Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Dancing Queen

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"That's Me"

7" single

15 August 1976


4–5 August 1975 at Glen Studio

Disco europop euro disco

"Dancing Queen" is a Europop song by the Swedish group ABBA, and the lead single from their fourth studio album, Arrival. It was written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson. Andersson and Ulvaeus also produced the song. "Dancing Queen" was released as a single in Sweden on 15 August 1976, followed by a UK release and the rest of Europe a few days later. It was a worldwide hit. It became ABBA's only number one hit in the United States, and topped the charts in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, West Germany and Zimbabwe. "Dancing Queen" also reached the Top 5 in many other countries.


Musically, "Dancing Queen" is a Europop version of American disco music. As disco music dominated the US charts, the group decided to follow the trend, replicating Phil Spector's Wall of Sound arrangements. The song alternates between "languid yet seductive verses" and a "dramatic chorus that ascends to heart-tugging high notes." It features keyboard lines by Andersson, which accentuate the melody's sophistication and classical complexity, while Ulvaeus and Andersson interlace many instrumental hooks in and out of the mix. Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog's layered vocals have been noted for their dynamism, "[negotiating] the melody's many turns flawlessly." Lyrically, the song concerns a visit to the discotheque, but approaches the subject from the joy of dancing itself, thus having a greater emotional content than that of many other disco songs. The music video on YouTube has more than 159 million views as of March 6, 2017.


The recording sessions for "Dancing Queen" began on 4 August 1975. The demo was called "Boogaloo" and as the sessions progressed, Andersson and Ulvaeus found inspiration in the dance rhythm of George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby," as well as the drumming on Dr. John's 1972 album, Dr. John's Gumbo. The main melodic riff echoes "Sing My Way Home" by Delaney & Bonnie (from Motel Shot, 1971). Fältskog and Lyngstad recorded the vocals during sessions in September 1975, and the track was completed three months later.

During the sessions, Benny Andersson brought a tape home with the backing track on it and played it to Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who apparently started crying when listening. Lyngstad said, "I found the song so beautiful. It's one of those songs that goes straight to your heart." Agnetha Fältskog later said: "It's often difficult to know what will be a hit. The exception was 'Dancing Queen.' We all knew it was going to be massive." Benny Andersson agreed, calling it "one of those songs where you know during the sessions that it's going to be a smash hit."

While working on the lyrics, the first half of the first verse was scrapped: "Baby, baby, you're out of sight/hey, you're looking all right tonight/when you come to the party/listen to the guys/they've got the look in their eyes..." It survives in footage from a recording session.

"Dancing Queen" premièred on German and Japanese TV during the spring of 1976. It saw its first live and domestic performance on 18 June 1976, televised on Swedish TV during an all-star gala staged by Kjerstin Dellert at the Royal Swedish Opera in honour of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his bride-to-be, Silvia Sommerlath, who were married the next day.

For their 1980 Spanish-language compilation-album Gracias Por La Música, ABBA recorded a Spanish version of "Dancing Queen", renamed "Reina Danzante", with Spanish lyrics provided by Buddy and Mary McCluskey. The track was retitled "La Reina Del Baile" when included on the compilation album ABBA Oro: Grandes Éxitos in the 1990s.

In 1993, in honour of Swedish Queen Silvia's 50th birthday, Anni-Frid Lyngstad was asked to perform "Dancing Queen" on stage, repeating ABBA's 1976 performance of the song at the pre-wedding gala for King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Frida contacted The Real Group and together they did an a cappella version of the song on stage at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, in front of the king and queen. The Swedish prime minister at the time, Ingvar Carlsson, was also in the audience that night and said it was an ingenious idea to perform "Dancing Queen" a cappella. The performance was recorded by Sweden's Television (SVT) and is included in the biographical documentary Frida – The DVD and The Real Group's 1994 compilation album Varför får man inte bara vara som man är.

For the soundtrack of the 1994 Australian film Muriel's Wedding, songwriters Ulvaeus and Andersson allowed the use of "Dancing Queen" and other ABBA hits. "Dancing Queen" was among the ABBA songs included in Mamma Mia!, the jukebox musical first produced in 1999 and adapted into a movie released in 2008.

The first International Standard Musical Work Code was assigned in 1995 to "Dancing Queen"; the code is T-000.000.001-0.

Reception and legacy

"Dancing Queen" was a worldwide hit, topping the charts in more than a dozen countries including ABBA's native Sweden (where it spent 14 weeks at the top), Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway (where it charted for 32 weeks (VG-lista Top 10), making it the 11th best-performing single in that country), South Africa and Rhodesia. "Dancing Queen" also topped the charts in the United States, ABBA's only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a Top 5 hit in Austria, Finland, France and Switzerland. The song sold over three million copies. The track was the fourth biggest single of 1976 in the UK.

