Thank You for the Music

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As ABBA's success grew, so did the musical ambition of the group's songwriters, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. One of the first examples of this increased ambition appeared on the second side of The Album in the form of "The Girl With the Golden Hair: 3 Scenes From a Mini-Musical," a triptych of songs written especially for the group's live show. These songs had a pronounced show tune feel that pointed the way toward Ulvaeus and Andersson's future as composers of musicals like Chess. The most popular tune from this "mini-musical" was "Thank You for the Music," an old-fashioned ballad whose appeal extended well beyond the average pop audience thanks to a timeless melody. Like many rock songs, its lyrics pay tribute to the life-affirming qualities of music. However, the tune that supports it harkens back to pre-rock pop: after a jazzy intro, the song gives way to a grandiose melody highlighted by a singalong refrain that lends itself perfectly to being sung by a chorus. ABBA's recording takes the Broadway-friendly feel even further thanks to some flowery keyboard work from Andersson, a dramatic vocal from Agnetha Faltskog, and the huge choral vocal overdubs applied to the song's refrain. The result is a song that whose friendly-to-all-ages appeal makes it perfect for a stage production. This promise was realized when Ulvaeus and Andersson revamped several ABBA songs to create the score for their hit musical Mamma Mia! "Thank You for the Music" is a highlight of that show's score, proving that this duo's Broadway instincts were on target from the beginning.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Album 1978 Polydor / Universal International 4:03
No Image 1979 Atlantic 3:47
No Image 1980 Montery / IVE
No Image 1983 Epic
Gold: Greatest Hits [Video] 1993 Polydor
Gold: Greatest Hits 1993 Polydor / PolyGram 3:49
Thank You for the Music [1995] 1995 Polydor
Thank You for the Music [Box] 1995 Polygram 4:03
Master Series 1997 Universal Distribution
Collection [Polygram] 1998 Polydor / Polygram 3:47
Forever Gold 1998 Polydor / Polygram 3:51
Singles Collection 1972-82 1999 Polygram 3:48
25th Anniversary Singles Collection 1999 Polar Records 3:51
Millennium Edition 2000 Polydor 3:52
Complete Golden Collection 2000 Polygram 3:50
Talents du Siecle 2000 Polygram / Universal International 3:52
The Definitive Collection 2001 UTV / Polygram 3:51
No Image 2001 Polar Records 3:49
The Songs of ABBA 2002 K-Tel Distribution 3:54
Real ABBA Gold [Musicbank] 2002 Musicbank
The ABBA Story 2004 Polar Records 3:50
Todo ABBA: Sus Grandes Exitos 2004 Universal / Polar 3:48
Super Troupers: From Waterloo to Mamma Mia! [DVD] 2004 Universal International
The Complete Studio Recordings 2005 Universal / Universal International 4:03
18 Hits 2006 Universal International 3:50
Chronicles 2006 Polydor / Polar 4:03
Golden Years 2007 PHV
No Image 2007 Polydor
No Image 2008 Stormbird
ABBA Gold 2009 Universal Distribution 3:50
Classic ABBA [Spectrum Audio] 2009 Spectrum Music 3:51
ABBA: The Vinyl Collection 2010 Polydor / Universal Distribution / Universal Music 3:50
Collected 2011 Universal 3:50
The Essential Collection 2012 Polar / Polydor 3:51
Hits, Vol. 3 Pickwick 3:49