It’s one of ABBA’s signature songs, but the history of “Money, Money, Money” contains a couple of surprising anomalies. One is that, although it topped the charts in many European countries as well as in Australia, it wasn’t a No.1 in the UK, despite being the follow-up to “Dancing Queen,” which was. The other is that the Andersson-Ulvaeus composition took about a year to make the American chart, and then failed to make the Top 40 there.
After being an international smash in the autumn of 1976, “Money, Money, Money” entered the Billboard Hot 100 of October 22, 1977. It was the successor there to “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” which had been a respectable hit, peaking at No.14. Immediately before that, “Dancing Queen” had also twirled its way to the top of the American bestsellers.
But ABBA’s chart history in the US was always up and down. The single entered the survey at No.84, the second highest arrival of the week behind Toto’s rock-pop crossover “Hold The Line.” Queen’s “We Are The Champions” entered that same chart at No.87, as did country giant Merle Haggard’s tribute to the recently-departed Elvis, “From Graceland To The Promised Land.”
“Money, Money, Money” was originally titled “Gypsy Girl,” and described her struggles to survive in a rich man’s world. Billboard pointed out that it had “lots of good-natured gimmicks.” It climbed the chart falteringly for a few weeks, sometimes with a bullet and sometimes without, but peaked at No.56 in mid-November.
That was dramatically out of step with the single’s performance in many other countries. It went to No.1 in Germany, Austria, Holland and New Zealand, and No.3 in the UK. In Australia, one of the group’s strongholds, it was the seventh biggest single of the year. Their fortunes were somewhat restored soon, though, as “The Name Of The Game” arrived in the US countdown in Christmas week, 1977 and became a Top 20 hit in the new year.
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