But then Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus came up with a composition that they considered, as they later said, to be “a cut above the rest.” With lead vocals by Anni-Frid Lyngstad, or Frida as we all knew her, they cut the track as the last song to be completed for the album, and on the chart of November 29, 1980, it became their final UK No.1 single.
These were not the happiest of times in the ABBA camp from a personal point of view. Björn and Agnetha Fältskog divorced in the summer of that year, while they were making this seventh studio album. Frida and Benny were about to announce their divorce, which went through in 1981. The hit single that previewed the LP in the July, “The Winner Takes It All,” seemed to echo the sadness in the lives of all of the group.
But it’s a testament to their remarkable professionalism that they not only completed the project but went on to make a final album, The Visitors, the following year. The Super Trouper album became the biggest-selling of 1980 in the UK, despite only being released some eight weeks before the end of the year. It also topped the charts in their native Sweden, Germany, Norway and Holland.
The single, named after the large type of spotlight used for stadium concerts, was an instant smash across Europe, going to No.1 in Germany (taking over from Stephanie Mills’ “Never Knew Love Like This Before”), Belgium, and Holland. In the UK, it succeeded Blondie’s “The Tide Is High,” for what would be ABBA’s last three weeks at the top spot in Britain.
Buy or stream “Super Trouper” on the album of the same name.