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ABBA 1974 Waterloo

"My My at Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender!" OH MY!

ABBA-Waterloo 1974 Available on CD worldwide

 

ABBA sung the title track to this album as their #1 prize winning entry at the Eurovision song contest in April 1974.

Released on the heels of ABBA's big Eurovision breakthrough in Spring of 1974, this album did little to solidify ABBA's commercial standing. ABBA would go through a short spell of
time after the success of "Waterloo" when
they would worry whether they would be just a one-hit wonder, in English speaking markerts like Great Britain and the US. . The Waterloo album was a sizable hit in Scandinavia but did not break the top ten in too many other places.

Although, WATERLOO is not a great album it still can be a fairly enjoyable listen if you can get beyond this album's bubble gum sensibilities. If you have open mind, you'll find that most of the songs are listenable, but most of songs ultimately are not that great .There is no doubt that all of ABBA's later studio albums are better than WATERLOO, indeed a case can be made that ABBA's prior album, RING RING, is actually a better album than Waterloo, simply because the RING RING album had more hit singles .

Where The WATERLOO album excels is that features a lot of great singing by A&F whether alone, in unison or singing along with Björn. Most of Björn's vocals on this album are fairly listenable, but no doubt having Anna & Frida sing more would have made more sense. Bjorn actually has more solo lead vocals than Agnetha on this album...
Björn's vocal presence on this album is substantial -he has three lead vocals on this album, and sings on many of the other tracks, but the girls sing on his songs ,sweetening the vocal tracks, and making for an interesting contrast. Björn is a lot more integrated into ABBA's vocal sound on the band's first three albums. On Arrival, he finally got down to his standard quota of one lead vocal per album.


The ABBA band is already in top form here, and B&B's arrangements are inventive. This album is generally fun and joyous ,sometimes innocently serious, but it also strays rather dangerously into stupidity. Most of the "Waterloo" album was recorded between October and December 1973, making it the fastest ABBA album to record. Unlike other albums, there was little alternation of the sideman used-all the lead guitar tracks are done by Janne Schaffer, all the Drums are played by Ola Brunkert and all but one bass part is played by Rutger Gunnarsson...

WATERLOO's cover photograph was taken in a Swedish castle. One of the ABBA band's bass players (Mike Watson) plays the Napoleon standing at the window on the cover photos. The light coming in from the window on the cover is surprisingly evocative, I'd love to have a room like that!

 

1. Waterloo (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 2.46 Recorded December 1973 Lead Vocals-Agnetha, Frida

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Backing Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

Tenor Sax-Christer Eklund

There are few more explosive pop record than the "Waterloo" single. It is easy to see how such a song would prove to be such a breakthrough track for the group throughout the world. Like many of ABBA's 1970's hits the song is sung in unison by Agnetha and Frida. Remarkably, using a female duo to carry a hit song had not really been done that much-prior to the 1970's, usually female groups combined one lead singer
with a backing group (example-The Supremes). ABBA was reminiscent perhaps of the Fifth Dimension or The Mamas and The Papas but neither of these acts focused solely on the female duo in the way ABBA did on many of their singles. ABBA's unison singing approach would
be copied but never equaled.
Annoyingly ,WATERLOO's title track stands above the other tracks here, since there really wasn't a second big single even though a few of the other songs were minor
hits. There are not any other ABBA albums where one song outclasses the others so much.

* Historical footnote. The Battle of Waterloo occurred in Belgium in June 1815. It was a battle between Napoleon's French forces and Wellington's Allied forces (British, German,' Prussian and Dutch troops). Napoleon lost the battle and was permanently exiled from Europe. Stig spent six weeks in the battlefields researching for the lyrics for this song. No ,just kidding.!!!!

2. Sitting In The Palmtree (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.39 Recorded December 1973 lead vocals -Bjorn

Agnetha Faltskog-Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lead Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

Congas-Malando Gassama

A Bjorn vocal with the girls singing in the background -one of those early ABBA tracks that almost grows on you a little over time ...The girls backing vocals are of course, more interesting than Bjorn's lead vocal.

3. King Kong Song (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.14 Recorded November 1973 Lead Vocals-Bjorn, Agnetha, Frida ,maybe Benny , no not really...

Agnetha Faltskog-Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lead Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson- Vocals Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

It's King Kong Song, won't you sing along? No, I would rather not....Thank you, Bjorn for singing but please let Aggie sing. Great scream Aggie! Warning-Very stupid lyric here.

