“Gracias a la Música”: the story of how ABBA recorded several of their Spanish hits that conquered the world
These last weeks, ABBA It once again made headlines in the world’s main media for its return to activity after four decades of silence. Agnetha Fältskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad they announced last month the release of an album Trip, on November 5, and a world tour for next year with holograms generated with the latest technology. Apparently, according to the members, after completing all these engagements, the Swedish group will die out again.
The proposal came into the world in the mid-1970s. Harmonious voices and catchy melodies. A successful formula that stood out in several of his classics such as “Waterloo “, “Queen of the dance “, “Chiquitita”, “Oh mom”, “Give me a chance”, “Fernando” and “Give it to me!” Give me ! Give me ! ”. Before the birth of the group, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson were known in Sweden for having participated in different projects: the first in The Hootenanny Singers, a folk and skiffle group, while the latter shone in The stars Hep, who stood out performing versions of international hits. The quartet was formed in Stockholm in 1972 and began to sound loud after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
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“The appearance of ABBA caused amazement. His proposal of light pop it came at a time of the hard rock boom or hard rock, with bands like Led Zeppelin and Dark purple, and in the first steps of heavy metal with Black sabbath. Rock was going the other way back then. They managed to impose themselves with their style, inspired by the beatles, plus Phil Spector’s sound structure. To this characteristic of Anglo-Saxon pop has been added a melodic quota typical of Nordic music. At the same time, the voices of their singers caught the attention of the world, ”he described to viola, Gabriel Hernando, author of the book “ABBA, the beast of pop”, An essay on the musical phenomenon that demolished prejudices and its impact on Argentina and the world. “Dancing Queen”, the story of a 17-year-old girl who loved to go out, have fun and seduce on the dance floor, landed the top spots in 1976 as part of the album Arrival.
The ABBA boom in Spanish
By the late 1970s, Agnetha, Björn, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid were famous for their songs. A success without musical or linguistic barriers. The United States, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Europe, became the privileged ones who had the opportunity to enjoy their songs live. Latin America did not run with the same fortune, where ABBA was a household name but had no intention of hosting any shows. Many songs resonated in Argentinian nightclubs at the time. Friend McCluskey, An executive at the RCA Victor record company – responsible for releasing his records in Latin America – had the idea of making a Spanish version of “Chiquitita” in Spanish. With his wife Mary, the director was in charge of the lyrics.
The millionaire sales of this adaptation were very well received in Argentina, as well as in Spain, Mexico and the rest of Latin America. “Buddy contacted the group leader, He made the offer and they said yes. The first was ‘Chiquitita’ and they repeated the experiment with ‘I have a dream‘which was called here’ I dream ‘”, recalled the author of” The pop beast “.
“The excellent reception of this second attempt led to the offer of the record company to record an album of the greatest hits entirely in Spanish. Buddy and Mary McCluskey working at full capacity, Agnetha and Frida closed in the studio and captured new versions of songs such as “Fernando”, “Queen of the dance”, “Thanks for the music“And” Give it to me! Give me ! Give me ! (A Man After Midnight) “, among others,” he added of Thanks for the music, album released in 1980.
“My wife and I traveled to Stockholm with all the lyrics adapted and there we worked in the studio only with Agnetha and Frida. The men in the band were never present or participated in the process. But the work with the girls was extremely pleasant, especially because a very special bond has been created between them and my wife. The whole general task was very rewarding but at the same time arduous and complex, as it was not just a matter of creating lyrics in Spanish that only coincide with the metrics of each song, but we kept and respected the spirit and the meaning of the texts. original in English. We always work like that “McCluskey recalled in the book. For more than 40 years, this work published on vinyl and cassette has taken center stage.
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