Song Review by

"Waterloo" was the ABBA single that established the sound of the paired voices of Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad on the airwaves around the world, as well as presenting the boldest early manifestation of the group's music. Having had a modest international hit the prior year -before they were a permanent group -- with the exuberant "Ring, Ring", which charted in much of Europe (though not in England, or in America), ABBA needed something much stronger for a follow-up and came back with this catchy tune, originally titled "Honey-Pie". Manager and lyricist Stig Anderson had found the new name -- which scanned perfectly -- in a quote from a reference book and the rest of the song simply fell into place. It was duly recorded in sessions held between December of 1973 and February of 1974. The opening is one of the more aggressive in their early output, guitar power chords by Janne Schaffer with Bjorn Ulvaeus resounding in front of heavily accented drumming, supported by wailing tenor saxophone (by Christer Eklund) while Benny Andersson's piano pounded and chimed away, the whole record lofted skyward by the soaring paired vocals, singing a lyric that equated military defeat and romantic conquest that was unmistakable in any language. The piano and guitar riff, the latter courtesy of were unmistakable in their own right, but those elements and the song's beatm and the texture of the record (especially the middle section where the sax came in) all recalled "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals just a little bit --indeed, it's easy to visualize a medley of one song sliding into the other without missing a beat. The result was a roaring success in the Eurovision Song Contest in the spring of 1974 and a chart-topping hit in England, Ireland, Germany, Norway, and Belgium, a top-five hit in the rest of Western Europe, and a number six charting single in America -- Phil Spector, then busy reissuing his old hits, might've marveled at ABBA's achievement and sound.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Waterloo 1974 Polydor / Universal 2:46
No Image 1975 Vogue
No Image 1976 Atlantic 2:46
No Image 1976 Polydor
No Image 1982 Polydor
Best of ABBA 1984 Silver Eagle Records
Hits 1987 Pickwick 2:47
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Teal Trutone 2:44
No Image 1991 2:41
Gold: Greatest Hits [Video] 1993 Polydor
Gold: Greatest Hits 1993 Polydor / PolyGram 2:48
Thank You for the Music [1995] 1995 Polydor
Thank You for the Music [Box] 1995 Polygram 2:44
På Svenska 1995 Polar Records
Muriel's Wedding 1995
Original Soundtrack
Polydor / Polygram 2:42
All Time Greatest Movie Songs [UK] 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:21
Forever Gold 1998 Polydor / Polygram 2:41
Singles Collection 1972-82 1999 Polygram 2:48
Eurovision Song Contest 1956-1999 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
The Originals 1999 PolyGram 2:44
Waterloo [Germany CD Single] 1999 Polygram 2:46
Svenska Schlagervinnarna: 1958-2000 2000
Various Artists
BMG 2:46
Complete Golden Collection 2000 Polygram 2:46
20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: The Best of ABBA 2000 Polydor / Dolvador 2:45
The Definitive Collection 2001 UTV / Polygram 2:47
The Songs of ABBA 2002 K-Tel Distribution 2:55
Eurovision, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
BR Music 2:45
Real ABBA Gold [Musicbank] 2002 Musicbank
Name of the Game 2002 Spectrum Music 2:47
ABBA and Other 70's Disco Hits 2003
On and On 2003 Universal Special Products 2:45
Friends Reunited: 42 Classroom Classics from the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 2:47
50 Years of the Greatest Hit Singles Platinum Collection 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:47
Ring Ring/Waterloo/ABBA 2003 Universal International 2:48
Eurovision 2004
Various Artists
BR Music
Super 70's, Vol 2: The Return 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:47
The ABBA Story 2004 Polar Records 2:41
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
#1's: 38 of the Greatest #1 Singles of All Time 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:48
The Last Video 2004 Polydor
Todo ABBA: Sus Grandes Exitos 2004 Universal / Polar 2:46
Super Troupers: From Waterloo to Mamma Mia! [DVD] 2004 Universal International
1S - 38 of the Greatest Number 1 Singles of All Time 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:48
Waterloo [DVD] 2005 Universal International
The Complete Studio Recordings 2005 Universal / Universal International 2:45
Rock On: Breakout Years 2005 Madacy / Universal Special Products 2:45
18 Hits 2006 Universal International 2:47
Greatest Hits: 30th Anniversary [Universal International] 2006 Fontana Distribution 2:44
Universal Masters Collection 2006 Universal Distribution
Number Ones 2006 Polar Records 2:46
S.O.S.: Best of ABBA 2007 Polar Records
Golden Years 2007 PHV
No Image 2007 Polydor
Ultimate Eurovision Party 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:49
Die Ultimative Chartshow: Grand Prix Hits 2008
Various Artists
Polystar 2:47
The Albums 2008 Polydor / Universal / Universal Distribution 2:46
ABBA Gold 2009 Universal Distribution 2:45
Jackie: The Party Album 2010
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:45
No Image Universal Distribution
De Pre Historie: 1974, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 2:46
Light & Dark: The Platinum Tribute Collection Klone
The Albums Bonus Tracks Polar Records
The Best of ABBA Universal 2:47
The Old Gold Collection: 70's Number Ones, Vol. 1
Various Artists