According to Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic, the track's "sincerity and sheer musicality have allowed it to outlast the disco boom and become a standard of dance-pop." The song's release also cemented ABBA as an international act and signified the beginning of the group's 'classic period', which would span the following four years. It has become a standard for dance divas like Carol Douglas and Kylie Minogue, and has been covered numerous times by acts including the Sex Pistols and U2. The song has been adopted by the LGBT community and, according to Mojo magazine, remains one of the most ubiquitous "gay anthems".

In the UK Singles Chart, "Dancing Queen" was the last of three consecutive chart-toppers for ABBA in 1976, following "Mamma Mia" and "Fernando" earlier in the year. The song was re-released in the UK in 1992, taking advantage of an ABBA revival sparked by the success of Erasure's Abba-esque EP. The re-issued "Dancing Queen" reached No. 16 in the UK in September 1992.

In 2000, "Dancing Queen" came fourth in a Channel 4 television poll of "The 100 Best Number Ones". It was chosen as No. 148 on the Recording Industry Association of America's Songs of the Century list. It is ranked No. 174 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the only ABBA song on the list. That same year, it made VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs in Rock & Roll at No. 97. Also in 2000, editors of Rolling Stone with MTV compiled a list of the best 100 pop songs; "Dancing Queen" placed 12th among songs of the 1970s.

On 9 November 2002, the results of a poll, "Top 50 Favourite UK #1's", was broadcast on Radio 2, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Official UK Charts Company. 188,357 listeners voted and "Dancing Queen" came out at No. 8. On 5 December 2010, Britain's ITV broadcast the results of a poll to determine "The Nation's Favourite ABBA Song" in which "Dancing Queen" placed at No. 2.

In 2009, the British performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited celebrated its 75th anniversary by listing the 75 songs that have played most in Great Britain on the radio, in clubs and on jukeboxes. "Dancing Queen" was number eight on the list.

Former US presidential candidate John McCain named "Dancing Queen" as his favourite song in a top-10 list submitted to Blender magazine in August 2008. Also in August 2008, "Dancing Queen" surpassed the 500,000 mark for digital sales in the United States (512,000).

In August 2012, listeners to the 1970s-themed UK radio station "Smooth 70s" voted "Dancing Queen" as their favourite hit of the decade.

In October 2014, the musical instrument insurer Musicguard carried out a survey determining "Dancing Queen" to be the United Kingdom's favourite "floorfiller". Unlike its closest competitors, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (No. 2) and "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles (No. 3), it turned out to be very popular throughout the nation whereas the other two were strong regional favourites.

In 2015, "Dancing Queen" was inducted into the Recording Academy's Grammy Hall of Fame.

In September 2016, ran an article by Tim Jonze entitled "Why Abba's Dancing Queen is the best pop song ever". Jonze writes: "Dancing Queen is beautifully produced: catchy and euphoric, the perfect backdrop for a song that encapsulates the carefree bliss of youth". Several artists are cited as being influenced by the song, including Elvis Costello ("Oliver's Army"), MGMT ("Time to Pretend") and Chris Stein of Blondie ("Dreaming").

Track listings

7" Vinyl

  1. "Dancing Queen" – 3:52
  2. "That's Me" – 3:15

1992 7" European re-issue

  1. "Dancing Queen" – 3:52
  2. "Lay All Your Love on Me" – 4:35

1992 12"/CD European re-issue

  1. "Dancing Queen" – 3:52
  2. "Lay All Your Love on Me" – 4:35
  3. "The Day Before You Came" – 5:50
  4. "Eagle" – 5:49

1992 12" US re-issue

  1. "Dancing Queen" – 3:52
  2. "Take a Chance on Me" – 4:04

A-Teens version

"Dancing Queen" is a single released by A-Teens, an ABBA tribute band from Sweden. It is the fourth and final single from their first album, The ABBA Generation.

When the single came out in the spring of 2000, it peaked at number one in Mexico, becoming their first number one hit in that country. The song was also a smash hit in South America peaking at number three in Argentina, number five in Chile, number six in Colombia and number fifteen in Brazil.

This was the main single for the United States promotion, when the album was released in March 2000. "Dancing Queen" reached ninety-five on the Billboard Hot 100, thirty-six on Airplay and number thirteen on the Hot Single Sales Chart.

"Dancing Queen" was released as a double A-side with "The Name of the Game" in Europe, where both songs were promoted on radio simultaneously; Universal Music Group thought that "Dancing Queen", being the last single, needed a back-up to be successful. The video for "The Name of the Game" was an unofficial video, made especially for an A-Teens TV special in Sweden and it was never intended to be a promotional video. It was only aired by Channel 4. It appeared in the album Lizzie McGuire: Total Party!.

