Song Review by

Literate lyrics aren't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when many listeners think of Abba, but it is interesting to note that the lyrics of Abba songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson became more complex and literate as their career progressed. They also began to tackle more unusual subject matter. An early example of the latter trend is "Fernando," a track that originally appeared on a Frida Lyngstad solo album but was revived in 1976 for a non-album ABBA single. This lush ballad features a lyric that deals with Mexican freedom fighters, an unexpected subject for a European pure pop outfit. Like many ABBA hits, "Fernando" takes the form of a first-person narrative; in this case, a woman reminisces about the days when she and her friend "fought for freedom in this land" and "the fateful night we crossed the Rio Grande." Although the lyric avoids an overt political message, its expression of sympathy for those fighting oppression struck a chord with many listeners around the world. The song supports this lyric with a hypnotic melody that matches languid yet heroic verses with a strong singalong chorus that tugs at the heartstrings. The resulting combination of musical craftsmanship and topical lyrics made the song a major international hit. "Fernando" also widened the group's fan base in Spanish-speaking countries thanks to a Spanish-language version specially recorded for these countries. The song has been covered over the years, but Abba's recording remains the favored version for many listeners, thanks to its careful production -- keyboards and woodwinds are carefully layered to create a heavenly intro and the chorus is gently nudged along by a subtle drumming and acoustic guitars. The song remains a favorite, and its blend of unusual subject matter and sumptuous melodicism makes it one of the most memorable Abba songs.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1975 Vogue
No Image 1976 Atlantic 4:15
No Image 1976 Polydor
Arrival 1977 Polydor / Universal International 4:15
No Image 1982 Polydor
Thank You for the Music 1983 Epic
Best of ABBA 1984 Silver Eagle Records
Golden Love Songs, Vol. 6 1987
Various Artists
Arcade Music
Hits, Vol. 2 1988 Pickwick 4:01
Gold: Greatest Hits [Video] 1993 Polydor
Gold: Greatest Hits 1993 Polydor / PolyGram 4:14
Mas Oro 1994 Polygram 4:06
Roots of Rock: Soft Rock 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 4:13
Thank You for the Music [1995] 1995 Polydor
Thank You for the Music [Box] 1995 Polygram 4:11
På Svenska 1995 Polar Records
Master Series 1997 Universal Distribution
One and Only Love Album 1998
Various Artists
Polydor / Polygram 4:12
Collection [Polygram] 1998 Polydor / Polygram 4:11
Forever Gold 1998 Polydor / Polygram 4:13
Love Stories 1998 Polygram 4:14
Singles Collection 1972-82 1999 Polygram 4:14
25th Anniversary Singles Collection 1999 Polar Records 4:17
Millennium Edition 2000 Polydor 4:09
Complete Golden Collection 2000 Polygram 4:14
20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of ABBA 2000 Polydor / Dolvador 4:15
Talents du Siecle 2000 Polygram / Universal International 4:09
The Definitive Collection 2001 UTV / Polygram 4:14
The Songs of ABBA 2002 K-Tel Distribution 4:57
Real ABBA Gold [Musicbank] 2002 Musicbank
ABBA and Other 70's Disco Hits 2003
Nostalgie 20 Ans La Légende: Légendes Internationales 2003
Various Artists
Voulez Vous/Super Trouper/Arrival 2003 Universal International 3:47
The ABBA Story 2004 Polar Records 4:14
Todo ABBA: Sus Grandes Exitos 2004 Universal / Polar 4:13
Super Troupers: From Waterloo to Mamma Mia! [DVD] 2004 Universal International
Éxitos Eternos 2005 Universal Music Latino 4:18
The Complete Studio Recordings 2005 Universal / Universal International 4:17
No Image 2005 Universal Distribution 4:13
18 Hits 2006 Universal International 4:13
Chronicles 2006 Polydor / Polar 4:15
Greatest Hits: 30th Anniversary [Universal International] 2006 Fontana Distribution 4:14
Number Ones 2006 Polar Records 4:15
S.O.S.: Best of ABBA 2007 Polar Records
Golden Years 2007 PHV
No Image 2007 Polydor
ABBA Gold 2009 Universal Distribution 4:14
Classic ABBA [Spectrum Audio] 2009 Spectrum Music 4:14
Icon 2010 Polar 4:13
ABBA: The Vinyl Collection 2010 Polydor / Universal Distribution / Universal Music 4:15
Jackie: Love Songs [2010] 2010
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / UMTV 4:12
No Image 2013
No Image
Various Artists
Eva 4:14
De Pre Historie: 1976, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 4:09
Light & Dark: The Platinum Tribute Collection Klone
No Image
Various Artists
The Albums Bonus Tracks Polar Records