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29 October 2014
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Abba
Five working titles which thankfully got changed...


no 1BOOGALOO
Throughout their career, Abba were always regarded as being a bit Bennynaff in certain quarters of the music industry. Finally, by the summer of '75 they developed a groovy little number, based on George McRae's 'Rock Your Baby'. Unfortunately, 'Boogaloo' wasn't exactly the coolest name for their latest oeuvre. With it's pounding disco beat and chord changes that could melt the coldest heart, the band's lyricist Bjorn felt sure that this new song would enrapture dancing queens the world over. If only he could think of a better title...

Agnethano 2HONEY PIE
Having failed to pass the Swedish heats for Eurovision the previous year, Bjorn & Benny reckoned that this stomping rock tune would take them that crucial step further in 1974. The only problem was the lyrics, which Abba's manager Stig Anderson had plucked from a cookery book. This was in the days before Delia Smith had mesmerised the nation with her culinary expertise and the band realised that their dessert-flavoured ditty was unlikely to capture the Euro audience. The words were hastily rewritten to compare a romance with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. And as we all know, Abba met their destiny in quite a similar way. Oh yeah!

no 3FridaBILLY BOY
Inspiration for the final lyrics to this song came when Bjorn was out jogging (a pastime prompted after splitting his costume during Eurovision). "I started with a combination of consonant sounds going round in my head," says Bjorn in 'The Complete Recording Sessions'. "'t-k-ch, t-k-ch', which I felt were really rhythmic and sounded great. Then I had to find words that contained those sounds, and eventually I landed on 'take a chance' and simply added 'on me' to that" Bravo! Award a No.1 single to the man in the platform boots!

Agnethano 4BEEN AND GONE AND DONE IT
In 1979, Abba set to work on a new track to be included on their second greatest hits compilation. Bjorn explains the original title in 'The Complete Recording Sessions': "It's an old expression that means you have got married. It was a nice idea, but in the end I thought it was a bit too old fashioned." Several rewrites later, the band settled on more catchy, if slightly long, title of 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)' and a generation of young men were warmed by the thought of a lusty Agnetha pounding the streets in search of love.

no 5BjornTHE STORY OF MY LIFE
Ok, not really a bad title, but considering that this rather metrical sounding disco track had a lead vocal by Bjorn sung in French, we can only thank our lucky stars that the band re-recorded it as 'The Winner Takes It All'. "I was drunk," says Bjorn in 'Bright Lights, Dark Shadows'. "The whole lyric came to me in a rush of emotion in one hour." But he stresses that although it's a slightly autobiographical song, it shouldn't be taken too literally. "Neither Agnetha nor I were winners in our divorce." But the song remains proof that from every bad situation, great things can happen.

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