of their later singles found promotion with major labels. The musical Mamma Mia! wasn’t based on the ABBA song, though the 2008 film of the musical does include rerecorded vocals from Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.
This wasn’t originally released as an ABBA song, but as a solo single by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The popularity of the track just about forced them to include it on their Arrival album the next year and their 1976 compilation, Greatest Hits. Fernando is by far one of the greatest-selling singles of all time, with well over 10 million physical copies worldwide.
The music video plays on the themes of the English version of the song, featuring two Mexican revolutionaries discussing a battle they participated in years in the past. It peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the UK singles chart.
6. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
This single was recorded and released to promote ABBA’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 album in 1979 and was one of the few original tracks on that album. It replaced Rubber Ball Ma, a song that only made it to the demo stage on the album because it was more in line with the dance tracks they were known for at the time.
Waterloo uses the famous 1815 battle where Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated—finally—as a metaphor for a romantic relationship, topping the charts in several European countries and making it to the Top 10 in the US. It is the song that gave ABBA their start as a worldwide sensation thanks to its international success, becoming the first of their nine UK number-ones. It was specifically written for them to use in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which they unsurprisingly won.
8. Does Your Mother Know
Most of ABBA’s music features female-led vocals, but this single had Ulvaeus taking center stage and the girls backing him up. It’s yet another song that made it to the top five in the UK, but it was most notable for balancing rock and dance music elements to create a hybrid-style track. In the US, the song made it to number 19 on the Hot 100 and 16 on the Cashbox Top 100 Singles charts.
9. Thank You For The Music
Thank You For The Music was originally recorded for the group’s fifth studio album—interestingly named—The Album in 1977 but ended up being the closing number in their 1977 movie and was re-released to promote a compilation album of theirs in 1983. In terms of sales, it’s only ABBA’s 20th-best-grossing song and saw lackluster chart performance, but that’s mainly due to it being more of a farewell release for them as their popularity waned rather than it not being up to snuff.
10. The Winner Takes It All
The Winner Takes It All became ABBA’s eighth UK number-one single and its final Top 10 track in the US. It came out within two weeks of all the members getting divorced—they were two sets of couples—a song that was on the nose for the group’s current personal dynamics since it mainly reflects on the end of a relationship.
After Waterloo, ABBA went through a bit of a dry spell in terms of worldwide hits. SOS became the single to break that spell, returning them to the Top 10 charts across Europe and starting a trend for them in the UK that saw them land 18 consecutive tracks in the Top 10 there.
12. One Of Us
One Of Us was the lead single from ABBA’s eighth studio album The Visitors in 1981, and it was one of the last songs recorded for the album. While the track dips into the darker side of the emotional turmoil in the group at the time and could be seen as a bit depressing, it became their final number-one single on the Eurochart Hot 100.
13. The Name Of The Game
The Name Of The Game takes a detour and proves what a great range ABBA truly had. Instead of the flashy, dance-centric Europop that they were known for, this song is an exercise in subtlety and restraint. This slower, much more complex composition sat atop the UK charts for four weeks and found broad appeal for the group stepping outside their normal comfort zone and recording what many considered a much more serious track.
Angeleyes found some renewed popularity in 2022 when it became a major trending sound on TikTok. A sped-up version of the song was used by many to reminisce about all the things they loved, from music to food and everything in between. Upon original release, the track peaked at number three on the UK singles charts and made it to number 64 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Chiquitita took the role of the lead single from If It Wasn’t For The Nights on ABBA’s Voulez-Vous album in 1979. It went through an extensive number of early versions before becoming one of their biggest hits of the late 70s. While it made it to number 29 on the US Hot 100, it made it to the top of the charts across Europe and Mexico but only peaked at number two in the UK.
16. I Have A Dream
I Have A Dream was the final single release from ABBA’s Voulez-Vous album. Their original version peaked at number two in the UK, but in 1999, Westlife released a cover that rose to the top spot of the UK charts.
17. Money, Money, Money
Money, Money, Money was one of the cleverest singles ABBA released, sprinkling humor into their typical pop hooks and including a lot of gimmicks that fans loved. It became the second worldwide hit from their Arrival album, though it was their only release between 1976 and 1978 to not hit number one on the UK charts.
18. Summer Night City
Summer Night City became the first song ABBA worked on in the brand-spanking-new recording studio that they had built in Stockholm. It was one of their few tracks that created some divisions, with the production staff not being huge fans of it and the public loving the song. It ended up reaching number five on the charts in 1978, creating yet another incredibly successful ABBA single and one of its best tracks.
19. Knowing Me, Knowing You
Knowing Me, Knowing You became ABBA’s sixth-consecutive single to hit number one on the charts in West Germany, but it also reached that spot in the UK, Ireland, Mexico, and South Africa. In the US, this track was their sixth single to break into the Top 20, placing number 14 on the Hot 100.
20. Super Trouper
The title track of ABBA’s 1980 studio album, Super Trouper references a specific model of follow spotlights used in large venues. Overall, it’s an upbeat rock and disco single that fits into their continued success in Europe and became their final UK number-one song. The music video for the track included an entire circus troupe and featured a different spotlight referenced in the song.
21. Head Over Heels
Unfortunately for Head Over Heels, it was released as ABBA’s overall popularity began to slide, resulting in their worst-performing single in a very long time and breaking their streak of UK Top 10s. While not released in the US as a single, it was still included on The Visitors album and performed well in other European countries.
22. Slipping Through My Fingers
Slipping Through My Fingers discusses how little time you have with your children, and as they age, it feels like they’re slipping away from you. The song was only released as a single in Japan and served as a promotional track for the Coca-Cola Company in that country.
23. On And On And On
This one was one of the few ABBA singles to release in the US but not the UK, only being released as a single in six countries. While it only made it to number 90 on the Hot 100, its inclusion with Super Trouper and Lay All Your Love On Me made it hit number one on the American dance chart in 1981.
24. The Piper
The Piper is another ABBA song that dips into the darker side lyrically and strays from the mainstream songs they were known for when it was released in 1980. Part of the refrain is in Latin, and while it may not appear on many people’s lists of their greatest tracks, it has a cult following within the ABBA community.
25. If It Wasn’t For The Nights
This song was also a darker one, despairing how empty the nights were when left alone with your problems and how the days are okay as long as you’re distracted. It’s just the nighttime when it’s tough. It was originally intended to be the lead single for ABBA’s Voulez-Vous album but was passed over for Chiquitita. While not incredibly successful commercially, it shows a different side of them and proves their songs contain ample emotion.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.