Waterloo (ABBA song): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Waterloo (Swedish version)"
Single by ABBA
from the album Waterloo
B-side "Honey, Honey" (Swedish version)
Released 4 March 1974[1]
Format 7" single
Recorded Metronome Studios, Stockholm
Genre Europop, Pop, Glam rock
Length 2:42
Label Polar Music
Writer(s) Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson, Björn Ulvaeus
Producer Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
ABBA singles chronology
"Another Town, Another Train"
"Waterloo (Swedish version)"
"Waterloo (English version)"
Single by ABBA
from the album Waterloo
B-side "Watch Out"
Released 12 March 1974
Format 7" single
Recorded 17 December 1973 at Metronome Studio, Stockholm
Length 2:42
Label Polar Music
ABBA singles chronology
"Waterloo (Swedish version)"
"Honey, Honey"
Alternate covers
30th anniversary single
Sweden "Waterloo"
Eurovision Song Contest 1974 entry
Country Sweden
Artist(s) Benny Andersson,
Björn Ulvaeus,
Agnetha Fältskog,
Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Language Swedish
Composer(s) Benny Andersson,
Björn Ulvaeus
Lyricist(s) Stikkan Anderson
Conductor Sven-Olof Walldoff
Finals performance
Final result 1st
Final points 24
Appearance chronology
‚óĄ You're Summer (1973)   
Jennie, Jennie (1975) ‚Ėļ

"Waterloo", (originally called "Honey Pie"), was the first single from Swedish pop group ABBA's second album Waterloo, and their first for Epic and Atlantic. This was also the first single to be credited as "ABBA".

The song won ABBA the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest on 6 April and began their path to worldwide fame. The Swedish version single was coupled with "Honey, Honey" (Swedish version), while the English version featured "Watch Out" as the B-side.

The single became their first #1 hit in several countries and also reached the U.S. top 10.



"Waterloo" was originally written as a song for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, after the group finished third with "Ring Ring" the previous year in the Swedish pre-selection contest, Melodifestivalen 1973. Since it focused on lead vocalists Agnetha F√§ltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson chose it in place of another of their songs, "Hasta Ma√Īana". "Waterloo" is about a girl who is about to surrender to romance, as Napoleon had to surrender at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. (Actually, Napoleon did not surrender at Waterloo; he surrendered at Rochefort on the French Atlantic coast four weeks later.)

The song proved to be a good choice. It won Melodifestivalen 1974 (in Swedish) in February and won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 (ESC) final on 6 April by six points.

"Waterloo" was originally written with simultaneous rock music and jazz beats (unusual for an ABBA song); this was later discarded in favour of more disco-esque rhythms. The song broke the "dramatic ballad" tradition of the Eurovision Song Contest by its flavour and rhythm, as well as by its performance: ABBA gave the audience had never seen before in ESC: flashy costumes (including silver platform boots), a group not singing in their native language, plus a catchy uptempo song and even simple choreography.

Though it isn't well-known, Polar accidentally released a different version of "Waterloo" shortly after ABBA's Eurovision win before replacing it with the more famous version. The alternate version had a harder rock sound, omitting the saxophones, plus an additional "oh yeah" in the verses. The alternate version was commercially released in 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set. However, it was this version that ABBA performed in the 1979 Europe/North American tour.


The "Waterloo" single introduced the world to the phenomenon that was to become ABBA. The song shot to #1 in the UK and stayed there for two weeks, becoming the first of the band's nine British #1's. It also hit the top of the charts in Belgium, Finland, West Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland, while reaching the Top 3 in Austria, France, The Netherlands, Spain and ABBA's native Sweden. (Perhaps surprisingly, the tune didn't reach #1 in their home country, but both its Swedish (#2) & English (#3) versions got close.) The song also spent 11 weeks on Svensktoppen (24 March - 2 June 1974), including 7 weeks at #1.[2] Surprisingly, the song never made a huge impact in Italy, only reaching #14. In fact, ABBA would only achieve Top 10 success in Italy 3 times.

But the song's appeal transcended Europe; unlike other Eurovision-winning tunes, which are usually ignored outside the continent, "Waterloo" also reached the Top 10 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and even the United States (it remains the only Eurovision winner to be an American Top 40 hit, peaking at #6). "Waterloo" is the only Eurovision song to reach the Top 10 in 15 countries.