4. Hasta Mañana(Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.05 Recorded December 1973 Lead Vocals -Agnetha

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad- Backing Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Backing Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

"Hasta Manana" is a showcase for Agnetha's rich plaintive vocals ."Hasta Manana' was a minor hit in a couple of places, notably Australia and was covered by Debbie Boone . Debbie's version of "Hasta Manana" was the B-side of "You Light Up My Life"( one of the biggest American hits of 1970's.) This song like "Honey Honey" seems awfully deriative, though in this case, it hard to pin down exactly who B&B were copying!

"Hasta Manana" was considered along with "Waterloo" as a possible 1974 Eurovison entry, but B&B and Stig decided to go with "Waterloo" because it was the more daring and original entry... "Hasta Manana " was actually a hit in Australia, but clearly was too dreary of a ballad to release throughout the world as a single.

5. My Mama Said (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.14 Recorded October 1973 Lead Vocals-Agnetha & Frida

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-, Backing Vocals ,Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

An attempt perhaps, at a more serious number. "My Mama Said" has a good instrumental break, ABBA's skilled session band sometimes seemed a little above the material in the early years...

 

6. Dance (While The Music Still Goes On) (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.05 Lead Vocals Agnetha &Bjorn Recorded September 1973

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lead Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Per Sahlberg -Bass Guitar, percussion
Ola Brunkert-Drums

"Dance (While the Music Goes On)" seems derivative of the work of producer, Phil Spector . (Of course, Phil Spector is somebody usually worth copying)... Still, I don't really care for Björn's vocal interjections on "Dance", Björn's use of the word -"baby' seems horribly dated now. Agnetha's vocal is mixed just below Björn and you wonder why they didn't just have her sing lead on the whole song.

7. Honey, Honey (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 2.55 Recorded October 1973 Lead Vocals-Agnetha, Frida, Bjorn

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad- Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lead Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards, Autoharp
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

Strings arranged by S.O. walldoff

The second most obvious hit on the "Waterloo" was "Honey Honey". which was a hit in some markerts. Honey Honey"was actually covered by another group (Sweet Dreams )in Britain and became a hit. "Honey Honey" is ABBA's most anonymous sounding song, It sounds overly inspired by bubble gum classics like the Archies," Sugar Sugar". Perhaps that is why it was not as big of hit as it seems it should have been...I lot of the critics of the early ABBA thought ABBA were copying other groups.

8. Watch Out; (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.46 Recorded December 1973 Lead Vocals-Bjorn

Agnetha Faltskog-Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lea Vocals, Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

"Watch Out" is a unconvincing rocker- (though it is ,probably the hardest rocker ABBA did) which nevertheless has an interesting ending. The lyrics to "Suzy Hang Around" and "Gonna Sing You My love Song " were supposedly written by Benny.

9. What About Livingstone (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 2.54 Recorded October 1973 Lead Vocals-Agnetha & Frida

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad- Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Backing Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

A lot of the songs on the
WATERLOO album have an element of fun -Most notably "Sitting on the Palmtree', "King Kong Song",and the charming , peppy "What About Livingston". Listen for the inventive half word harmonies at the end of "Livingston".

10. Gonna Sing You My Lovesong (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.35 Recorded December 1973 Lead Vocals-Frida

Agnetha Faltskog-Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Backing Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

This seems like another attempt at a more serious song-though it 's obvious both the lyric writer (Benny , in this case) and the singer (Frida) are working in a second language , so the song comes off a little more goofy than it should. It's perhaps the only ABBA love ode written by Benny for Frida.

11. Suzy-Hang-Around (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.11 Recorded October 1973 Lead Vocals-Benny

Agnetha Faltskog-Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Vocals , Guitar
Benny Andersson-Lead Vocals Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

"Suzy Hang Around" is practically the only ABBA song to feature Benny ona solo lead vocal. It's not easy to tell that its' him. Benny's voice merely sounds like a bland version of Bjorn here.Sort of analgous to Nancy Wilson vs Anne Wilson. or perhaps Carnie Wilson to Brian Wilson or maybe Woodrow Wilson to ....or Mr Wilson to Dennis the Menace or Dennis Miller to Sandy Dennis...

I hate "Suzy's" lyrics ,but, I like Benny's keyboards & synths on "Suzy". Listen for the great choral vocal ending on "Suzy".

Or Miller beer to Molson beer...

2002 CD Bonus tracks:

12. Ring Ring (US remix ) 3.00 Recorded January 1973, May 1974 LEad Vocals- Agnetha & Frida

Agnetha Faltskog- Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad- Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums
Sax-Ulf Andersson

"Ring Ring" was also rereleased as as a single and placed on the WATERLOO album in many territories partly because the RING RING Album had not been released in most territories. and partly simply to improve the WATERLOO album.;

The orginal Swedish Lp version of the album included both the English and Swedish versions of "Waterloo". The original Swedish album opened with the Swedish version and closed with the English version.

