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Britain Answers ABBA’s SOS

The track is celebrated as the only hit in which both the group and song names are palindromes.

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ABBA SOS

The sensational Eurovision Song Contest win by ABBA in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’ was no guarantee of immediate and lasting worldwide success. For the next year or more, Australia and New Zealand were the most receptive foreign territories for the Swedish quartet, with some further singles success in Scandinavia. Then came the single that changed their worldwide fortunes for good. On 20 September 1975, Britain answered ABBA’s ‘SOS.’

The track, which made the US chart on 6 September, is celebrated as the only hit in which both the group and song names are palindromes. But it’s not always remembered that the song was also released, in Swedish, by the group’s Agnetha Fältskog. With music by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and lyrics by band manager Stig Anderson, it was included on her solo album Elva Kvinnor I Eet Hus (Eleven Women In One House), released just after the ABBA version had become a hit, in late 1975.

Agnetha Fältskog Elva_KvinnorWith hindsight, and in the context of the group’s incredible success in the years that followed, ABBA’s ‘SOS’ sounds irresistible, yet it was not an automatic hit. It entered the UK bestsellers on that September day at a tentative No. 47 in a 50-position survey. But a week later, it made the top 40 for the first time at No. 31, and found its momentum.

‘SOS’ rose again to No. 16, then looked as if it might stop at No. 13 before rising again into the top ten, at No. 7 and finally, for two weeks, its No. 6 peak. It shared top ten space with British hitmakers such as David Essex, David Bowie and Smokie and American artists ranging trom the Drifters to Art Garfunkel, who topped the list with his remake of ‘I Only Have Eyes For You.’ No fewer than 17 more UK top ten hits for ABBA would follow.

‘SOS’ is on the ABBA album, which can be bought here.

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Follow the official ABBA Best Of playlist.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. sebastian

    September 20, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    i want this disk

  2. George Lungu

    July 31, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Great song. one of my favourite.

  3. debashyam talukdar

    September 21, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Great song.

  4. Tyia

    September 6, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    One of their best songs was no 1 in many countries in 1975 including Australia German where it spent 7 wks at no 1.

    • Victoria Rowbotham

      September 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Got this in car

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