The Waterloo album performed similarly well in Europe, although in America it failed to match the success of the single. Though it would be another year before the group repeated their success, "Waterloo" introduced the world to a fresh-faced, vibrant group of individuals who were determined not to be Eurovision one-hit wonders.

ABBA had originally cited the Wizzard song "See My Baby Jive" as influences; in the wake of their Eurovision victory, were quoted as saying that it would not surprise them if artists such as Wizzard would consider entering the Eurovision contest in future.

In 1994, "Waterloo" (along with several other ABBA hits) was included in the soundtrack of the film Muriel's Wedding. It was re-released in 2004 (with the same B-side), to celebrate its 30th anniversary, reaching #20 on the UK charts.

On 22 October 2005, during the 50th celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest, "Waterloo" was chosen as the best song in the competition's history.

Official versions

  • "Waterloo" (English Version)
  • "Waterloo" (English Alternate Version)
  • "Waterloo" (French Version) - recorded 18 April 1974 in Paris, France.
  • "Waterloo" (French/Swedish Version) - Overdubs of French and Swedish Versions
  • "Waterloo" (German Version)
  • "Waterloo" (Swedish Version)

Release history

Region Date Title Label Format Catalog
Sweden 4 March 1974 "Waterloo" (Swedish) / "Honey, Honey" (Swedish) Polar Single POS 1186
Sweden 4 March 1974 "Waterloo" (English) / "Watch Out" Polar Single POS 1187
UK 1974 "Waterloo" / "Watch Out" Epic Single EPC 2240
USA 1974 "Waterloo" / "Watch Out" Atlantic Single 45-3035
West Germany 1974 "Waterloo" (German) / "Watch Out" Polydor Single 2040 116
France 1974 "Waterloo" (French) / "Gonna Sing You My Lovesong" Vogue Single 45. X. 3104

Chart positions

Chart (1974) Position
Australian Singles Chart 4
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Belgian Singles Chart 1
British Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart 7
Dutch Singles Chart 2
Finnish Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 3
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 14
New Zealand Singles Chart 3
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Rhodesian Singles Chart 2
South African Singles Chart 1
Spanish Singles Chart 3
Swedish Singles Chart 2 (Swedish)
3 (English)
Swiss Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6