The title track from the RING RING was included on the WATERLOO LP in many territories.In Sweden , the Swedish version of Waterloo was included on the LP.

The recent CD remastering includes both of these tracks. However, there were no b-sides or other such rarities because no Non-album tracks were released in 1974. 1974 was the only year in ABBA career when no non-album tracks were issued.

13. Waterloo (Swedish language version) Recorded December 1973 Lead Vocals-Agnetha & Frida

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad-Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Backing Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

Tenor Sax-Christer Eklund

This track was found on the original Waterloo album in Sweden and was released as a single in Sweden. It wasn't released on CD till 1994.

14. Honey, Honey (Swedish language version). Recorded October 1973Lead Vocals-Agnetha, Frida, Bjorn

Agnetha Faltskog-Lead Vocals
Frida Lyngstad- Lead Vocals
Bjorn Ulvaeus-Lead Vocals, Guitar
Benny Andersson-Keyboards
Janne
Schaffer-Guitar
Rutger Gunnarsson-Bass Guitar
Ola Brunkert-Drums

Strings arranged by S.O. walldoff

This was the last of four ABBA singles to also be released in Swedish, although the girls would release solo Swedish versions of "SOS" and "Fernando". The Swedish versions of "Waterloo" and "Honey Honey" first saw worldwide release on the 1994 ABBA box set

Other tracks recorded

A German, and a Spanish version of Ring Ring were recorded in July 1973, but there was not much in the way of finished unreleased tracks...

 

ABBA- WATERLOO-Remastered Edition 2001 CD and Limited edition Digipak

This remastered., redesigned edition includes new liner notes by Carl Magnus Palm .The track listing was reshuffled back to the way it should have been.(some versions of this album were released with tracks in the wrong order). "Watch Out" now comes ahead of "What About Livingston". The three bonus tracks are the US remix of "Ring Ring" and the Swedish versions of "Waterloo" and "Honey Honey". This is the first major appearance on CD for the US remix version of "Ring Ring" which was actually released in 1974.

1. Waterloo; 2. Sitting In The Palmtree; 3. King Kong Song; 4. Hasta Mañana; 5. My Mama Said; 6. Dance (While The Music Still Goes On); 7. Honey, Honey; 8. Watch Out; 9. What About Livingstone; 10. Gonna Sing You My Lovesong; 11. Suzy-Hang-Around;

extra tracks: 12. Ring Ring (US remix ); 13. Waterloo (Swedish); 14. Honey, Honey (Swedish) all not released before on prior remasterings .

 

ABBA- Waterloo 30th anniversary edition -2004 CD/DVD set

A new edition of this album with five bonus tracks and a bonus DVD, and a 20 page booklet...Great perhaps , though one grows tired of these constant flawed reissues of the same albums, each time with some small new thing... The bonus tracks include all four language versions of "Waterloo" as well as the 1974 US remix of "Ring Ring". The bonus DVD has four TV performances including the Waterloo as perfomed at the Eurovision song contest.

BONUS TRACKS:

12. Ring Ring (US Remix 1974)13 Waterloo (Swedish version)14. Honey, Honey (Swedish version)
15. Waterloo (German version)16. Waterloo (French version)

TRACK LISTING, DVD:

Waterloo (Eurovision Song Contest, BBC)/ Waterloo (Melodifestivalen, SVT)
/ Honey, Honey (Star Parade, ZDF) /Hasta Mañana (Señoras y Señores, RTVE)

 

 DETAILS FOR THE WATERLOO ALBUM

* Swedish release April 1974 #1

* UK release May 1974 # 32

* US release -Summer 1974 # 145

* Recorded at Metronome Studios, Stockholm Engineered by Michael B. Tretow

* Recorded Sept. 73- Jan. 74

 

 * Cover photographs taken at Gripsholm Castle, near Mariefred, Sweden

* Produced &Arranged by Andersson & Ulvaeus*All Songs written by Andersson & Ulvaeus with help on lyrics by Stig Anderson on

"Waterloo", "Hasta Manana", & "Honey Honey"

.SINGLES drawn from Waterloo album

Waterloo/Watch Out
Honey, Honey/Ring Ring

 

 

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Details on ABBA musicians credits sourced from original CD/album liner notes or from THE COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS by Carl Magnus Palm.

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