Study Guide

Dancing Queen

Dancing Queen Introduction

In a Nutshell

At first listen, it might seem like "Dancing Queen" is everything that rock and roll isn't.

It was dedicated to a Swedish queen on the day before her wedding. It was recorded by two happy couples (one of them married). John Denver's Swedish doppelganger and a guy born in a fishing sweater collaborated to write and produce it. And John McCain defended it as his fist-pumping favorite. Check and mate.

But the 1976 single climbed to #1 on the charts in 13 countries, Rolling Stone placed it on its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (at #174, no less), and surveys show that it's a jukebox favorite.

And—don't be shy, you can admit it to us—you probably love it. You might be one of the millions who wouldn't be caught dead lining up for it at the theater, but who still put Mamma Mia! on their Netflix queue long before the film went to DVD. You might even be one of the millions upon millions who have contributed to the stage version of the musical making billions of dollars.

Billions. With a "B".

No one can live with a secret like this. It's time to come out of the ABBA garderob (that's Swedish for "closet") and figure out how to reconcile your serious hard-rocking self with this peppy 1970s tune.

About the Song

ArtistABBA
Year1976
LabelPolar (Sweden), Atlantic (U.S.)
Writer(s)Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson
Producer(s)Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson
Musician(s)Anni-Frid Lyngstad (vocals), Agnetha Fältskog (vocals), Björn Ulvaeus (guitar, background vocals), Benny Andersson (keyboard, background vocals), Rutger Gunnarsson (bass), Roger Palm (drums), Malando Gassama (percussion)
Learn to playPiano
AlbumArrival

Music Video

Influences on ABBA

The Beatles
The Beach Boys
Dr. John
George McCrae

Influenced by ABBA

Elvis Costello
Madonna
Chrissie Hynde
The Who and Pete Townsend
Katy Perry
Kurt Cobain

Dancing Queen Resources

Books

Torbjörn Calvero, ABBA by Calvero
Acclaimed Swedish photographer Torbjörn Calvero has his iconic photographs of ABBA compiled into this photo book.

Björn Ulvaeus, The Little White Piano
Ulvaeus took a stab at writing an illustrated children's book about a piano.

Björn Ulvaeus, Pop Story
One of ABBA's own wrote this cute book about the band's lives, complete with imaginative illustrations.

Albums

Arrival (1976)
"Dancing Queen," one of ABBA's biggest hits, comes off of this 1976 album.

Images

Arrival Album Cover
Here's the cover of the album that "Dancing Queen" was on.

A: Agnetha Fältskog
Fältskog was married to ABBA-man Björn Ulvaeus.

B: Björn Ulvaeus
Classic '70s look from Ulvaeus.

B: Benny Andersson
Plus goat. Benny was married to fellow ABBA member Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad.

A: Anni-Frid Lyngstad
As a Norwegian, Frida was actually the only non-Swedish member of the crew.

Movies & TV

ABBA: The Movie (1977)
This documentary is a classic for ABBA fans and was released around the time of ABBA: The Album. Looks like they were straight and to the point for the titles.

Mamma Mia!: The Movie (2008)
This contemporary take on the Broadway musical version packs a lot of ABBA into an hour and 45 minutes.

Websites

ABBA's Official Site
Like most official websites, you can definitely purchase merch here, but the site also offers articles, a biography, and photos.

International ABBA Fansite
One of many fan sites, this one may have the most to offer, including information on International ABBA Day.

Video & Audio

"Waterloo" (1974)
Here's the song that won Eurovision and catapulted ABBA to international fame.

"Dancing Queen" (1976)
This track was ABBA's biggest hit.

"The Winner Takes It All" (1980)
The hit single, "The Winner Takes It All," was written shortly after Ulvaeus and Fältskog divorced in 1980. Andersson and Lyngstad would also divorce one year later.