‘Waterloo’: When ABBA Stormed The Singles Chart

The irresistible song became an international hit and gave ABBA their first UK No.1 single.

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ABBA 'Waterloo' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
ABBA 'Waterloo' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Six days before Christmas 1973, ABBA’s Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid were in Metronome Studio in Stockholm, Sweden. They were there to record a song that they hoped might fare somewhat better than their previous attempt to become Sweden’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Brighton, England the following April.

In February 1973 their song “Ring Ring,” written by Bjorn and Benny along with Stig Anderson, had finished third in the pre-selection competition for Eurovision. This new recording would change everything, as the group met their “Waterloo.”

Abba - Waterloo (Official Music Video)

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No surrender

In February, the new song won Melodifestivalen 1974 to become the Swedish entry to the Eurovision finals on 6 April. The song, called “Honey Pie” when it was first written, is about a girl who is about to surrender to romance, as Napoleon had to surrender at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In the voting, “Waterloo” won by six points from Italy and with no French entry, ABBA’s chances were not hampered by issues of national pride being offended in any way. “Waterloo” was placed top by both Finland and Switzerland, but picked up the famous “nul points” from five countries, including Italy and the UK.

ABBA were an unusual Eurovision winner, in that they broke with tradition and sang their song in English rather than their native language. That may well have helped them win the contest and it certainly helped them storm the British pop charts. Released on March 12 in the UK, “Waterloo” entered the bestsellers on April 20. Two weeks later, on May 4, it rose to No.1, where it stayed for two weeks. Britain’s love affair with the group was under way.

A truly international hit

Nor was it just in the UK that ABBA stormed the charts. The song topped the bestsellers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, West Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, and Switzerland. It also reached the Top 3 in Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, and hit No.6 in America.

Listen to the best of ABBA on Apple Music and Spotify.

At home in Sweden, perhaps surprisingly, “Waterloo” failed to make No.1, either in the Swedish version, which peaked at No.2 and the English version (No.3). But it was far from all bad news in their own country. ABBA’s Waterloo album topped the Swedish chart, which was a combined singles and album listing at the time. The history book on the shelf now had a page on ABBA, with many more to be added.

Buy or stream “Waterloo” on the album of the same name.



  1. Candido Alfredo Quivve

    April 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I would like to have an album of ABBA. How to get it

    • HECTOR

      May 6, 2015 at 1:44 am

      QUIERO UN ALBUM DE ESOS , ¿como le hago para conseguirlo ?vivo en

    • HECTOR

      May 6, 2015 at 1:44 am

      QUIERO UN ALBUM DE ESOS , ¿como le hago para conseguirlo ?vivo en

  2. André

    April 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    merci pour votre belle musique.

  3. rm

    April 20, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I first heard waterloo in the summrt of 1974 at the ripe age of 12 and i knew right away that it was something special. It remains one of my all time favorites and when i hear it, I’m transported back in time

  4. Abdulhakim Elbosifi

    April 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    magic abba I love you Agnetha

  5. Francisco Javier Arias

    April 21, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Que tiempos aquellos aun os echo de menos

  6. Marius A

    April 23, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I love all ABBA songs and I miss them.

  7. billy

    April 25, 2015 at 3:33 am

    I love ABBA. Always have.

  8. artemio s. royo

    May 7, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Since the day I heard their songs way back 1975..The Album “ARRIVAL” on cassette tape was popular during that time, when my cousin from arrived from working abroad as a Seaman..brought home that cassette tape…I was a Fan by then…till today..still hooked to ABBA…even the solo career of the two ABBA Ladies which gave ABBA their unique sounds in vocals…I followed their respective solo song Album releases..even when Bjorn, Benny and Stig made the Chess Album I still admired them as Solo artists after ABBA disbanded..their songs always making my whole being feeling recharged whenever I am listening to their songs…ABBA Forevermore…Eternity !!! MABUHAY from The Philippines…God bless ABBA…Blessings !!! Thank You For The Music…ABBA…

  9. billy

    May 10, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    More ABBA, please.

  10. Betty Marcovici

    November 21, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Minunat-împreună cu această genială muzică am trăit vremuri minunate.

  11. luciano

    March 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Sou muito fã do ABBA,e gostaria de ter esses LPs.As suas vozes são incríveis!

  12. zulma samper marquez

    March 4, 2016 at 10:55 am

    mu grupo favorito de mi adolescencia un abrazo para ellos los llevo en mi corazon

  13. Baldoni Gino

    March 5, 2016 at 8:14 am

    ABBA is the best popgroup all times. Ther music is endless and timeless.
    I now them from the beginning till the end of the group. A blessing for Me.
    Thank you ABBA


    May 5, 2016 at 8:18 pm


  15. Pedro Monsalve

    May 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    The first time I heard ABBA was in 1980. Surprisingly I had never heard them before until one morning in my school bus when our driver turned on the radio and it was there, the magical lyrics and music of Eagle, from the Abba’s album ABBA, THE ALBUM. Immediately, I knew that it will be my favorite group for ever..and it will.

  16. Lorendy67

    May 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The Best Music ever.

  17. kovács teréz

    March 4, 2017 at 5:29 pm


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