There's not many bands with as healthy a chart pedigree as ABBA, and the Swedish quartet's singles are almost national treasures in their own way. The band's global domination from the mid-seventies to the early eighties, followed by subsequent revivals in decades to come, means ABBA's classic hits are known to millions, across generations.
During their imperial phase, ABBA scored 25 Top 40 hits in the UK, including 19 Top 10s, of which nine went all the way to Number 1 – over the space of nine years.
As Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida prepare to release new material together for the first time in over 35 years, along with a new virtual reality tour and a huge Mamma Mia-themed attraction in London, we look at the hits that paved the way, taking into account sales across physical and download formats.
Out in front is Dancing Queen, the third consecutive chart-topper for the band in 1976 – spending six weeks there to be their longest running Number 1. It was rereleased in 1992, to accompany their greatest hits ABBA Gold, becoming their 26th official Top 40 hit. It is ABBA's only million-seller and is ABBA's top selling single with 1.55 million copies shifted. See all ABBA's UK hit singles and albums in their chart archive
Up second is Super Trouper, their final Number 1 in 1980, taken from the album of the same name, which spent two weeks at the top and has sold 978,000 copies. Taking the bronze is Knowing Me, Knowing You, the band's fifth Number 1, racking up five weeks at Number 1 in spring 1977 and selling 973,000 copies.
Fourth is Take A Chance On Me, which was their eighth Number 1 – they had to wait over two and half years for another one – and has shifted 882,000 copies, while in fifth place comes Fernando, another 1976 Number 1. Interestingly, ABBA, who won Eurovision two years earlier, knocked that year's winner off the top – the very ABBA-esque UK entry Brotherhood of Man – and it wasn't the last time. ABBA booted Brotherhood of Man off Number 1 again in 1978, with Take a Chance on Me taking over from Figaro.
It's hard to pick out notable entries from an ABBA list because every single song is a classic, but you see… the ultimate weepie The Winner Takes it All misses the Top 5, on 847,000 sales, and behind that is Mamma Mia, on 760,000. Mamma Mia was the mighty track that knocked Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody off Number 1 – whose lyrics famously contained "mamma mia" too – and Queen and ABBA make up the two top selling albums of all time in the shape of their respective greatest hits.
The band's top selling single to miss the Number 1 spot is 1979's Chiquitita, which peaked at 2 – held off the summit by Blondie's Heart of Glass – and sold 691,000, and while their Eurovision winner and first chart-topper Waterloo just misses the Top 10 on 676,000, their lowest selling Number 1. Just missing the Top 20? Spooky fan fave The Day Before You Came, a Number 32 hit in 1982, just before they split.
The full Official Top 20 biggest selling ABBA singles in the UK.
|3||KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU||1||1977|
|4||TAKE A CHANCE ON ME||1||1978|
|6||THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL||1||1980|
|8||THE NAME OF THE GAME||1||1977|
|10||GIMME GIMME GIMME (A MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT)||3||1979|
|12||I HAVE A DREAM||2||1979|
|13||ANGEL EYES / VOULEZ VOUS||3||1979|
|14||DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW||4||1979|
|15||ONE OF US||3||1981|
|16||MONEY MONEY MONEY||3||1976|
|17||LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME||7||1981|
|18||SUMMER NIGHT CITY||5||1978|
|20||THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC||33||1975|
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