Cover versions

  • A Swedish country band called Nashville Train (which included some of ABBA's own backing band members) covered the song in the 1970s on their album ABBA Our Way.
  • 1970s Hong Kong pop band The Wynners recorded a cover of the song. It was last included on their 2007 compilation Stars on 33.
  • In 1986, a cover version of the song was recorded and released by Doctor and the Medics, with special guest Roy Wood on saxophone and backing vocals, reached No. 45 on the UK chart.
  • A heavy metal cover of the song by Nation can be found on the compilation ABBAMetal (also released as A Tribute to ABBA).
  • The 1995 New Zealand compilation Abbasalutely includes a version by Cloth.
  • Spanish rock band Los Enemigos recorded an English cover of the song for their 1995 album Por la Sombra Hermana Amnesia.
  • In 1998, UK girl group Bananarama reunited to record "Waterloo" for the Eurovision parody A Song For Eurotrash on Channel 4. Their music video featured the girls waking up from a hang-over, dancing around in wedding dresses at an altar (with male back-up dancers in military uniform), and getting into a food fight at a wedding reception. The song was included on the 1999 compilation, ABBA - A Tribute: The 25th Anniversary Celebration.
  • Swedish heavy metal band Black Ingvars covered "Waterloo" in Swedish on their 1998 album Schlager Metal.
  • The song was covered by ABBA tribute pop group Arrival on their 1999 album First Flight.
  • Dance versions of the song have been recorded by Abbacadabra (released through Almighty Records), Tiny T on the Lay All Your Love On ABBA tribute album, German Eurodance group E-Rotic on their 1997 Thank You For The Music album, Baby Dolls (in 1991), and the Golden Queens.
  • Singer/songwriter Pamela McNeill covered the song on her album Tribute To ABBA, which was produced by her husband Dugan McNeill.
  • An instrumental electronica version by Motor Industries can be found on the 2001 compilation The Electronic Tribute To ABBA.
  • On the British ABBAMania 2 album released in 2004, the song is performed by British TV actors Michelle Hardwick, Vickie Gates, and Will Mellor.
  • Another electronica version was recorded by an artist called Roymond, which was available for download on the Internet.
  • German pop group Banaroo covered the song for the German ABBA Mania compilation, which coincided with a TV special.
  • The song was covered by Edie on the 2004 compilation Abbalicious, performed by various American drag queens.[3]
  • The Dan Band recorded a cover of Waterloo as part of an ABBA medley for his 2005 The Dan Band Live album.
  • 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.
  • The song was covered by the Hong Kong children's T.I.V.C. (The Innocent Voices Choir) for their 2006 album Let's Dance You Jump Over the Day.
  • German AC/DC tribute band Riff Raff recorded a cover in AC/DC style for their 2006 album Rock 'N' Roll Mutation Vol. 1: Riff Raff Performs ABBA.
  • California indie band Popdudes, featuring Kenny Howes, included a cover of the song on their album Maximum Rock Stupidity. It is also featured on the 2006 power pop compilation International Pop Overthrow - Volume 9.[4]
  • Tribute band Gabba (band) recorded a cover of the song, in the style of The Ramones. A sample can be heard on their official website.[5]
  • The song was covered in a jazz/lounge music style by American group BNB on their 2008 album Bossa Mia: Songs of ABBA.[6]
  • Australian rock band Audioscam covered the song on their 2008 album Abbattack. Samples from the album can be heard on their official MySpace page.[7]
  • Dutch group Mrs. Einstein recorded a cover of the song for the Eurovision music contest.
  • Tribute rock band No Matter What recorded a cover of the song.
  • An electronica version recorded by indie music artist Phil Glanville was available for download on the Net.
  • German band Marty & His Rockin' Comets recorded a cover of the song in swing music fashion. It can be heard on their official website.[8]

Live cover performances

  • The song is featured in the encore of the musical Mamma Mia!. The song does not have a context or a meaning. It is just performed as a musical number in which members of the audience are encouraged to get up off their seats and sing, dance and clap along.
  • The song is performed over the closing credits of the film Mamma Mia!.
  • Australian pop sensation Chris Thornett performed it live on the Australian talk show Rove.
  • The song was sung on Australian Idol season 6 by Mark Spano during Abba week.

Appearances in other media

  • ABBA perform parts of the song live in the film "ABBA: The Movie" (1977).
  • The song made an appearance on The Simpsons in the episode "Mother Simpson".
  • On 12 December 2006, the song was played by NASA during STS-116 as the wake up song for Christer Fuglesang, also from Sweden, in honor of him becoming the first Nordic astronaut.
  • Bernd Stromberg, the main character of the German TV series Stromberg sang this song in the 9th episode of the 2nd season ("Die K√ľndigung").

External links


Preceded by
"Devil Gate Drive" by Suzi Quatro
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart number-one single
8 April 1974 ‚Äď 27 May 1974
Succeeded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
Preceded by
"Tchip Tchip" by Cash & Carry
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
24 April 1974 ‚Äď 19 June 1974
Preceded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
30 April 1974
Succeeded by
"Any Dream Will Do" by Joe Cuddy
Preceded by
"The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich
Belgian Flemmish VRT Top 30 number-one single
27 April 1974 ‚Äď 25 May 1974
Succeeded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
Preceded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
UK Singles Chart number-one single
4 May 1974 ‚Äď 17 May 1974
Succeeded by
"Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes
Preceded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
German Singles Chart number-one single (first run)
7 June 1974
Succeeded by
"Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks
German Singles Chart number-one single (second run)
21 June 1974 ‚Äď 7 July 1974
Succeeded by
"Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes
Preceded by
"Sommaren som aldrig säger nej" by Malta
Melodifestivalen winners
Succeeded by
"Jennie, Jennie" by Lasse Berghagen
Preceded by
"Tu te reconna√ģtras" by Anne-Marie David
Eurovision Song Contest winners
Succeeded by
"Ding Ding-A-Dong" by Teach-In

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address