Music video

Directed by Patrick Kiely, it was the first A-Teens video to be filmed in the United States. It was filmed on 7 March 2000, the day of the song's release. The video is a tribute to the movie The Breakfast Club, where band members (and extras serving as background dancers) are left in a detention room which transforms into a discotheque. Paul Gleason, the actor who played the assistant principal in the film, reprises the role for the video.


European 2-Track CD single

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "The Name of the Game" – 4:17

European/Mexican CD maxi

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [Pierre J's Main Radio Mix] – 3:27
  3. "Dancing Queen" [Pierre J's Main Extended Mix] – 5:47
  4. "Dancing Queen" [BTS Gold Edition Mix] – 5:13

US CD single

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [extended version] – 5:48

US cassette

  1. "Dancing Queen" [album version] – 3:48
  2. "Dancing Queen" [extended version] – 5:48

Other cover artists

  • Jodi Albert and Carley Stenson from ABBAMania 2 (2004)
  • Claudja Barry
  • Beat Crusaders on their album Musicrusaders (2005)
  • Luka Bloom on his album Keeper of the Flame (2000)
  • Brotherhood of Man on their album Sing 20 Number One Hits (1980)
  • Donna Burke from Japanese ABBA Ibiza Caliente Mix
  • Belinda Carlisle from the German ABBA Mania album (2005), which tied into a TV special
  • Philippe Cohen Solal featuring Melonie Cannon on the album Solal Presents: The Moonshine Sessions (2007)
  • Diablo on their album Elegance In Black (2000)
  • Chixie Dix on the compilation ABBAlicious (2004)
  • Carol Douglas on her album Full Bloom (1977)
  • E-Rotic from ABBA tribute album Thank You for the Music (1997)
  • Frank Turner on the album The First Three Years (2008)
  • Garageland from New Zealand tribute album Abbasalutely (1995)
  • Girl Authority from their self-titled Girl Authority album (2005)
  • Glow on the compilation A Tribute to ABBA (also released as ABBAMetal) (2001)
  • The Grace a.k.a. TSZX on their album 한번더, OK? (2007)
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt on her album Love Songs (1992)
  • Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers on their album Non-Stop ABBA Party
  • Redd Kross
  • Mambo Kurt from Spiel, Heimorgel spiel (2007)
  • Chet Lam, a Hong Kong-based indie musician, recorded the song on Camping (2006)
  • Nils Landgren from Funky ABBA (2004)
  • Coco Lee on her album CoCo's Party (1996) and ABBA: A Tribute – The 25th Anniversary Celebration (1999).
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Pamela McNeill from Tribute To ABBA album
  • Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Oompah Brass in 3/4 on Oompocalypse Now (2008).
  • P from their self-titled album (1995)
  • Pink Lady on an episode of their variety show Pink Lady and Jeff.
  • Franck Pourcel
  • Raining Pleasure (featured in the Greek film Hardcore)
  • Rajaton from Rajaton Sings ABBA With The Lahti Symphony Orchestra (2006)
  • The Real Group from ABBA: A Tribute – The 25th Anniversary Celebration (1999) and The Real Thing (2003)
  • Regine Velasquez
  • Richard Clayderman played an instrumental version on his album The ABBA Collection
  • Rozalla
  • Inger Lise Rypdal
  • Marion Rung had a 1977 single release of the Finnish rendering "Prinsessa"
  • S Club 7 from ABBAmania (1999)
  • Kalomoira Saranti and Giwrgos Xristou
  • San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus from the album ExtrABBAganza! (1997)
  • SexBomb Girls
  • Sixpence None the Richer from Dick (1999) soundtrack and The Best of Sixpence None the Richer (2004)
  • The Spooky Men's Chorale (2009)
  • Steps (1999) and again for their The Ultimate Collection (Steps album) album (2011)
  • The Ten Tenors
  • Texas Lightning from Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (2005)
  • Wing from her album Wing Sings ABBA
  • Victor Wong
  • The Yayhoos from their album Fear Not The Obvious (2001)
  • various artists on compilation album Abbacadabra released by Almighty Records
  • Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters recorded a cover for the Grammy-nominated Mamma Mia! The Movie Soundtrack. The album reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 album charts and was certified platinum in August 2008.
  • Naya Rivera and Amber Riley of the Glee cast performed the song in "Prom Queen". It charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The KLF, under The JAMs moniker, sampled "Dancing Queen" for "The Queen and I" on their debut album 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?). ABBA and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society forced them to "deliver up the master tape, mothers, stampers and any other parts commensurate with manufacture of the record". King Boy D and Rockman Rock travelled to Sweden to destroy the unsold copies there.


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