ABBA

Dancing Queen

Composed by Stig Anderson / Benny Andersson / Björn Ulvaeus

Song Review by

"Dancing Queen" helped ABBA achieve another massive international hit by bending the group's signature blend of pop hooks and European influences to the popular disco sound of the day. The lyrics concern themselves with a visit to a discotheque but approach the subject from a different tack: instead of focusing exclusively on discotheque mating rituals, the lyrics concern themselves with the joy of dancing itself. Thus, the song has a greater element of emotional content than many disco tunes: the chorus may be filled with then-hip phrases like "dig it" and "you can jive," but its key lyrical hook is "having the time of your life." "Dancing Queen" also benefits from a sophisticated melody that builds from languid yet seductive verses to a dramatic chorus that ascends to heart-tugging high notes as the lyrics reach their emotional peak. The result is a song whose sincerity and sheer musicality have allowed it to outlast the disco boom and become a standard of dance-pop. As a result, "Dancing Queen" has become an enduring standard for dance divas as diverse as Carol Douglas and Kylie Minogue. Even U2 fell under the song's spell when they performed a dazzling, stripped-down version the song during their tours in the mid-'90s. However, ABBA's version remains the definitive take on "Dancing Queen": Andersson's keyboard lines accentuate the classical complexity of the melody and Ulvaeus and Andersson weave countless instrumental hooks (string riffs, stately keyboard runs, and swirling synth lines, to name a few) in and out of the mix that layer the tune without ever weighing it down. The grandiose arrangement is topped off by the powerful vocals of Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad's vocals, who negotiate the melody's many turns flawlessly and sing their hearts out on the chorus. The end product became the group's first American chart-topper and remains a favorite at dance clubs today. The enduring popularity of this production proves that Ulvaeus and Andersson were as astute in the producer's chair as they were at penning pop hits.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Arrival 1977 Polydor / Universal International 3:50
No Image 1979 Atlantic 3:50
No Image 1980 Montery / IVE
No Image 1982 Polydor
Best of ABBA 1984 Silver Eagle Records
Hits 1987 Pickwick 3:52
Sounds of the Seventies: 1977 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:48
No Image 1991 3:50
Gold: Greatest Hits [Video] 1993 Polydor
Gold: Greatest Hits 1993 Polydor / PolyGram 3:51
Mas Oro 1994 Polygram 4:01
Thank You for the Music [1995] 1995 Polydor
Thank You for the Music [Box] 1995 Polygram 3:50
Muriel's Wedding 1995
Original Soundtrack
Polydor / Polygram 3:49
World of Disco Fever 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 7:13
Pure Disco [Polygram] 1996
Various Artists
Polydor / Polygram 3:46
European Collection: A Foreign Affair 1997
Various Artists
First Town 3:56
Forever Gold 1998 Polydor / Polygram 3:51
Singles Collection 1972-82 1999 Polygram 3:51
The Summer of Sam 1999
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 3:49
Celebration 2000 [Enigma] 1999
Various Artists
Enigma Records 0:00
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal International 3:50
25th Anniversary Singles Collection 1999 Polar Records 3:52
Frosh, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Universal / Polygram 3:48
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Disc Two] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:50
Millennium Disco Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:50
Complete Golden Collection 2000 Polygram 3:50
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:50
20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of ABBA 2000 Polydor / Dolvador 3:52
Best Party in Town 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:49
Greatest Number 1's Ever 2001 EMI Music Distribution 3:50
The Definitive Collection 2001 UTV / Polygram 3:51
The Songs of ABBA 2002 K-Tel Distribution 3:47
Real ABBA Gold [Musicbank] 2002 Musicbank
Absolument 70: International 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:50
ABBA and Other 70's Disco Hits 2003
Karaoke
Import
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Columbia
The D.I.S.C.O. Album 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:48
Voulez Vous/Super Trouper/Arrival 2003 Universal International 4:54
50 Years of the Greatest Hit Singles 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The ABBA Story 2004 Polar Records 3:49
Disco Fever Best 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
The Last Video 2004 Polydor
Todo ABBA: Sus Grandes Exitos 2004 Universal / Polar 3:51
Super Troupers: From Waterloo to Mamma Mia! [DVD] 2004 Universal International
Beer Time!: Music for Your Happy & Relaxing Holidays 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Very Best of FM Lovearth 2005 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Columbia
The Complete Studio Recordings 2005 Universal / Universal International 3:53
Pure 70s Party 2005
Various Artists
Apace 3:49
No Image 2005 Universal Distribution 3:51
Chronicles 2006 Polydor / Polar 3:50
The Pink Album 2006
Various Artists
Polystar
Dance Til You Drop, Vol. 3 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Number Ones 2006 Polar Records 3:52
S.O.S.: Best of ABBA 2007 Polar Records
Svenska Klassiker 1970-1979 2007
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:51
Number 1's: '70s Pop 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:51
Golden Years 2007 PHV
No Image 2007
Various Artists
EMI
Radio 2: Top 2000, Editie 2007 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
No Image 2007 Polydor
No Image 2007 Universal Distribution 3:49
Baby Loves Disco 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 3:51
Jackie: The Album, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 3:48
The Albums 2008 Polydor / Universal / Universal Distribution 3:53
ABBA Gold 2009 Universal Distribution 3:53
Drive Time Anthems 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
The Best Movie Album in the World... Ever! 2 2009
Various Artists
EMI 3:48
Icon 2010 Polar 3:51
Disco Fever 2010
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:47
ABBA: The Vinyl Collection 2010 Polydor / Universal Distribution / Universal Music 3:53
Forever Friends: Mum in a Million 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:49
Collected 2011 Universal 3:53
Best of the Best [Universal] 2011
Various Artists
Universal Music Group 3:51
The Essential Collection 2012 Polar / Polydor 3:53
Now That's What I Call a No. 1 2012
Various Artists
EMI / Joint Venture 3:46
No Image 2013
Now! That's What I Call Disco 2013
Various Artists
Now! 3:51
70s Mixtape
Various Artists
UMe / Universal 3:50
No Image Universal Distribution
Club Classics Best of X-Mix
Various Artists
X-Mix
No Image Polydor
Discomix
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 3:48
Forever Disco [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:51
Hits for Kids: Pop Party, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Joint Venture
No Image
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Music 3:52
Light & Dark: The Platinum Tribute Collection Klone
Road Trip Sing-Along Songs
Various Artists
Universal 3:51
The Best of ABBA Universal 3:51