808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 46. Greatest Hits – Abba


Greatest Hits – Abba – 1975

First listen?: Yes

No, not the Gold: Greatest Hits that sits at #2 on this list, this is the 1975 release that predates nearly all of the tracks on that 1992 release. This is the only album on this list that I literally couldn’t listen to the original version. All but replaced by Gold, I’ve had to create a Greatest Hits playlist made up of the tracks that appear here. Released the year before Dancing Queen there are only 7/15 songs that I’d ever heard before on this collection. Of the rest it’s a mixed bag, these were songs that never ever made the singles chart here in the UK. Bang-A-Boomerang is as quaint as it sounds, while debut single People Need Love is an oddly ‘inspirational’ song that manages to simultaneously sound nothing like Abba and totally like Abba. Nina, Pretty Ballerina is exactly the sort of thing it sounds like, the tracks from debut album Ring Ring are noticeably less catchy than their later hits. Of course, any compilation that contains SOS, Fernando, Mamma Mia and Waterloo is one I can get on board with. Abba really got into their stride following their Eurovision win and the big hits here are timeless. Released just as the group were about to really take off here in the UK, it’s interesting that this Greatest Hits is the biggest selling Abba release of the era. Perhaps it was just a consistent seller through the years of the big hits, where people would buy Greatest Hits alongside Arrival or Abba: The Album? Given that debut album Ring Ring never charted here too, it would have been a good way for fans to own music they otherwise couldn’t have bought. It’s no Gold: Greatest Hits, which remains the best album of the 60 here, but I can’t help but appreciate this key moment in the career of one of music’s all time greatest acts.

Rating: 6/10

Will I listen again?: I’ll stick with Gold: Greatest Hits.

Best Track: I could go with Waterloo here and not have to explain myself, but Mamma Mia is one of pop’s most well constructed hits. The guitar riff at the start is of the greatest Abba moments.

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