Tunes Du Jour Presents AᗺBA

For many, the name AᗺBA conjures images of glittery costumes, infectious pop hooks, and the undeniable charm of Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Their music, a potent blend of catchy melodies and sophisticated production, dominated the airwaves in many countries in the 70s and 80s, selling over 400 million albums. But beyond the undeniable pop success, AᗺBA’s legacy extends to their innovative approach to songwriting and a surprising depth woven into seemingly lighthearted tunes.

Take “Dancing Queen,” for instance. On the surface, it’s an exuberant celebration of a night out, but listen closer and you’ll find lyrics that transcend mere frivolity. The song champions self-expression and finding joy in the moment, a message that resonates across generations. This ability to infuse catchy melodies with emotional intelligence is a hallmark of AᗺBA’s work. Songs like “The Winner Takes It All” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You” explore the complexities of love and loss with surprising maturity. Tracks like “S.O.S” and “Take a Chance on Me” weave vulnerability and hope into catchy melodies, reminding us of the universal human experience.

AᗺBA’s influence extends far beyond catchy tunes. Their innovative use of synthesizers and layered vocals helped shape the sound of modern pop. They also embraced a multilingual approach, singing in English, Swedish, French, and even German. This defied the conventions of the time and helped broaden their appeal across international borders.

While AᗺBA disbanded in 1982, their music continues to resonate today. Their music continues to bring people together, a testament to their enduring legacy.

So, the next time you hear “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” or find yourself humming along to “Waterloo,” remember, there’s more to AᗺBA than meets the eye. They were, and are, a truly innovative and impactful band. Now, crank up the volume and hit play on the playlist – it’s time to celebrate the enduring magic of AᗺBA!

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-22-23

The first of nine US number one singles for The Bee Gees was “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” written for Andy Williams by the group’s three brothers (credited to Barry and Robin Gibb on its initial release but later amended to include brother Maurice). The song is from their album Trafalgar, named after where in London they stayed during the recording sessions; however, the single failed to chart in the UK. 

The Bee Gees’ twins Maurice and Robin Gibb were born on this date in 1949. Lots of Bee Gees on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 11-15-23

I saw the movie Muriel’s Wedding with my friend Kathy in the theater when it was released. You know what’s better than watching Muriel’s Wedding? Not watching Muriel’s Wedding. As I recall, ugly duckling Muriel marries a smoking hot South African swimmer who looks like he stepped out of a Calvin Klein ad and then dumps him for no good reason. Oh, I probably should have written SPOILER ALERT before I told you that. Oh well. Here’s another SPOILER ALERT: Muriel’s an idiot. When she tells the delicious hunk of meat that they’re over, Kathy screamed out “WHAT?” I felt the same, as did most of the people in the theater, as we were in a gay neighborhood. Why would she leave that gorgeous piece of manflesh? To “discover herself?” To “follow her dream?” Give me a break. The only thing she found was a one-way ticket to Loserville. The best thing about Muriel’s Wedding…well, the best thing about Muriel’s Wedding not counting that yummy man candy who Muriel threw away like yesterday’s trash is that it brought AꓭBA back to the spotlight. Since their breakup in 198something they remained prominent throughout much of the world, but in the US, they were a campy artifact of a bygone era. Stateside the group had one number one single, “Dancing Queen,” whereas in England they hit number one 1,876 times. England. People in England are – I say this with love and as a die-hard AꓭBA fan – nuts. Anyhoo, after Muriel’s Wedding we got AꓭBA featured in the delightful motion picture The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which I also saw in the movie theater, where I was seated behind former New York City mayor Ed Koch, who I used to call Ed Crotch. Then we got the jukebox musical Mamma Mia, which was super successful on stage and screen. I never saw it on stage but I saw the movie – not in the theater but on television – and it made me miss my friends in New York – Kathy, Laura, Daisy, Debbie – because we used to have bad movie days every few weeks where we’d watch Showgirls or Battlefield Earth or that movie in which Anna Nicole Smith played a hostage negotiator and we’d laugh and talk through the movies and it was always a blast. They would love Mamma Mia. It’s like the musical equivalent of Showgirls. I know many disagree. Many disagree with me (and Kathy) about Muriel’s Wedding, too. To each their own. You’re allowed to have your wrong opinions.

AꓭBA’s Frida was born Anni-Frid Lyngstadon this date in 1945. Lots of AꓭBA on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 9-1-23

The Bee Gees wrote “How Deep Is Your Love” at the Château d’Hérouville in France, where Chopin had stayed and played piano, though Chopin wasn’t involved in the recording of the song, as he was busy being dead. The song was intended for Yvonne Elliman, but Robert Stigwood, the producer of Saturday Night Fever, said “No, no way. Uh uh. Forget it.” The Gibb brothers took their song to number one, the first of 7034 number one hits (give or take) from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. HDIYL spent 17 weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, a record at that time.

Bee Gee Barry Gibb was born on this date in 1946. A half dozen of his group’s hits are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-15-22

Today’s playlist celebrates the December 15 birthdays of The Drifters’ Johnny Moore, The Clash’s Paul Simonon, The Supremes’ Cindy Birdsong, HAIM’s Alana Haim, The Pharcyde’s Imani, Dave Clark, Jesse Belvin, George Kranz, and Rammellzee; and the December 16 birthdays of ABBA’s Benny Andersson, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Dismemberment Plan’s Travis Morrison, Zara Larsson, Ying Yang Twins’ Kaine, Flo Rida, Glenda Collins, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2wkHsqTSsRjJYxCJ4OG8Wt?si=12d99d0e674e45f5

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